• 01
  • September

We turned five!

Today marks Cromulent Marketing’s fifth birthday. I know, right? Tempus fugit, and all that.

They say that most restaurants don’t survive the first year, but I’ve never really thought that such stats apply to Cromulent, not least because we don’t serve food (for the uninitiated: we primarily serve technical marketing content).

Making it (lightly) rain

I’ve mentioned this before, but at my first co-op employer (CheckFree i-Solutions, in case anyone’s starting an unauthorized biography) it was tradition that, on your birthday, you bring in donuts or some other treat to share with the office.

Seems a bit backwards, if you ask me, but I’ve carried the tradition along: every year, on Cromulent’s birthday, we donate to organizations doing important work in our community.

Fifth bday means five organizations, so yesterday the following each received a donation:

And for those interested in boring business things…

As has been the case for a few years now, we’ve really just been too busy with client work to post blogs or do anything on ‘the socials’ (not that we were ever particularly active).

…so here are a few insights into what Cromulent’s been up to.

From September 1st, 2022 through August 31st, 2023, we did work for 12 clients, including 3 new ones. As has always been the case, 100% of our business came via word of mouth — it’s not the right strategy for every small business / contractor / consultant, but I’m thankful and kinda proud that it works for us.

We sent a total of 50 invoices (compared to 53 in Y4), but that doesn’t really tell much of a story, since some were for a single asset and others included a dozen or more. Frankly, we stopped counting individual pieces of content years ago, because it was simply too unwieldy to do so. We’re easily up into the many hundreds at this point.

The smallest projects were blog posts, the largest were flagship thought leadership pieces at the heart of massive global marketing campaigns, and the in-betweens were largely things like datasheets, brochures, whitepapers, and so on.

For the first time ever, the majority of our business (62%) came from international clients, up from 46% in Y4.

In terms of year-over-year overall revenue, it looks like we went up by about 2%, which I guess in this “macroeconomic climate” with “inflation” and blah blah means that in real terms our business went down a bit? Whatever, we’re more of an “enough” kinda company than a “more” kinda company: i.e., we made enough, so we’re happy (plus, and as noted below, there was quite a bit of disruption in the Cromuverse in Y5 — it’s amazing that things came in as even, YoY, as they did).

Plus, if we’re getting all fancy and businessy, then we should mention that our pipeline of committed projects is the largest it’s ever been. Huzzah!

Cybersecurity companies (and broader tech companies that have cybersecurity-related features) continue to make up a significant chunk of our business, and artificial intelligence continues to be a major topic on the minds of pretty much everyone. We still wrote about clouds quite a bit in Y4, but the messages now tend to be less about migration/transformation and more about the broader IT environment (e.g., cloud + on-premises).

In five fun and fulfilling years, we’ve helped 37 clients. Our smallest clients are just starting to get revenue, and our largest do well over a billion in ARR. Most are ‘tech companies,’ but a handful aren’t.

As we’ve written before, we’ve truly enjoyed learning about a wide range of technologies, industries, and markets, as well as seeing how different companies operate. It’s a real treat to get exposure to such diversity!

Introducing the Poodle Pack

Those of you who saw last year’s birthday post may recall that there was a major element of sadness, because we lost both beloved members of our Terrier Team.

The script flipped this year: in September 2022 we welcomed Bentley into the Cromulent family; and in March 2023 his foster-brother Jagger joined the party. Together, they form the Poodle Pack! (see pic, at bottom of post)

Bentley and Jagger both came through Hobo Haven Rescue, and both are very, very good boys. Having two puppies (on top of an 8-month renovation project) was certainly disruptive, to say the least, but (as every pet parent knows) well worth it.

We do most of our work schlumped on a couch, usually with one of the boys at the other end and the other boy next to us on the rug. Now that a certain black-and-white boy has outgrown his propensity to constantly chew the aforementioned couch, we’ve settled back into a good work routine =)

— — —

So here we are. From humble roots as a semi-serious/semi-joking idea to whatever it is we are today, Cromulent’s come a long way.

Of course, we couldn’t do it alone, so we want to thank everyone who’s contributed to Cromulent’s success (and made our annual donations possible), including:

  • Cromulent’s clients, who really make it a pleasure to do what we do and who continue to refer their colleagues and (where applicable) new employers — we’ve gotten to work with 400+ individuals over the years, and doing so has been a real, genuine treat
  • Our intrepid on-call graphic designer, who does terrific work remarkably quickly while seamlessly adapting to our clients’ branding and design guidelines
  • Friends and former colleagues, who are always there to answer questions and provide helpful perspectives (and who are responsible for more than a few referrals)
  • My family, who were tremendously supportive when I left the traditional corporate world in 2017 (without the slightest thought as to what I was going to do)
  • My accountant, who expertly handles the important stuff
  • And everyone else who’s said good things about us, supported us, and so on

We don’t know what year six has in store (as Yogi Berra famously quipped, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”) but if it’s more of the same, then that’s fine by us.

Jagger (standing) and Bentley (lying down), the two members of the Cromulent Marketing Poodle Pack