Case Study




Cortera, a big data provider, had been around for a decade. They collect timely spending information from more than a million small and medium-sized companies, stretching across 100 industries. Despite generating more accurate data and insights than Dun & Bradstreet-the legacy leader-Cortera had not broken through.



The ask: Jumpstart awareness, be courageous truth-tellers, and challenge the leader. Elevate the awareness of Jim Swift, the bold Founder & CEO.

The idea trigger: The COVID economic collapse created an urgent need to rapidly understand how different sectors of the economy were performing. Cortera had a unique ability to capture those snapshots by analyzing spending levels and how quickly bills were being paid.

Cortera was sitting on that data, but it was not being leveraged. To capture and package it, 5W produced the idea of creating the "COVID Economic Impact Tracker," fed by the company's proprietary spending data. This data was made available via an app and API.

The big push: 5W made Jim Swift and the #CEIT available to national, local, and regional media, offering exclusives prior to the release of monthly data. Because the data could be sliced and diced by industry and region, a media matrix was developed to optimize the opportunity. In addition, 5W pitched the #CEIT as having the ability to improve the government's small-business lending program.

Despite the pandemic-inspired noise in the media environment, Cortera and Jim Swift became essential, go-to authorities.


Media placements


There were over 500 major placements, including repeated broadcast appearances for Jim on CNBC and other outlets. To show the coverage range, Fast Company headlined a story "This COVID-19 Economic Tracker Could Help Make Small Business Loan Programs Like PPP Better."

And Supply Chain Brain - one of our favorite publication titles of all time - wrote "The CEIT has the capability of generating pinpoint data ... it offers a precise lens to ascertain which businesses and industries are suffering the most and which are the healthiest."

The exit: Cortera sold to Moody's.