In today’s business world, it’s imperative that organizations have a successful strategy to tackle the beast that is digital. But many companies need help, and that’s where Michael Rosenfeld, founder of WebConnection, comes in. Jmore recently sat down with Rosenfeld to learn more.
Did you always want to get into web design and digital marketing?
I graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in psychology. I spent two summers working at Sheppard Pratt [mental health system], and it was so grueling and sad that I didn’t think I could spend my career in the field. So I graduated from college and went into business. In 1995, I started my first web design company, where we did custom web design for years. The company was one of the oldest-standing web design firms in the state that was always under the same ownership.
Can you pinpoint a turning point in your career?
In 2009, when college graduates were struggling to find work, I predicted there would be a market for high-level digital strategy consulting for organizations that already had a developed website. My first lead was the United States Army.
This was when it was bad in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Army was struggling with finding recruits. Their website was their main recruitment tool, so the organization needed to improve performance to avoid a draft, which there hadn’t been since the Vietnam War. I was nervous about the opportunity and told fellow members of my CEO group about the situation. They told me this was my niche and to have faith in my expertise, so I took the job. I ended up having a desk at the Pentagon and Fort Knox, and this turned out to be one of the most rewarding projects of my career.
Do you still do website development?
After consulting for the Army, I went back to web developing. But five years ago, I decided it was no longer for me, and now I do what I did for the Army full-time. I work with funded startups and large organizations to provide chief digital officer performances. There are a lot of organizations needing guidance with their digital vision, and our company focuses on everything that touches digital, including marketing, pay-per-clicks, social strategy, email marketing and apps.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
In critiquing myself, I would say I should have taken more risks. I grew a company into a solid boutique firm with a wonderful reputation and am an entrepreneur, so I took risks many others wouldn’t take.
But that’s what I would tell my younger self — to take even more.