ITA Spotlight: Orbit Media Studios
Monday, August 5, 2019
Posted by: Gary Hotze
Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder/CMO, Orbit Media Studios
If you didn’t know them already, here’s your quick intro into Chicago’s best-loved web development company, Orbit Media.
1. In 25 words or less, what is Orbit Media all about?
Orbit is a digital agency focused on web development. We build websites and optimize them to rank in search engines and to convert visitors into leads.
2. What problem do you solve and how do you solve it better than the competition?
Most websites don’t rank well or convert well.
Few websites generate a steady stream of demand.
This is because most web design firms don’t truly understand SEO, visitor psychology and Analytics.
Orbit is a team of experts that understand beauty and brand, but also ROI and Analytics. We’ve built 1000+ high performing websites over 18 years. It’s all we do.
3. How did you get started?
It was 1999. I knew that web design would be a chance to combine art and science, the creative and the technical, the left and right brains. But I also knew that no one would hire me for this because I had no experience. So my only option was to start a company. I joined forces with my friend Barrett Lombardo and in 2001, we incorporated Orbit Media Studios.
We grew slowly and steadily in size and reputation. Today Orbit is a team of 38 talented specialists. We build 40 sites each year across all industries and niches.
4. What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve faced as an organization, and how did you overcome it?
In the early days, there weren’t really content management systems. So we had to build our own. Everyone did. Ours was called Mighty-Site.
As time went on, the world of website management evolved. Tools for downloading and editing web pages (like Dreamweaver and FrontPage) died off as systems like WordPress emerged. Take a look at the trends for 10 years starting in 2004...
We build dozens of high-performing sites on Mighty-Site. Some of them are still live and doing well. But as other CMS options evolved, we’ve switched. Today we Drupal, but we do even more WordPress development.
5. How has your company culture evolved as Orbit has grown?
In a lot of ways the team has really grown up together. For some of us, this was our first job in digital. A lot of us developed the tools and processes we use everyday. The company, the team and the culture are always evolving. It is the story of the business.
A happy team leads to employee retention, which leads to happy clients and client retention.
We work together and play together. There are always challenges and they’re met with a collaborative productive attitude.
The key is to care about the work and the people you do it for.
6. Where do you see Orbit in two years? Five? Ten?
In 2020, we will be driving more value to clients through additional services. We’ll be doing lots more ongoing strategy, optimization, testing and measurement. Most of this will be for web development clients, but we’ll also take on new clients just for optimization services.
The future belongs to service companies that are the best at strategy and measurement.
7. In your opinion, what are some of the pros and cons of being an Illinois business?
Pros: Talent and a super diverse economy. It’s also nice to be in the middle of the US. It’s easy to get anywhere from Chicago.
Cons: Eventually, we have to pay for this insane pension deficit. There will be big taxes and (hopefully) a renegotiation of retirement benefits for public sector workers.
8. Why does Orbit call Chicago its home?
We grew up here! Or in the neighboring regions. With just a few exceptions, all the Orbiteers are from the midwest.
9. How does Orbit interact with the Chicago community?
Every year, together with a group of other companies in the marketing space, we donate our services to Chicago-area nonprofits in need. For us, this means donating websites. Others donate branding services, social media marketing, PR, SEO, etc.
Together, we’ve helped over 36 organizations by providing $475,000 in free services over the last 9 years.
If you would like to get involved in Chicago Cause, as either a donor or recipient, you can learn more here.
10. This one is all you… anything else you want to tell us?
If you haven’t met us yet, drop by one of our events. We teach digital marketing all over town, including with the ITA at TechNexus!