Co-founder of Engauge to Create the Ultimate Customer Acquisition Powerhouse

Rick Milenthal Brings Together Best of Breed New Media Firms to Tackle the Next Generation of Marketing

Nov 13, 2013, 07:45 ET from The Shipyard

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the successful sale of the leading digital agency, Engauge, Rick Milenthal, former Chairman and cofounder of the agency, announced today the formation of the "ultimate customer acquisition firm," The Shipyard.

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People to My Site, LLC, the leader in building local demand for national brands and Fugent, Inc., the leader in channel communications for the financial services industry, have agreed to join hands with Milenthal to create the new company.  "Agencies do a great job of inspiring demand, but The Shipyard will bring to the marketplace the most efficient and impactful tools for clients to acquire customers. It is the next generation of marketing firms," said Milenthal.

Milenthal invested in both companies in mid 2013.  In bringing them together to form The Shipyard, the enterprise starts with 70 employees in downtown Columbus headquarters at the iconic Smith Brothers Hardware building.

Ben Clarke, previously CEO of People to My Site, becomes President and Chief Technology Officer of The Shipyard. "The Shipyard is one of the first firms to realize that today's technology allows us to first entice, and then actually nurture and deliver buyer-ready customers to clients.  We build one-to-one sales at scale, rather than mass-market."

The Shipyard provides in one firm the end-to-end services that generates leads, nurtures them to prospects telephonically, and then converts those prospects to customers.  

These include:

  • Digital Design and Development
  • Sales and Web Analytics
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Paid Digital Media
  • Lead Generation
  • Channel Communications
  • Email relationship marketing campaigns
  • Telephonic sales agent and nurturing services

The Shipyard already boasts an impressive roster of clients, including Nationwide, Sodexo, Prudential, Service Brands International, SpinLife among others.

Jay Weintraub, founder of LeadsCon, the largest thought leadership conference for customer acquisition, said "Until now we only had separate firms for lead generation, digital media, sales technology and telephony.  The Shipyard offers what has been the most difficult business to build, one firm for a complete customer acquisition system at scale."

Fugent fuels the online sales meeting technology that helps The Shipyard communicate with clients' distributed sales channels like agent and franchisee networks.  By joining the Shipyard, Fugent is able to provide their clients end-to-end customer acquisition services. "When you tie our meeting technology to the customer acquisition tools of the The Shipyard, it means we can bring immediate growth to the financial services industry," said Dan Easley, Fugent President.

The Shipyard also recently acquired Longstride, a leader in cause marketing. "The Shipyard creates growth," said Longstride founder Anthony Trimpe. "Non-profits need that kind of thinking to add donors, partners, and evangelists."  Trimpe will serve as The Shipyard Chief Creative Officer. Trimpe also authored the firm's unique name.  "The name The Shipyard communicates that we are builders.  Like a shipyard we bring creativity, engineering, design and technology together and push our creations out into the world. But, our creations aren't just pretty; they yield measurable sales for our clients."

Telesales entrepreneur, Ilya Bodner, joined The Shipyard to lead the sales conversion group.  Through touch points like telephony, e-mail, chat or text, The Shipyard manages a nurturing process that assures companies stay in touch with prospects, ultimately converting them to customers. "The Shipyard is the perfect solution for growth-oriented clients.  We build demand, nurture prospects and then help them close," said Bodner, who serves as Chief Revenue Officer.

The Shipyard is an open environment where teams from different disciplines work together and break down boundaries. "We have programmers and designers sitting right next to sales agents and digital media planners all on one floor," said Jennifer Ridenour, The Shipyard Chief Operating Officer. "Ideas come from everyone."

Jason Walker serves as Chief Client Services Officer. "Our tools and methods are performance based.  Marketers today expect to invest in programs that deliver measurable growth."

The company intends to grow exponentially in the next few years. "It is refreshing to be in a growing new sector of the industry where we quickly have a leadership position. Every potential client we meet has shown an interest. Because at The Shipyard, we build sales," said Milenthal.

The Shipyard Leadership team

Rick Milenthal - Chairman
Benjamin Clarke - President
Dan Easley - President of Fugent
Jennifer Ridenour - Chief Operating Officer
Ilya Bodner - Chief Revenue Officer
Anthony Trimpe - Chief Creative Officer
Jason Walker - Chief Client Services Officer

About People to My Site, LLC

Founded in 2002, People To My Site is the digital leader at driving local demand for national brands. Partnering with renowned enterprise clients and their locally distributed sales channels, People To My Site systematically influences business growth through world-class web technology and digital marketing, advertising and optimization strategy.   

About Fugent, Inc.

Fugent, Inc. was founded in 2000 to provide digital growth services for the financial services industry. Fugent's services include online sales technologies; territory-based selling systems, remarketing services and digital content syndication services.  Fugent has grown to become the leader working with over 100 of the world's top financial services firms.

People To My Site and Fugent remain separate legal entities but are integrating operations through Milenthal's common ownership under the DBA, The Shipyard.

About Rick Milenthal

Rick Milenthal is Co-founder and former Executive Chairman of Engauge, one of the nation's leading digital marketing agencies. The agency was acquired by Publicis, (PUB, FP) in August 2013, when Milenthal left Engauge to form The Shipyard.  He was previously Chairman of Ten United, a leading full service ad agency, when it was acquired by Halyard Capital in 2007, forming Engauge. Milenthal is the former Chairman and Co Founder of Worldwide Partners, the world's largest network of independent agencies with 94 agencies in 60 countries.  He is Vice Chairman of We Digital, China's first social media agency. And, he is a venture partner in NCT Ventures, the innovative Columbus-based venture capital firm.  He is also President of the Board of Marburn Academy, a leader in primary education for students with Dyslexia and ADHD.

About Ben Clarke

Ben Clarke is the former co-founder and CEO of BlueChip Applications, one of the country's first cloud application development firms, which was sold in 2009.  He is a partner with Signet Healthcare Partners, focusing on technology transfer of intellectual property from research universities and institutions to the private sector.  Ben is a member of Empact, a group of the top entrepreneurs under 35 in the nation, and serves as an advisor to the US Chamber of Commerce on big data, technology, and technology transfer.

SOURCE The Shipyard