by Sharyn Kopf— Cedarville, Ohio
September 5, 2008
It’s a family thing. Inevitable, actually, that Jay ’90 and Carlos “Bumper” ’93 Hidalgo would end up going into business together. Their degrees and interests created a perfect combination. Although both majored in organizational communication, Jay honed his skills as a managing principal at a consulting firm while Carlos developed his expertise from the client side in the high-tech arena.
And so three years ago the brothers started The Annuitas Group, which helps business-to-business companies improve their marketing and sales ROIs by providing process consulting and technology to the lead management area. In other words, once a company contacts a potential customer, The Annuitas Group helps that company develop processes to qualify and manage the lead and lets the company know how best to proceed.
“We’ve found a niche service that solves a business problem that 70 percent of companies are facing today,” Jay says. “We’re able to assess their situation and recommend, develop, and implement solutions. The end result is high productivity from the client’s marketing and sales operations.”
Their success resulted in a strategic partnership with Silverpop, owner of the Vtrenz marketing automation solution and a leading provider of permission-based e-mail marketing. The Annuitas Group now offers strategic process consulting services to Silverpop’s clients.
“Companies are continually looking to improve the value of the marketing investment,” says Carlos. “[This new] combination … will give customers the opportunity to build best-in-class programs and more quickly realize the benefits of a strong lead management system.”
After graduating from Cedarville, the brothers initially went different directions, with Jay working in his father’s business and Carlos developing his marketing skills in the Enterprise IT arena. Their different tracks prepared them for their future business together. As they became aware of how many companies simply didn’t have a handle on what they were doing with regard to lead management, the Hidalgos realized exactly where they could help. Best of all, they were now working for themselves.
“We wanted to spend time with our families and have the freedom to set our own hours,” Carlos says. “We certainly didn’t want to continue the lifestyle of long hours and only talking to our families long-distance.”
While working for their father, Jay started putting lead management ideas into practice as a service offering. The first company they contacted was Herman Miller — one of the country’s leading contract office furniture companies that had an immediate need for a corporate-wide lead management process.
“Our timing in contacting Herman Miller was certainly providential,” says Jay. “Since then, God has been blessing us by allowing us to discuss our services with marketing executives at companies all over the country. It’s been a pretty amazing ride so far.”
Both men credit Cedarville University with giving them a solid platform for being followers of Jesus Christ in the business world — making them step back and ask how they will represent their Savior in the public market. Silverpop and Vtrenz executives have noticed their integrity and value the business relationship as a result.
“We’re not looking to create business relationships,” says Jay. “We’re looking to create relationships in our business. If we can put the relationship first and truly love our clients and partners the way Jesus would, then hopefully they’ll see Jesus firsthand. Looking back, I can say that Cedarville was integral in leading us to that philosophy.”
Jay and his wife, Janice, have four kids and live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she is a registered nurse. Carlos married his debate partner, Susanne (Justice) ’93. She’s a first-grade teacher, and they live in Richardson, Texas, with their four children.