Building Lead Generation Focused Websites and Apps

cre8 develops CMS-based lead generation-focused ecosystems for businesses worldwide. Leveraging our experience with multiple content management systems and CRM platforms, cre8 can craft a framework to capture, save and manage leads for your business.

 
$10,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2001
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • 833 W Chicago Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60642
    United States

Reviews

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ExpressionEngine CMS Dev. for Architecture Institute

"Our staff is much happier."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Oct. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Cre8 stabilizes and improves websites through its design and development services. They develop payment processors, provide system updates, and improve registration systems using PHP and ExpressionEngine.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Anjulie Rao
Communications Director, AIA Chicago
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The number of frustrated calls made by site users has significantly reduced. They are knowledgeable and able to effectively communicate development components. They can work within a constrained budget while meeting deadlines, offering creative solutions, and maintaining an efficient workflow.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), which is a national organization based in Washington, D.C. I'm the communications director, so I manage our website, media relations, and PR.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with cre8?

We had a website designed in 2013, which launched in 2014. However, the firm that was hired did not do a good job on the site. They also refused to fix the site's issues, so we fired them. 

We had to search for another firm to design and develop our site that had experience with ExpressionEngine, which was the content management system the previous firm has used.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We hired them to make the necessary repairs and improvements to our site that the previous firm had refused to do. They had to stabilize the site because it was vulnerable, and we had no guarantee that is would perform even its basic functions.  

They helped us develop an effective payment processor, so users were not being overcharged. They updated our entire system using PHP, and they improved our registration system. We lack the budget to implement brand new components, so they mainly maintain our site and ensure operations continue to run smoothly.

What is the team composition?

I work primarily with Eric (President, cr8). I email him and he coordinates with about nine developers who are all over the country. I also know the developer that does the bulk of the work on our site, and he is extremely easy to work with.

How did you come to work with cre8?

ExpressionEngine isn’t an intuitive system; most people who use the system have a developer on staff. We don’t have a developer on staff, so I called ExpressionEngine because they have a service that locates firms near your zip code that can assist you with their system. We found two to three companies that had an understanding of the system. We ended up connecting with cre8, and they've been great.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent around $13,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together October 2016 and launched the site in May 2017, but we still work together.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Our staff is much happier. One of the biggest problems we had with our former site was that our membership couldn’t do basic things like register for events such as the continuing education credits we offer. We were getting about five phone calls a day from people who were upset about not being able to register for events, but it has been months since we have received those types of calls. In terms of measurable outcomes we aren't seeing significant changes to our site traffic, but our site’s usability has improved considerably.

How did cre8 perform from a project management standpoint?

They're excellent and incredibly flexible. We use Basecamp to converse with each other, which is very helpful. I communicate with Eric, who delegates to his team. He includes my whole email to the developer, and the developer translates my specifications into his own language. They have an established and well-running workflow.

They also have a deep understanding of the content management system that we currently use, and they have a robust ability to fix our site’s existing problems in a way that's efficient and communicative. They are not only knowledgeable, but they can effectively convey the challenges they're facing. They also have an understanding of other technological possibilities, so they're good at leveraging what we have in order to stay up to date with current user experiences.

What did you find most impressive about them?

While we were considering making significant alterations to our site, they were great about making estimates for us and putting together proposals. We knew exactly how much everything was going to cost.

We are a small organization with a minimal website budget, so we do our best to be as innovative as we can in a conservative way. They’ve been great about putting together cost-effective estimates to get us where we need to be without adding additional components that would be too expensive.

Are there any areas they could improve?

As a staff, we would love to have more face to face meetings with them. We are not developers or designers, we're nonprofit administrators, so sometimes it's really helpful to meet in person. Whenever we've asked for meetings at least Eric's been able to come in and chat with us, but they should schedule regular, quarterly face to face check-ins.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Know the exact outcome you want, but be open to various development processes. For example, we wanted users to be able to post their own events on our calendar. Instead of providing cre8 with a detailed, extensive plan, they created a solution for us that made a lot more sense than anything we could fashion. Eric has a very creative mind, so let him and his team do the work.

5.0
Overall Score When I introduced a new team member into the fold, they were very accommodating.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They meet deadlines and create effective timelines, but I would like fewer evening conversations and more during the day.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They have been able to stretch our limited budget to make our website stable, functional, and up to date.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They have definitely gone above and beyond what was expected, especially considering our very small budget.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would definitely recommend them especially if you need to work with a system like ExpressionEngine because they know what they’re doing.

