I am a professional Marketer and an Entrepreneur – but I didn’t always know about the latter
I spent the first 20 years or so of my career working for larger corporations with national and international scope and progressed fast enough up the ladder. But I often got ‘in trouble’ because the organizations I worked for weren’t –IMHO—bold enough to adopt new strategies and tactics fast enough.
Direct mail, telemarketing, database marketing, data-mining, email marketing, CRM, online marketing and other such evidence-based strategies and tactics require a ‘Champion’ and I was happy to play that role.
A change agent must be willing to take a few arrows for the greater good, and so I so often found myself fighting the ‘dark forces’ of organizational inertia as well as ‘the branding police’ – all while building business cases for these new strategies and tactics and demonstrating their value and contribution to the corporate bottom line.
One day in 2002 I woke up and had become an Entrepreneur
The multinational ad agency I was working for as Senior Vice President and Managing Director had decided to close its local office doors and the clients I was working with wanted me to keep working with them. The agency was OK with it and so I agreed to do it because I figured it was a good way to stay busy ‘until the next headhunter called.’
Within just a few weeks, however, I came to the realization that I absolutely loved running my own show. Suddenly, the reason for the ‘trouble’ I was getting into working in larger corporations had become an absolute asset to me as an Entrepreneur.
In Marketing, measurability and accountability are so often lacking due to my fellow marketers’ never-ending fascination ‘with the next shiny thing.’ Yet my Clients valued my direct, decisive and no-nonsense approach, as well as my absolute orientation towards measurable ROI improvement.
And for me, the rest is (Entrepreneurial) history
In 2002 I formed Hirsch Strategies Inc. as a company to provide strategies and solutions to accelerate clients’ demand-generation processes and maximize the ROI on their CRM and marketing investments.
I was immediately fortunate to work with leading organizations such as Cathay Pacific Airways, Microsoft Business Solutions, Pan Pacific Hotels, Blast Radius, the Insurance Corporation of BC, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Committee and many other brilliant companies (They hired me = They are brilliant).
The common thread: Online Marketing & Accountability
Each and every client needed to discover for themselves the new tools and technologies necessary in their own arsenal and shift their strategy to include online. I was fortunate to be part of their discoveries.
Then in 2007, I was introduced to Offermatica (which eventually became Adobe Test & Target), and my head begun spinning with the possibilities. They had built a tool that did everything I loved about measurable marketing, this time applied to web pages. Marketers could now deliver improved conversion rates on web pages – Imagine! On web pages! — and prove it through statistically valid A/B and MVT test results.
From that moment on, all I could think of was one thing: how to leverage that new tool and shift the emphasis of my own consulting work towards conversion optimization testing. I felt that my entire career experience and expertise in direct mail, telemarketing, database marketing, data-mining, email marketing, CRM could now be combined with the notion of statistically valid testing to deliver measurable value to companies on their web pages.
I became absolutely obsessed with the idea and was consumed with the thought of how to turn this obsession into reality as a business. It was sheer passion.
After a few months providing consulting services to visionary clients wishing to improve their conversion rates (and working with their ad agencies to execute the test variations), Google launched Google Website Optimizer (GWO).
Google is so often a game-changer and it seemed to me that the launch of GWO would be no exception: by delivering a powerful and free tool, Google was opening up a brand new industry. Whether clients used a paid-for or a free testing tool, the need for a full range of expert services, from analytics to planning to wireframing to designing to copy-writing to coding to analysis was the very same. And so, in 2007, Chris Goward and I co-founded WiderFunnel.
I wanted this new type of agency to be all the things agencies aren’t, and I had 20 years of client-side experience and a long litany of issues with ad agencies upon which to base my vision. I am delighted to report that my vision was realized and I sold my majority interest in WiderFunnel in November 2011
Next steps for Raquel Hirsch: Being an Entrepreneur
Learning about the breath of business models that the internet enables has been a thrill. Plus, co-founding and being the President of WiderFunnel has allowed me to learn about myself and how much I love being an entrepreneur and building a business — and want to do this again.
It is a cliché to say that the internet tears down barriers and opens up borders, so I am reluctant to write this. And yet I must because my experience has been precisely that: by targeting clients around the globe, leveraging the internet and focusing on their unique needs, it is possible to quickly build a very successful global company.
But that isn’t all. In the last few years I have come across so many diverse businesses and business models –so many of them new and surprising to me. I am grateful for the discovery of the opportunities the internet makes possible. There are so many ways to build value and the internet makes the journey of discovery — as well as the successful execution — possible.
Today, the possibilities feel endless
Lucky for me, in my journey I have had the privilege to meet investors who believe in my ability to find opportunities within the online world and want to invest with me into making those discovered opportunities a reality.
So I am now an Entrepreneur, a Marketer and an ‘Online Adventurer’ looking for the next big idea that will make me feel as passionate as my last discovery four years ago. I want to feel as absolutely obsessed with new concepts and consumed with the thought of how to turn these obsession into reality as businesses.
If you want to be part of my next online adventure, you know where to find me:
Raquel.Hirsch (at) HirschStrategies (dot) com