Partners in life and in business
Susan Shulman and Avery Cohen, owners of Metrist Partners have clients all over the North Shore, the Chicago area and the nation. | JackiePilossoph~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 26, 2013 9:18AM
People often say marriage is a partnership. For Susan Shulman and Avery Cohen, that statement could not be more accurate.
The two are not only husband and wife, and the parents of two children, but they are also business partners of their Highland Park- and Chicago-based Internet marketing strategy company, Metrist Partners.
Started by Cohen in 2000, Metrist Partners began helping businesses use customer information to improve their online business. Five years ago, however, Cohen began focusing on marketing instead of technology.
“The tools for getting the data drastically improved,” said Cohen, who holds a BS in Business Management and who worked in Information Technology at various companies in Chicago for more than 20 years. “We don’t have to build those tools, so we are now focusing on helping Vice-presidents of sales and marketing departments interpret the information, improve their marketing programs and come up with new marketing initiatives.”
Shulman started with the company in 2005, when Cohen asked her to attend a womens only networking meeting to promote Metrist.
“She went into the meeting and walked out with a big piece of business,” Cohen said. “That’s when I said, ‘We need to work together.’”
Shulman, who was a litigation attorney for 13 years prior to joining her husband in the business, handles things like sales, operations, administrative, accounting and employee issues. Cohen, along with five additional employees are primarily analysts, who assist clients with social media, content editing, managing SEO and pay per click advertising, and other website and Web marketing initiatives.
“We show them who is coming to the website, such as the demographic, location and other information, as well as what their behavior has been,” Cohen said, “And as a result, what is effective and what’s not.”
“A lot of times, after we’ve done an assessment, the client’s reply is, ‘I had no idea this was going on on my website!’” Shulman said. “We look at how people are finding your website, and once they get there, what the outcome of those visits are.”
Julie Yusim is the director of marketing for Duxler Complete Auto Care, and a client of Metrist, who said her goals are to increase the company’s customer acquisition by increasing the number of click-throughs to their paid search campaign.
“One of the things I love about Susan and Avery is that they give very thorough reporting,” said Yusim, who is in charge of marketing for all four Duxler locations, “They stay really hands on and in touch, and are always looking to see how well something is working or not working, and adjust it accordingly.”
Metrist Partners has customers all over the North Shore and throughout the Chicago area and the nation. The company charges by the project, but discusses the estimate of the work upfront.
“We save our customers tens of thousands of dollars in wasted marketing,” said Cohen, “We take away a lot of the mystery and uncertainty around how they are spending their money.”
“We really do pay for ourselves,” Shulman said. “Because what we do for our clients, they are saving money and increasing revenue.”
Cohen and Schulman have been married for 18 years and have lived in Highland Park for 17.
When asked how they felt about working together, Shulman said they have different strengths and that they each bring different things to the table.
“We get mad at each other sometimes, but we get over it,” she said, “We’re very good about saying I’m sorry to each other.”