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Meet Patrick Ward of Rootstrap in West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick Ward.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Marketing was a natural fit for my extroverted and psychology-obsessed self. I took the usual route of entry-level at a small ad agency in my hometown of Sydney, Australia, but it wasn’t enough. If you know anything about Australia, you’ll know it’s a small market. With a previous internship experience at M&C Saatchi in LA lingering in my mind, I had the yearning to see if I could compete in the marketing industry at a higher level. So graduating in 2015, I struck out for America, my life packed up into two suitcases.

Upon arrival, hustle was the name of the game. Simply to find a marketing position, any marketing position, that could keep me in the US. The folks back home thought I was crazy – I left all my family, all my friends, and a stable, steady job. The first few years were rough, as any entry-level marketer will tell you. Being told “marketing’s a cost center” or “do we really need that piece of software” (yes, we do – it helps me complete 80% of my daily tasks).

Slowly but surely, I started to build my successes until I was recruited into a B2B tech company. That’s where the hockey stick started to happen. Marketing was always my place, but B2B tech was where I found my home. Bouncing between a few different companies and you find where I am today: Head of Marketing for Rootstrap, a company that includes MasterClass, Tony Robbins, Quartz, among many others in its esteemed list of clients.

Personally, I’ve been able to Guest Lecture at USC to the next generation of marketers, featured in Forbes, Ad Age, Business Insider, been referenced in Deloitte Studies, and be the Founder of a successful networking group #LinkedInLocalLA.

As I continue to strive forth within the marketing industry, I’m reminded of why I came to the US in the first place. If you’d asked a younger Patrick if any of the above accomplishments were possible, he would’ve said, “No way”. That’s the possibility of America for me, and it’s why I made the leap to “cross that ocean”.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road, as with any endeavor in life, has been bumpy. Obviously, the move to America was filled with a lot of promise but also uncertainty. Aside from the naysayers back home in Australia, there was the knowledge that I would be starting from scratch.

All standard networks of support that we all rely on were non-existent, and in those early days even seemingly simple activities for locals were challenging. Things like apartment hunting where landlord’s would be suspicious of lack of rental history, applying for credit cards to build credit but not having a credit history to back it up. Even when I was hired in my first American job, I saw my 3-month LA ad agency internship be valued over the 3-years of Sydney ad agency experience.

The reality of being in that situation at the time is I accepted the burden willingly. Was it tough? Yes. Do others have it tougher? Absolutely. All I could do was keep persevering to prove myself in this relatively new environment for myself.

Please tell us about Rootstrap.
As the Director of Marketing for Rootstrap, a custom software development agency, I’m responsible for our entire B2B marketing efforts, primarily for the purposes of lead generation. Having been in tech for a number of years now, I’ve seen first-hand how most companies get marketing wrong, focusing too heavily on metrics at the expense of truly understanding the human on the other end of a marketing message.

My particular skillset revolves around shifting companies’ perceptions in the marketplace in order to make them attractive to new verticals or client personas. When it comes to Rootstrap, our industry is saturated with many similar development agencies all saying roughly the same thing. Everyone calls themselves “expert technologists”, everyone works with “startups to enterprises”. The success I’ve gained (and continue to gain for Rootstrap) is through simple differentiation that is understandable and difficult to replicate.

It boils down to two concepts: Scale and Trust. Our technologists help systems scale effectively so that tech infrastructure is able to cope with varying degrees of traffic with no impact on user experience. We back this up by helping MasterClass double their revenue in a few short years or when we took on Ownable’s eCommerce platform after it broke down on a Black Friday and turned it around to achieve 4X sales in a single day.

For trust, this is the hardest to articulate but truly unique in the software development space. Most dev shops are in the business of “yes man development” – they see if a client has budget, build a product and launch. Rootstrap takes one step beyond to determine feasibility of an idea. I’m as proud of the clients we’ve advised not to go down the road of 6-figure projects, because it wasn’t right for them, as I believe that’s how we demonstrate a true commitment to being a strategic partner. Does it leave money on the table? Absolutely, but it builds true long-term relationships that pay off many times over and that’s always more valuable than short-term profit.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
The time I bought my first iPod. This might sound mundane but there’s a backstory. My parents had insisted as I was nearing the end of elementary school that I had to start earning money. They would continue to fund the necessities (education, housing, food), but anything outside that, I had to scrounge together the money. At the time, iPods were all the rage and most of my peers were gifted them by their parents.

At the age of 12, I had little options. Paper routes were drying up, fast food required you to be at least 14, and a lemonade stand wasn’t going to yield the cash in quick enough time. So I became a soccer referee. Bitterly cold 8hr days over the weekend wasn’t many kid’s idea of fun, but I loved it (and for many years after, working my way up to a State-Level referee). When I spent that $400 on that iPod Classic, it meant so much – because I knew instinctively the effort that went into earning that money. I preserved that iPod and kept it in mint condition for the next 5-6 years (well past its usual lifetime) and I ended up with something better.

A lesson in independence. I look back to that moment that defined for myself what I could achieve by my own hard work. And I still credit my parents to this day for that lesson: a lesson that allowed me to have the mental fortitude to even take this giant leap to America in the first place.

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Personal Image Credit: Jonah Light

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