It’s like having an IT team at my disposal

two squares and a ball representing a winner

Sun Pacific turned its outdated websites into competitive marketing tools with StateWP’s all-in-one dashboard, Proto.

In 1969, Berne Evans bought an orange grove in the San Joaquin Valley. Almost fifty years later, Sun Pacific is an industry-leading grower and shipper of citrus fruits.

Sun Pacific’s impressive legacy includes beloved fruit brands like Cuties and Mighties. They’re trusted names not only for American families, but for consumers all over the world who value quality produce.

But marketing has changed a LOT since the sixties, and Sun Pacific’s Marketing Manager, Emma Wollenweber, faced a major challenge…

A one-person marketing team growing multiple brands, but held back by outdated websites:

Broken, outdated, and inaccessible websites

When Emma was hired (six months prior to this interview), she was responsible for Sun Pacific’s entire online presence. She cleaned up the social media profiles and refreshed the brand identities, but faced a nightmarish situation with the company’s websites.

“The websites were slow, outdated, and there was malware everywhere. The worst part was that we didn’t even know who was controlling them – we didn’t even know they were on WordPress. It was like we needed someone to hack into the websites to figure everything out – we were just praying our way through!”

Being in this situation is a worst-case scenario for any business. But for a globally competitive brand like Sun Pacific, that could reach millions of customers, it was a major risk to brand loyalty and future sales.

No cohesion between sales and marketing

As a grower and a supplier, Sun Pacific’s success is reliant on maintaining and forging relationships with suppliers.

But the websites’ outdated information and poor experience put sales teams on the back foot. Instead of acting as a tool for closing deals, the websites became a source of confusion and embarrassment:

“Our website made us look like we didn’t take ourselves seriously. Suppliers would call us asking if we sold tomatoes, but we haven’t for years! Consumers want to find out where they can buy our products, but that information wasn’t there. By comparison, our competitors had these beautiful websites that told a story.”

Bottlenecks and barriers to new campaigns

Emma came to Sun Pacific brimming with new ideas to refresh the brands and grow the business by appealing to a younger and more discerning Gen Z audience.

Emma describes her marketing role as a “one-woman show”. If she’s not in the office, she’s out on the farm filming content and creating assets for new channels.

But with the state of the websites, Emma couldn’t execute her innovative strategies. Without a solution to the problem, she felt paralyzed.

Solutions from StateWP:

Immediate cleaning and optimization on all sites

Emma loaded Sun Pacific’s sites onto Proto by sharing the WordPress account with the StateWP team. From there, we got to work; untangling, auditing, and optimizing the websites.

It was a big job even for our WordPress experts, which just shows how much work and stress we took off Emma’s plate.

“I think there’s a huge difference between being able to do something and being able to master something. If I’d watched a ton of YouTube videos I might have been able to change our sites. But this was a huge project that I just couldn’t, shouldn’t, and wouldn’t do. We got so much out of just paying StateWP to answer all our questions and solve these problems.”

Access to live audience data with Proto

With the Sun Pacific, Cuties, and Mighties websites loaded onto Proto, Emma could finally access the audience data she needed – all in one place.

“Proto is amazing because it’s like having an IT department at your disposal. Seeing both SEO and site health in one place is a game-changer, and I can check it whenever I want without being an overbearing client emailing them all the time. My biggest priority is finding out who cares about our brand. Now I can know exactly who visits the website and be confident we’re talking to the right people with our marketing.”

Patient and supportive technical guidance

Website developers have a reputation for being difficult to understand, and for a non-technical marketer like Emma, tackling issues with the website was a seriously daunting task.

With StateWP, Emma could discuss her challenges candidly and receive guidance from a patient expert.

“It was a lot easier than I thought. StateWP speaks to me in simple English, and using Proto’s Requests portal means I have a direct line to developers rather than a long email conversation. Just the ability to communicate with the person managing our website is HUGE. My strength as a marketer is having the audacity to ask what’s going on, and StateWP enables me to do that.”


The transformation of Sun Pacific sites happened almost immediately. After thoroughly auditing all three sites, StateWP got to work updating their WordPress core and de-cluttering and updating all the plug-ins.

Here are the final results:

  • Performance: GTMetrix’s performance score skyrocketed from 69% to 90% for the three sites, so they’re now lightning-fast for visitors.
  • Structure: Reorganizing the website gave the structure score a boost from 85% to 97%, so it’s easier than ever for customers and suppliers to find the information they need. Improving accessibility will also support SEO.
  • Speed: We sped up loading time by 25%, shrinking the largest content paint time to an impressive 1.2 seconds.

By restoring the sites from a security perspective, we’ve helped Sun Pacific save countless dollars in potential business and prevented threats.

With StateWP taking care of Sun Pacific’s websites, Emma Wollenweber has the time, insights, and confidence to build genius campaigns and take a beloved brand even further.

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