How Patrick Herman began pH digital marketing.
I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit. My dad had his own business for nearly 40 years. He passed away in 2000. The internet was still in its infancy. He didn’t have a website, in fact, he didn’t have a phone number listed in the Yellow Pages. It was by design! He didn’t want to work with just anyone. Those who knew, knew to call him. He was a furniture contractor - he was the middle man between a manufacturer of tables, chairs and other items. Yes, manufacturers had their own salespeople. That didn’t stop him. It cost more to work with him then buying direct, and businesses paid him for it. Every major mall across Canada worked with him. Major food chains worked with him. Why did they all work with him? A few months after my dad passed a colleague of his sat me down and said, “the reason your dad was so great at his craft was because he fought for what was right.”
The 'Ah-Ha' Moment
After more than 15 years of working at agencies I’d had enough. I wanted to be just like my dad was for his clients.
Let me take you back just a bit. In 2015 I was the Director of Client Services at a mid-sized digital marketing agency in downtown Toronto. Initially I was happy where I was at and what I was doing. I witnessed a few trends when I first got on board: staff would say anything to a client to keep them on board; a lack of teamwork with our ex ecution teams; and clients being sold anything just to get a contract sold. Can you guess how results turned out for clients? Not good! Poor work happened and that meant poor results. A year in the company fell on hard financial times and to save money I was let go. I caught on with a juggernaut digital marketing agency. It was a place I’d wanted to work for two years. Amazing! But I started seeing things. People taking credit for things they didn’t do; people throwing each other under the bus. As staff we were replaceable. We cost the agency money. A client brings in the money! I left in early 2018 to a mid-sized agency. I was the #2 person in the digital marketing department. I had an amazing boss to start. She was knowledgeable, passionate, educated and had the best strategies. We worked great together! Then she left. That left me running her role for a few months (on top of mine) while a replacement was found. This is when it hit me - I need to run my own shop!
The Start Of The Journey
In September of 2018 I left that agency and in October I launched pH digital marketing. The goals were simple: choose to work with clients that I want to work with; do the right work; tell clients the right things and set the right expectations; create and foster working relationships that build trust and have honest discussions; and above all, get results!
My first client was a client I worked with several years back when I first got into digital marketing. He was excited for my new venture and wondered why it took me so long. He was happy to sign on with me. All in all we had 21 clients in our first year. Some were for one-time services while a few others no longer work with us. We learned and we got results for our clients. We’ve built a level of trust with those we work with.
Becoming An Industry Leader
So this is why we’re here today. pHdm is a digital marketing agency that allows us to share with you our true passions while bringing you along with our family. In today's landscape, obligations and expectations are part of daily lives. Living free is a dream, an ideology we all strive and hope for. Obligation is often seen as an obstacle to living free, but we invite you to change that perspective, and define your representation of freedom. At work, with family, in your hobbies... be wild, be yourself. Whatever that may look like to you, find your free way.