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Company to Watch: Saltwater Collective

Published Wednesday Jan 29, 2020

Author Robert Cook

Each year, Business NH Magazine features private companies that have the fastest average annual revenue growth over three years but do not have the revenue to make the list of the Top 100 Private Companies in NH.

To make the list, companies had to demonstrate high sales growth rates between 2016 and 2018 and generate more than $1 million in revenue annually.

From left: Chris Griffin, Allison Potter and Mike Carella

Three-Year Avg. Growth: 140%
Headquarters: 40 Congress St., Portsmouth, NH 03801
Product/Service: Marketing and advertising
Partners: Mike Carella, Chris Griffin and Allison Potter
Founded: 2007
Total Number of Employees: 37

Offering clients a one-stop shop for digital marketing is propelling Saltwater Creative to record growth and launched it onto the Inc. 5,000 this year. The firm, which has experienced average annual growth of 140% since 2016, launched in 2007 with the idea that clients should not have to go to different companies in order to meet their marketing needs.

Founders Mike Carella and Chris Griffin were working for separate companies at that time, but both recognized the frustration clients felt when forced to go to different firms to address various marketing opportunities. Carella specialized in marketing and advertising, while Griffin’s focus was on the technology needed to power those campaigns and website development. They decided to combine their talents in a new firm—Saltwater Collective. Located in the heart of Portsmouth, the marketing and advertising agency offers design and development, branding and positioning, digital marketing and social media, video production and strategy services.

“It’s been about offering an integrated strategy,” says Allison Potter, who became a partner in 2013.

Carella says the growth is attributable to fostering long-term relationships with clients. “Our best clients are the ones that have been with us for years,” he says, adding referrals they receive from those clients have spurred business. “We have partnered with really successful clients. Their marketing budgets have grown as their success has grown and they are able to do more with us.”

Saltwater has 37 “Salties,” or staff members, who serve the 20 long-term clients as well as projects for a host of other businesses. In 2020, the firm plans to add five people with an emphasis on increasing its video content and production capabilities. “Social media is the channel that is always on and never shuts off,” Carella says.

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