Web Development for Financial Trading and Exchange Company

“When he promises to deliver by a certain time and date, he makes it happen.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
Project summary: 

Initially, Cre8 reverse-engineered and improved a wireframe template and edited content for a redesign project. They’ve also developed and provided maintenance for a marketing blog on WordPress.

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employess
 
Chicago, Illinois
Director of Content Platforms, Financial Industry
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Their project management is outstanding, and they deliver timely, high-quality, and cost-effective solutions. They have a personal, hands-on approach that sets them apart from the competition. Despite being a small firm, a pool of consultants lets them expand their involvement as needed.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the director of content platforms for a financial company that operates a number of exchanges.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Cre8?

We were looking for a Chicago-based firm to handle Internet marketing for web-based hosting services.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They first worked on one of our redesign projects about 7–8 years ago. We asked them to create a new wireframe template because our original redesign firm did not provide that particular template and charged an additional fee for it. Fortunately, Cre8 came back with an estimate that was faster and about 10 times cheaper than the other firm’s quote. I’m not sure whether they copied and modified what was used or whether they built it from the ground up. We also asked them to develop anything that was missed during the redesign effort.

After I stopped working with them, others in our Internet group needed a hosting solution for a blog site. Cre8 created a WordPress blog from scratch and maintained it for our company. It was up for a few years and had no issues.

What is the team dynamic?

It’s typically remote consulting, but we have no problems with that. We’ve worked with 3 people so far. There’s Eric [President, Cre8] and his wife, who edited and rewrote some of the content on the website. Even though they are a small hometown firm, they can handle large projects because they have a number of consultants. John is one of the consultants who work with us pretty consistently; he is based in California.

How did you come to work with Cre8?

We were pleased with what we saw when we considered them for our needs. Given their background in the financial industry, we knew they had the expertise to handle any work that needs done in-house by a consulting agency.

How much have you invested with them?

So far, we’ve spent $50,000–$150,000 on their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

I have not worked with them recently, but they have been working on and off with various people in our company. We try to bring everything in-house when we have the resources to do so, but I have been asked to secure any additional consultants that we may need. Eric is the only person I would reach out to for something like that. He has agreed to do whatever we need, when we need it.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They do quality work within the deadline while offering a good price. So far, they’ve performed flawlessly. I don’t monitor the success of the analytics of the blog site or the social networks.

How did Cre8 perform from a project management standpoint?

It’s a very well-managed operation. They charge what they say they are going to charge, which is standard practice for them. We communicate via email, and Eric is always available and gets back to us quickly. When he promises to deliver by a certain time and date, he makes it happen.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We appreciate working with someone who cares about our business. Eric has a personal approach instead of treating us like a purely business contact.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We don’t have any complaints.

Do you have any advice for potential clients of theirs?

No.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Development & Redesign for Luxury Travel Company

"They're good at giving ideas, and they're good at both give and take."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Nov. 2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

CRE8 provides a variety of digital strategy services from design and implementation to customization. They established a digital footprint, built a website, and handle lead management.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Doug Herbert
VP & Director of International Relations, Down Under Endeavors
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

CRE8’s collaboration with another company has increased website traffic exponentially. The team excels at working in the small to medium business space and delivers reliable results with quick turnaround times. They provide helpful ideas while remaining responsive, flexible, and accommodating.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We have two sister companies. One is Down Under Endeavors, and the other one is Sidecar Company Africa Endeavors. We do luxury/higher-end travel. It is a concierge-type service for the South Pacific and Africa regions as well as other areas. I’m the Owner and Vice President.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with CRE8?

We were looking for a local company to build our online presence and move us onto a different platform. I wanted to give a local company a chance because a lot of these things can be done virtually.

They helped create our digital footprint, websites, and lead management. They do a lot for us—from design and implementation to customization. We run a lot of things by them, small things and big things, on how to manage and set up a digital strategy.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The website had been up for 15 years, and I think I've been working with CRE8 for around four or five years. The previous website was in a different content management system that was more proprietary, and we wanted to move it to something more open –that’s what CRE8 helped us do.

We duplicated what we had, and our work together is now an ongoing daily, weekly, monthly, annual process. They used WordPress in the redesign of the website.

What is the team dynamic?

We work with less than five developers from CRE8. I know Eric has a team that’s behind him, and there are a couple of lead people that we deal with. Eric is the front person and main point of contact.

How did you come to work with CRE8?

They were recommended by another client that he had in the area.

How much have you invested in them?

Maybe $50,000 to start? It’s been significant. That was the original project, and then it’s been far north of that.

What is the status of this engagement?

I would say we started working in November 2013.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We use another local company to help with the SEO and SEM. They work with both us and Eric to figure that out. The increase in traffic has been exponential.

