Founded in 2014 by Jeremy Lopatin, Climb Marketing is a Michigan-based Certified B Corporation specializing in digital marketing services for B2B companies. With a focus on SEO and SEM/PPC management as well as content, creative, and measurement services for in-house marketing teams, the agency helps organizations execute strategic programs that increase digital visibility and drive sustained growth year after year. As a result, Climb enjoys strong client retention rates, high-performing campaigns, and repeat retainer contracts. 

Exiting to Focus on His E-Commerce Business

Jeremy had been building Climb to its current level of success for almost a decade, and truth be told he was a little burned out and dissatisfied with the shift in his role from visionary and strategic work to mostly back office and administrative work. His wife was managing their other small business, but she wanted to pursue an advanced degree and a potential career shift. After exiting, Jeremy planned to rejoin his wife in running their e-commerce business and support her as she went back to school.

The emphasis at Climb all along was on doing good for their clients and their team members, so it was really important to Jeremy that the new owner share that vision. He wanted to find an aligned agency buyer who could provide more opportunities for the team, fit their world-class culture, and add value for Climb’s clients to take the agency to phase 2 of their growth. 

With our long track record of helping entrepreneurs buy and sell amazing businesses, Jeremy knew he could trust us to find him a buyer that would give him a payout and peace of mind knowing that Climb was in capable hands for their next stage of growth.

A Certified B Corporation with a Thoughtfully-Crafted Culture and Business Model 

At Barney, we love a business that’s doing good for their clients, team, and the world. As a certified B corporation with a thoughtfully-crafted culture and business model creating positive outcomes for team members, clients, and society, Climb certainly fit the bill. With their employee-led charitable giving program, pro bono service program, and volunteer time off, they created a purpose-driven work environment for their tight-knit community of exceptional employees.

Over the years, they cultivated a fun, friendly, and healthy company culture rooted in the agency’s core values including accountability, transparency, intrinsic motivation, forward thinking, and balance. In over eight years of business, only one team member has ever left the company – proving the success of the optimal work environment Climb worked hard to cultivate. Some of their culture practices supporting team longevity and connectedness include annual team off-sites, meeting-free Fridays, a deep commitment to remote work, monthly team socials, quarterly 1:1 “tea time” with the President, a consistent focus on Climb being an “engine of good” in the wider world, and a progressive approach to company management. 

Climb’s clients could feel their amazing culture and dedication to their mission, resulting in an exceptionally high renewal rate of 95%, extremely low churn rate of 12%, high average client tenure, and consistent, long-term contracts making up 80% of their revenue. Clients including Workit Health, ARC bio, Gale, and more considered Climb a true partner in digital marketing. 

With an experienced management team, efficient internal processes, and unrivaled SEO and PPC expertise, we knew Climb Marketing had the building blocks for future scalability. They had ample opportunity to drive more leads and grow their revenue through cultivating more referral partnerships with partner agencies, resuming targeted search engine advertising, completing their new website, speaking at conferences, developing video content including webinars geared towards their target audience, leveraging their steadily-growing contact list by sending out periodic newsletters, bringing content creation in-house and working out their content marketing practice, growing their newMachine Learning/Artificial Intelligence/Data Science practice, and niching down to focus on EdTech and/or Life Sciences.

Looking for an Agency Buyer

John wasn’t looking for a buyer who would simply view Primary as a hands-off investment. He wanted an agency buyer with synergies including depth of talent and expertise in digital who could help take Primary to the next level. He knew Primary had a ton of talent, expertise, creative firepower, and awesome clients – and he wanted to find a buyer who could appreciate and expand on all of it. 

Crunching the Numbers and Telling Primary’s Story

For us, John’s needs were crystal clear. Mission received – our team of hardworking, visionary creative thinkers put their heads down and got to work. We started by getting to know Primary inside and out, from their culture to their clients to their numbers. Once we had a strong handle on what made Primary amazing, we crunched the numbers and figured out the agency’s worth to buyers in today’s market. From there, we crafted marketing materials to tell Primary’s story and share why it could make an incredible acquisition for the right buyer. We shopped those materials around to high potential buyer targets in our vast pool of entrepreneurial and strategic buyers to land on Primary’s ideal buyer: Cloudmellow.

Looking For a Value-Add Buyer

Jeremy was looking for an agency buyer who could take Climb to their next phase of growth. He wanted a buyer who fit Climb’s epic culture, could add value for Climb’s clients, and provide more opportunities for his awesome, dedicated team of high performers. 

We fell in love with Climb and were ready to find them a buyer who would, too. With our fingers on the pulse of the agency market, we started with a valuation to calculate Climb’s worth to buyers in today’s market. We put together easy to digest marketing materials to give potential buyers a peek under the hood, showcasing everything they needed to know about Climb. We shared the marketing materials with high-potential, targeted entrepreneurial and strategic buyers. We quickly found Climb’s perfect fit: SEO Werkz.

“Working with Jeremy was one of the greatest experiences in my career. From starting the engagement with Barney to closing the deal, it took less than 2 months – fastest closing and the perfect buyer! Jeremy was thrilled to be able to find a home for their team and clients.  I am super excited for Paul to expand SEO Werkz services and to create beautiful results for clients.”


Esther Townell, Senior Acquisition Manager at Barney

Synergies Across Culture, Location, Service Offerings, and More

Founded in 2012 to break the industry mold, bringing much-needed transparency and results to companies burnt out on SEO, SEO Werkz is a Michigan-based internet marketing and SEO services company offering results-driven services and exceptional customer support. Specializing in social media, SEO, link building, local search, PPC, content creation, web design, and retargeting, the two agencies shared services and expertise. With synergies across culture, founder personalities, location, management style, talent, and service offerings, Climb and SEO Werkz made a perfect fit.

Getting Jeremy the Exit He Deserved

When all was said and done, everyone walked away with exactly what they wanted. Jeremy got the exit he deserved from his game-changing company and walked away with peace of mind knowing his agency – and his team – were in more than capable hands. SEO Werkz acquired a thriving business aligned across everything from values to culture to service offerings. And back at Barney? We toasted to their success and added Climb Marketing to our long list of media, marketing, and tech companies we’ve guided through successful acquisitions with our new breed of M&A.