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    Digital Marketing

    5 Women Who Inspired Me to Be a Better PPC Marketer

    The PPC industry, later expanded to Paid Media, is less than two decades old; while one of the oldest digital mediums—the web banner ad—was launched just prior, in 1994. Then the industry's two largest networks, Google and Facebook, launched their advertising solutions in 2000 and 2004, respectively.

    It’s the reason why you’ll be hard pressed to find an expert who has run ad campaigns, that imagined they would do so as part of their career. Most college curriculums are just now starting to cover digital marketing, let alone teaching budding marketers how to optimize ad campaigns across different channels and mediums. For many of us who started out years ago, there weren’t too many comprehensive guides or walkthroughs, often leaving learning to trial and error, and community outreach.

    More than just information scarcity, there also seemed to exist a clear gap of the number of women in the industry opposed to men in the early days. While not perfect, and with clear gaps remaining in salary and leadership representation that need to improve, it has been compelling to see the industry and community become more gender diverse and inclusive over time.

    I was inspired to pen a post highlighting some of the most talented professionals who had a noticeable impact on the way I approach my work. I’m very grateful to these bright marketers who’ve provided guiding light through the depths of digital marketing, by continually sharing their knowledge to others.

    Annie Cushing

    Annie Cushing

    Chief Data Officer, Outspoken Media

    Annie, who many endearingly refer to as “Annielytics” on account of her blog, possesses a unique gift of breaking down complex data analysis concepts into clear and actionable steps.

    Never did I appreciate this more than when trying to follow Richard Branson of Virgin’s mantra for business, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes—then learn how to do it later!” Finding myself burning the late night oil trying to make sense of projects that required regression analysis, cross-sheet pivot tables, VLookups, and many more seemingly alien tasks. Thanks to Annie I shaved countless hours off the learning curve and was able to understand the once foreign language of Excel commands.

    Must-read articles to check out:

    Melissa Mackey

    Melissa Mackey

    Search Supervisor, gyro

    When it comes to PPC subject matter, articles geared towards B2C business types often dominate the conversation. This isn’t surprising, as many of the advertising solutions were built from the viewpoint of a sale happening all on a website and with a short expected sales cycle. This left many marketers, such as myself, scratching our heads on how to best approach B2B marketing using tools and solutions that aren’t often not meant for, or accommodating towards, our use cases.

    Opposed to an online sale, B2B often focuses on generating leads that are then worked with a sales team to hopefully turn into a closed contract or sale. Their sales cycles are often months, not hours, and the tracking is often murky (needing to account for online and offline touches). While we report in terms of leads/contacts, companies/accounts, opportunities, and revenue, many advertising platforms reveal web conversions as their standard tracking and performance views.

    Melissa stands out to me as someone who really understands B2B, first and foremost, and then has a unique gift of being able to apply her knowledge against the greater paid media landscape—recommending the best features and tactics on search, social, and display to drive more qualified leads and sales opportunities. From her posts on Search Engine Land, speeches at events, or consistent contributions to the #PPCChat community, I continually learn from her expertise and thankful for her strong B2B viewpoint in the content.

    Must-read articles to check out:

    Merry Morud

    Merry Morud

    Senior Creative Strategist, Aimclear

    I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest Facebook advertisers on the planet, located at the headquarters of Aimclear—a marketing agency nestled within the small town of Duluth, Minnesota. Their CEO, Marty Weintraub, authored the celebrated book, “Killer Facebook Ads: Master Cutting-Edge Facebook Advertising Techniques”.

    Here I was a corporate search guy in khakis (judge away), working at a Fortune 500, visiting what seemed to be an obscure little town in order to learn how to advertise on a social network—needless to say, I felt a bit out of place.

    I stepped into what I’ll never forget as an incredible atmosphere of creativity and collaboration that has stuck with me through the years. Eggos were popping hot out of the toaster and launched across the room to other team members catching them on plates, like a foul ball cracked into the stands. Individual ad copy was blown up on a big screen and poured over by the entire team. Side projects were encouraged and financed. People were free to let their freak flags fly high and be their true selves, it was eye-opening and glorious.

    Here I met Merry, a razor-sharp creative who understands both audience segmentation and performance analytics cold. She pushed me away from keyword stuffing ad copy, and thinking in terms of intent—common habits praised in the search space. Instead, I was challenged to think about audience targeting in the form of Psychographics, understanding the power of an image when it comes to behavior, and how to write headlines that demand attention. Merry also has an exceptional command over Facebook’s Power Editor—if there’s a new shortcut, hot key, or bug, she’s likely one of the first to spot it (and usually screenshots it on Twitter).

    If you’re lucky enough to hear any of the Aimclear crew speak at events or attend one of their webinars, be sure to leave your email. You’ll be included in their email nurture,“Super-Secret Psychographic Targeting Tip Sheet”, often penned by Merry, with actionable insights into new Facebook features, comprehensive targeting, and optimization wins. It’s punchy and consistently worth the read.

    Must-read articles to check out:

    Lauren Vaccarello

    Lauren Vaccarello

    VP of Marketing, Box

    Moving from being part of a digital agency to an in-house role at a startup was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. If you’re curious about the experience, our Head of Customer Acquisition recently wrote about this exact transition.

    B2B is a tricky space for running acquisition campaigns. Forrester revealed in a study that less than 1% of marketing leads, on average, turn into closed-won revenue for the Sales team. Now couple that with marketing a SaaS (software-as-a-service) product, where most of the buying process happens online, and it can make many marketers feel a bit lost at sea.

    Thankfully, I came across the book, "Complete B2B Online Marketing", co-authored by Lauren. Within those pages, she revealed the core pillars to her online acquisition strategy while at the helm at Salesforce. I thoroughly enjoyed her holistic approach to running multi-channel campaigns in order to reach and nurture your ideal customer audience—pushing me to invest in thinking more about the customer journey, strategy, and tracking from a bird’s eye view. It’s been inspiring to follow her transition from a more traditional demand generation mindset, to running Account-Based Marketing campaigns targeting existing sales prospects at Box, in order to aid in shortening sales cycles.

    Must-read articles to check out:

    Joanna Lord

    Joanna Lord

    Chief Marketing Officer, ClassPass

    Before Google’s Panda update, and Facebook turning down the dial for organic reach, SEO was the digital marketing industry’s golden child—while PPC was often the forgotten lackey. Search engine and digital marketing conferences were dominated by SEO tracks and thought leaders. That’s why it was so compelling to hear a strong voice for the PPC community coming the VP of Marketing at one of the most adored SEO product companies, Moz (then SEOMoz).

    Joanna was speaking at events about segmenting your web page traffic and remarketing with relevant messaging while many marketers were just laying their first retargeting/remarketing pixel, and blanketing the same banner ad everywhere. She also possessed a firm grasp of how paid and organic strategies could be combined together to drive more customers.

    Since, Joanna has expanded her marketing arsenal by mastering the art of branding. Fueling the growth of companies like BigDoor, Porch, and now ClassPass. I follow her personal blog for honest and thought provoking views into startups and marketing strategy.

    Must-read articles to check out:

    What’s Your Story?

    Are there thought leaders or mentors who have inspired you? We’d love to hear your story!