How did CRE8 perform from a project management standpoint?

The project management has been fantastic. A lot of the management of the projects is done via different forms of communication such as phone, Basecamp, e-mail, and face-to-face. Basecamp is good for project management and keeping to-do lists and upcoming events.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I think they’re good at working in the small to medium business space. They’re fast. They can turn things around in an incredibly quick timeframe, which is helpful, because we have to be fast.

They’re good at giving ideas, and they’re good at both give and take. We rely on them pretty heavily. For us, if we need something done, we can move things around pretty quick. We’ll run certain campaigns and if we need to have a sidecar site, a microsite, or micro pages, they can whip that together pretty quick.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I wish we could do more face-to-face meetings, but in this day and age with virtual environments sometimes it’s tough to do. I know that when we have face-to-face meetings, we get a lot more accomplished. A face on a computer’s great, but there’s nothing like having somebody sitting in a room with you, however, that’s not their fault. I wish I had more access to him, I guess is my only thing. I wouldn't say that’s a weakness; that’s just dealing with the way businesses work.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with CRE8?

Don't underestimate the scope of effort, which everyone does with websites. It’s a tough thing not to do. You think, “Oh, you can do this in a short period of time.” I’d say that especially if you're switching platforms, don't underestimate the effort it will take from you and don't underestimate the effort that they can help with, because there’s a lot of stuff you can do and there’s a lot of stuff they need to do.

I think it’s just being realistic on effort, whether that’s man-hours or budget, just being realistic with that. There’s an old saying in the business: Take what you think it’s going to take to do, then double it and add another 50%, and you're probably going to be pretty accurate.

5.0
Overall Score

I couldn't do it without them. They’re partners and they’re great.

  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES

    They’re pretty good at estimating. If they say, “We need eight hours of effort to do this” then I expect it to be done when they have eight hours to devote to that. Again, it’s about communication and understanding their availability.

  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Development for Industrial Firm

"I think it’s really the best vendor relationship I’ve ever had."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
Project summary: 

cre8 consulted on web navigation for an industrial gearbox company's website and worked on subsequent development and design. The site was developed to allow for future expansion.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Marketing Manager, Santasalo
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team's integrated SEO has been very successful in search rankings and has improved the average time that users spend on the site. cre8 considered the site's functionality and adjusted their work accordingly. The team was flexible in changing project goals and had great customer service. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

At the time, I worked for an industrial company that makes gearboxes for a wide range of industries: mining, fiber, paper, cement, and more.

What is your role and responsibilities?

I was a marketing manager.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with Cre8?

We were in the process of dividing our company in two. There are two sides of the business were the wind gear and the industrial gear side of the business. We wanted to build a website to showcase the industrial side of the business.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

It was Web development and some design work also. It was delivered on a consulting level because they really had a lot to do with the navigation. Cre8 built the site in a way that would let us build out the site in the future. There was a lot of thought put into developing more on an international level. I did a lot of research, but they were really responsible for bringing it all together. We built a 105-page website in six weeks.

What was your process for selecting Cre8 with which to work?

At first, I was told I had to use a company in Finland, and that company failed miserably. I found Eric [Gockel, design strategist at Cre8] and he was extremely knowledgeable. I loved his experience. He’s worked for some great companies. 

Can you give a sense of the size of the initiative in dollar terms or a personnel work-hour figure?

It was $10,000 to $50,000.

When was the work completed?

At the end of 2013.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?

We come up number one when you do a general search on our name and come up number one on Google in some categories that are important. We found that people stayed on our website an average of three minutes.  

Users visited an average of seven pages. They were looking at the pages that we wanted them to, so our product index was the most looked-at page on the site. I think we started with 700 people going to the site in the first three weeks. Traffic consistently grew and doubled. 

Are you satisfied with their performance?

I couldn’t be happier. They went way beyond our needs. They were instrumental in thinking about customers that would come to the site and how they would use the site. I don’t think anybody could have done what they did. They are also knowledgeable about SEO [search engine optimization], but I chose to have Eric focus on the Web development part and chose someone else to focus just on SEO. I think it’s really the best vendor relationship I’ve ever had.

Is there anything unique or special about Cre8 that really makes them stand out compared to other online marketing companies?

They’re flexible in many ways. If you change your mind about what your goals are, they’ll get right on board and work with you to get the job done. They’re a small company, but if there is a service that you need they will bring that person in and manage that for you. They have incredible customer service. They are very knowledgeable. They give advice in a way that is not egotistical. 

What advice would you give to future clients of theirs?

Hire them! They’re awesome. I always felt like they had my back and I never doubted their expertise.

