Elevation Awards case study: How the Mx Group won Gold for ‘B2B communications agency of the year’ for ‘The Mx Group: Better Relationships, Better Results’

No agency received a reprieve at the start of 2021. The Mx Group looked to their people and clients, who continued to impact the world despite disruptions in business and operations. 

To help clients thrive, Mx leaned harder into their independent, empathetic, relationship-based approach to business. At our core Mx knew: You cannot buy relationships; you build them. 

Mx evolved their operations, updated values and strengthened industry partnerships. They commenced a leadership transition as they set their sights on the exciting future of B2B. Mx boldly stepped up to the challenges of 2021 and added 45 new employees, representing the best talent in B2B. That talent directly impacted our clients, increasing brand value, leading digital transformation, generating demand and driving revenue. 

By putting the needs of clients and people first, Mx has taken business to the next level. Top-line growth was 16% without an acquisition and not including revenue from several of the 10 new clients we won late in the year that span SaaS, tech, agri business and manufacturing, partnering with our agency because according to them, “You heard us, and you understood us.”

About the agency

The Mx Group is an independent, integrated B2B marketing agency with a mission to  impact the marketplace for companies that impact the world. For over 30 years, they’ve created meaningful end-to-end buying experiences for B2B brands. Clients are global leaders and innovators in energy, utilities, manufacturing, hospitality, automotive, technology and SaaS who rely on our expertise to grow their businesses. 

The agency is now led by President and CEO Tony Riley after founders Andrew Mahler and Pete Wroblewski moved to the agency’s board in 2022. Tony leads a cross-functional  leadership team that includes perspectives of the agency’s strategy, service, creative, digital experience, talent, operations and growth teams. 

These Mx leaders are greeting the future of B2B with a stronger focus on empathy,  chemistry and relationships — putting the needs of clients and employees first. 

The agency was founded on the idea that simply designing an ad and placing it wasn’t  B2B. While the tools, technologies and approaches we use have evolved over time, the belief that our work has to materially impact our clients is still what drives The Mx Group today.

Contribution to clients’ business

Sample highlights of how we’ve contributed to our clients’ businesses and earned our  6.5-year average tenure of client relationships. 

1. Envoy. A SaaS platform, engaged The Mx Group to position it as the leading hybrid workplace platform through a brand campaign resulting in: 

  • 13% increase in brand awareness.
  • 83% increase in site traffic.
  • 146% increase in SQLs.
  • 87% increase in average deal size. 
  • #1 organic SEO position for “hybrid work” (from #45).
  • Helping Envoy raise $111 million in Series C funding.

2. Cox Automotive. A 16-year client wanted to find ways to boost brand awareness and pipeline. Mx implemented an enhanced digital customer experience strategy across four of their brands that delivered significant results: 

 

  • Xtime: 87% increase in SQLs and 289% increase in conversion rates.
  • Dealer.com: 56% increase in conversion rates.
  • Dealertrack: 36% increase in MQLs; 100% increase in SQLs; 47%  increase in conversion rates.
  • VinSolutions: 107% increase in SQLs; 261% improvement in conversion rates.

Creative thinking 

Insights-driven problem-solving and creativity is paramount to every phase of relationships: 

  • Utilized HBR podcast placements and nationwide OTT campaign for a SaaS  product to drive 1,000 demo requests. 
  • Created a completely immersive experience at the corporate headquarters of a  global manufacturing company. 
  • Combined sales, prospect, distributor and competitor data to run white-space  analyses for distributor conquest campaigns for a global refiner. 
  • Completed a series of digital test-and-learn campaigns for an AI platform that  delivered 13:1 ROI in terms of pipeline value vs. ad spend. 
  • Used humor in a persona-based video series to introduce a new paradigm into  the steel industry. 
  • Developed a digital strategy and design system to consolidate and strengthen  the digital product offering of a Fortune 200 manufacturer.

Results

  • 4-year compound annual growth rate: 18.1%.
  • Billings growth: 16% (all organic).
  • Growth performance goal vs. actual: 103% obtainment of goal.
  • Top-line revenue: $28.7M.
  • New business billings: $1.9M. 
  • New clients: 10.
  • Pitch ratio: 75%. 
  • Industry rankings: Top 3 independent agencies and 2nd fastest-growing in the country according to B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.

Staff and community engagement

Mx doubled down on their commitment to being a people-centric organization that lives their values. 

Staff

  • Developed a career model to define roles and responsibilities for every department including promotional tracks to make professional progression clear and transparent. 
  • Provided DISC assessments, confidence workshops, public speaking/presentation classes and unconscious-bias training to all employees so they can feel empowered in their roles and be better collaborators. 
  • BIPOC employee headcount increased by 50% as a result of moving to a new  working model that includes fully remote work from across the country.
  • Increased average staff tenure from 5.2 years to 5.5+ years and celebrated  21 internal promotions. 

Community

  • Day of Learning: Dedicated the workday to honor Juneteenth and invited local  activists from charitable organizations like Chicago Scholars and By The Hand Club to share with Mx staff their missions and how we can engage with the community. 
  • Day of Service: Worked with eight different local charities to determine how Mx could volunteer our marketing talents to contribute to their missions and visions. This was done in preparation for Martin Luther King Day 2022, which the agency devoted as a “day on, not a day off.” 

Marketing community

  • B2B Ignite: CEO, Tony Riley, sits on the advisory council for B2B Ignite, assisting with speaker selection and conference planning. Mx are also contracted as agency promoters of the conference. 
  • Content contributions: Mx’s subject matter experts contribute content in key industry publications like Demand Gen Report, B2B Marketing, Campaign Live  and more.

Agency Community

Mx’s work led to the growth of other agencies within the B2B community including GWA, Crimtan and Bray Leino.

Key initiatives and achievements

Mx measure success by the continued growth of relationships: 

  • Managed the transition of the two Mx founders into a newly formed board of  directors, and introduced a new CEO and senior leadership team. 
  • Introduced a new working model providing Mx employees with flexibility while  balancing meaningful in-office engagements, and leading to 40%+ of Mx talent  working fully remote across 16 different states. 
  • Named to Chicago’s Best and Brightest Companies To Work For, for the sixth consecutive year. 
  • Hired 45 new employees and adapted our onboarding process to provide  thorough guidance and preparation for all. 
  • Ran one of the largest B2B campaigns in the country for Envoy. 
  • Won awards through the Chief Marketer, Killer Content (Finnys), Horizon  Interactive and B2B award programs. 
  • Won global rebranding assignments for Graphic Packaging, Olam and Fujifilm.
  • Won B2B digital experience work for WHOOP.

They’re a trusted partner that I know will challenge our thinking and build campaigns that deliver results. They were instrumental in getting our new brand launched"

Katie Morrow, senior director, marketing, Polly

“We chose The Mx Group based on their expertise in B2B and their ability to work as an extension of our team"

An Boon, VP global marketing, Graphic Packaging Inc

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