My name is Jason Lawrence Hachkowski, and I am a compulsive type. Not by diagnosis, but rather by design. I am a marketer who's consumed by delivering results in the world of online advertising, and have been doing so since 2003. I started working in digital even before I could be hired for it. All this at a time when companies were not looking for any of the skills that I could bring to the table.
I have been in the digital marketing (advertising / seo / sem / etc) business long enough to have witnessed several internet trends. I've witnessed the birth of the internet (my kids now learn about this in history class), the rise of social media, the fall of yahoo.com and myspace. I've been actively involved in online advertising as its grown into a data-driven, algorithmic bidding ecosystem. This is my personal space where I give away information on digital marketing, and generally ramble on.
But I am going to back it up a bit, it started with graduating high school, and not being ready for adult life. I messed around, wasted my first year of University, and dropped out. So I spent the next year living in Banff, AB cleaning hotel rooms and snowboarding. When I decided to return to academics I chose to purse a Bachelors Degree in Economics. Regularly, I was asked by my friends, "Why Economics?"
It turns out that the relationship between how people make decisions in the context of a world which has scarce resources, and various ways in which it was measured and understood was fascinating to me. Our lives are influenced by broader economic trends, such as inflation, interest rates and economic growth, all of which influence the decision making process.
Alas a B.A. in Economics didn't pay the bills very well and managed to secure me little meaningful employment. I sold life insurance. I sold vacuum cleaners. I then went back to school.
My next round of education was a bit more practical. My next area of focus was in International Trade & Marketing. With a Advanced Degree under my belt I soon found myself employed in what would be the start of a career in digital advertising.
Online Pharmacy Boom
While kicking around for whatever work was available to a recent grad, I ended up in a company called universaldrugstore.com. At the time, universal was one of the largest online pharmacies located in the Province of Manitoba.
Being involved with a company which was growing at such break neck speeds was inspiring, and the company was always hiring. Always hiring customer service reps, pharmacy technicians, developers, and marketers. That was, until the pharmaceutical companies who's medication they sold decided they didn't like their business, and the industry was forced to go offshore. It was at this time that I began to understand the logistics of international pharmacy distribution, which interestingly turned into a big push into the world of digital advertising.
Early SEO Success
It was the experience I had with universal which prompted me to go out on my own. The day after my non-compete clause had expired I was live with my own online pharmacy website.
But I did it differently. I went niche.
Everyone was selling heart medications to baby boomers, I was selling life saving generic HIV medication to the uninsured. But this didn't just happen. I took my knowledge of pharmacy logistics, product, and drop shipping...and said now what? I need a website, I need a way to process payments, I need TRAFFIC. So I self taught everything there was to learn about SEO at the time. Everything from on-page SEO, optimizing metadata, inbound linking, anchor text, etc. Shortly after launch my site was in average position number 1-3 for my most competitive search term.
I ran this business until 2016, at which point I exited the business via an asset sale. One thing which transformed how I thought about my career in digital....how quickly Google would stomp a SEO tactic (and its beneficiaries) out of existence. This caused me to switch focus to channels which were sanctioned by Google.
PPC & Paid Advertising
Running a gray trade business (no matter how virtuous / ethical it may be) for over 15 years teaches you a lot about life, yourself, and how you want the next 15 years to look. During the time I owned / ran this business I began to transition into paid search and digital advertising. I started contracting these services to ad agencies and local clients.
One particular day I rolled into an office looking for some contract work. I ended up being sold, rather than selling my services. The words that sold me are burned into my memory: "This is a big opportunity for you. This is Fortune 500. This is Priceline.com."
This was where I began running SEM (PPC) campaigns at scale. Working in the Winnipeg office of priceline.com with the travel inventory distribution arm of the company granted me access to the worlds top SEM / PPC practitioners. Running large budgets, and working with some of the top pay per click advertisers in the world,and having access to the top Google reps was eye opening, as well as transformative.
During this time Google came to me looking for help designing the Google Partners Program. Myself and a handful of select participants all participated in workshops, focus groups, and one on one information sessions with the intent of building out the agency support program as it exists today. Much of what you see today is the result of this early work.
However, after 3 years of doing SEM (PPC) advertising, I started re-evaluating whether I wanted the next 10 years of my life to be exactly the same. So when a new opportunity knocked on my door I made the transition into a new world of digital advertising.
Ad Agencies & Digital Advertising
When presented with the opportunity to grow and scale a new business I made the move to where I find myself today. Today, I am Vice President of Media, Strategy, and Analytics at Forward Media.
I've compounded over 17 years of digital media experience, millions upon millions of dollars worth of campaigns run, and now am bringing that experience to our clients. When I first joined the agency space, I was shocked by the poor service levels, the sub par reporting, and the general state of affairs when working with agencies and ad tech vendors. I quickly decided that we would be better.
In my current role, I consult with clients on their digital marketing strategy to help them ensure that they're meeting their online advertising goals. Wrapped within the client side of the business is sale & presentations, marketing strategy, operational leadership, growing and scaling high performance teams, consulting services and expert witness services.