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or that you might do differently?

They always exceeded my expectations so I really can’t think of anything they could do better.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design for Housing Association

"Their work is superior across the board and reasonably priced."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
Project summary: 

cre8 developed 2 consumer sites for an association management firm working in affordable housing, historic preservation, and aging issues. The team also provided design work.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Washington DC Metro Area
Director of Marketing and Communications, NRMLA
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The final sites are attractive and accessible. One of the sites has gone from 18,000 users a month to 45,000. cre8 has superior work capabilities at reasonable prices. The team was communicative, available, and easy to work with. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are an association management firm in affordable housing, historic preservation, and aging issues. 

What is your role and responsibilities?

I’m the director of communications and marketing and an executive direct.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with Cre8?

They developed two consumer sites for us. Our original ones were operated poorly and didn’t look good. We wanted to improve these and have sites that we could access and make changes to ourselves.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

It was purely development and design for the website.

What was your process for selecting Cre8 with which to work?

They were recommended to us by another website vendor that we have a relationship with. Previously, we had interviewed a lot of firms. This time, we went directly to them because we liked the work that we saw from them. Their prices were amazingly reasonable.

Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?

It was between $10,000 and $50,000

When was the work completed?

We work with them on a regular basis. They do changes for us on a monthly basis.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?

One of the sites they developed went from 18,000 hits a month to 45,000 hits a month.

Are you satisfied with their performance?

I’m delighted with their performance. They did a terrific job on both of the sites they did for us. Their work is superior across the board and reasonably priced. The sites they created are very accessible. They’re easily navigable. They’re attractive. The people are great to work with. They’re very cooperative and are hard workers.

Is there anything unique about Cre8 that really makes them stand out, compared to other online marketing companies?

Their availability. They never seem too busy for us even though I'm sure they have many clients.

What advice would you give to a future client of theirs?

Sit down and do a site map and tell them exactly what you want and they’ll make it happen. The more input you give them, the better job they’ll do for you and the less it’ll cost you.

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or that you might do differently?

It’s a tight collaboration. We had to go back and make a few changes, but that was our fault.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve frequently recommended them already.

Development for Investment Services Company

"They’re very collaborative with assisting us with creating the user experience and making it a better process."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
3.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
Project summary: 

cre8 developed tools to enhance the registration experience of users for a advisory brokerage financial firm’s website. The team now works in an ongoing maintenance capacity. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Principle, Financial Services Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

All feedback on the tools has been very positive. cre8 has done a great job at learning relevant aspects of the finance industry to assist in development. The team is accessible and willing to meet face-to-face, although could be more specific about recommendations at times.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are a financial firm registered and regulated with the National Futures Association. We are an advisory brokerage firm. We operate a database of commodity trade advisers, which allows us to interface with people about different managers that they might consider allocating money to.

What is your role and responsibilities?

I’m one of the principle owners of the company. I run the day-to-day operations of the business.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with cre8?

We wanted to work with them on to develop tools that we think would enhance the experience of registrants that come onto our site and use our services.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

They focus on design work, no training, or consulting. However, they do come up with their own ideas.

What was your process for selecting cre8 with which to work?

Eric [Gockel, design strategist for cre8] came as a referral from my brother who worked with him.

Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?

It was $50,000 to $200,000

When was the work completed?

We have ongoing maintenance work currently. We outsource all of our IT [information technology] work related to the website to him and his company. There are always ongoing upgrades to our platform provider. We always have new ideas to enhance the user experience, so there are projects that we are regularly working on.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?

On some of the specific tools that they’ve implemented, I have specific feedback and it has all been positive. Our test users have been really pleased with the functionality and design of their work.

Are you satisfied with their performance?

I have been very satisfied with their performance. They’re responsive in getting things done. They’re very collaborative with assisting us with creating the user experience and making it a better process. Since web developers don’t often know the finance industry, we have to teach them. cre8 has done a very good job of picking that up.

Is there anything unique about cre8 that really makes them stand out, compared to other online marketing companies?

One of the things that makes them unique for us is that they’re accessible and local. We are able to be face to face, if needed. Accessibility is important when you’re outsourcing important functions. When I have major projects or a fire that needs to be put out, they’re right on it.

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or that you might do differently?

Sometimes as a small business owner, I need help and direction. I wish they’d be more specific about recommendations and industry trends. They’re good at giving me options, but it would be more helpful if they’d be more proactive with giving suggestions.

What advice would you give to a future client of theirs?

Detail out what you’re specifically looking for by creating a statement of work and come up with a defined budget for them. Be very specific with what it is you want.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 3.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.0 NPS
    Willing to refer