Today’s post is the second in a series where we’ll be profiling each member of our leadership team here at Clix. We hope you enjoy getting to know us!
Over the course of the past four years, Michelle has become an increasingly integral part of the Clix Marketing team. When I joined Clix earlier this year, I quickly saw and appreciated her many contributions. These include, but are not limited to, managing the Clix blog, coordinating team trainings and happy hours, managing her own client accounts and relationships and even checking in to see how I was doing as the newest team member.
Michelle is the kind of person you want on your team. Although she is a self-described workaholic, she also has a great sense of humor. For instance, when asked what she wanted to be when she was a kid:
“Until the age of about 13 I was convinced I was going to be a professional basketball player. I loved the game and had been playing since I was able to walk…Fast forward to never getting over 5’ 4” and I began to realize that I just might not be cut out for it.”
When she’s not working or cracking jokes you’ll likely find her eating tacos or playing with her dog Ripley. Read on to learn about how Michelle got started in digital marketing, some of her greatest career accomplishments to date and advice she has for those just starting out in the industry.
What college did you attend? What was your major?
I attended the University of Missouri, received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with emphasis and Marketing along with minors in Philosophy and Sociology. The minors were simply because I found the discussion topics fascinating. As for my major, my mind is geared really well for business. I never had a moment where I thought my major would be anything else, even in high school.
How did you get started in digital marketing?
Right out of college, I decided I wanted to stay in Columbia rather than move back home. So I took to the job postings of some of the companies I knew to be in the area and perused job boards. After filling out an application for something called “Online Marketing Assistant” and a referral from a friend, I landed my first job in what I eventually came to know as PPC.
Describe your jobs/roles at the companies you’ve worked for.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work in both in-house and agency roles. For in-house, I was pretty much in charge of all search and display advertising for our Fortune 500 company. That included developing strategy, optimizing performance for CPL goals, and working with other teams to determine profitability after a sale as well as developing landing pages.
Once I moved to an agency role here at Clix, all the same strategy and optimization pieces remained in place for clients, but over the course of my time here I’ve taken on a number of additional roles dealing with the goings on at Clix (maintaining the blog, working to find ways we can maximize efficiency for ourselves and our client’s accounts, etc.) and expanding my knowledge base to topics outside of PPC.
What personal characteristics do you think have most contributed to your success in this field?
I think it’s a couple things: I have a tendency to be a workaholic and I like to achieve goals. Although I think being a workaholic is bad, it’s certainly been a major factor in how I’ve learned PPC over the years. When I’ve got spare time, my mind tends to shift to work. I begin to think about all the things I could be doing better, then I strive to make those improvements.
What is your favorite thing about your job? About working in this industry?
My favorite thing about both the job and this industry is that I feel I’m constantly being challenged. New clients come along with their own business goals and industry challenges; existing clients need to maintain and grow levels of success in known fields; the ad channels themselves are constantly innovating and changing the way we do things. I like the continual moving of the bar, if you will. Keeps me on my toes and helps to prevent the burnout effect we can all feel from time to time.
What advice do you have for people just starting out in digital marketing?
Leverage our community, get your hands dirty as soon as possible, and know you’re going to make mistakes. We have such an amazingly connected industry that you can find written info on just about any topic or you can simply ask another pro on Twitter or Reddit. Additionally, I’ve found that the best way to succeed with PPC is simply to do it as best you can, but be aware that you’ll make mistakes. PPC can be extremely intricate and has arbitrary best practices that can vary in effectiveness from one account to another. Over time, you’ll develop the skills to know what practices to use when, but it doesn’t come overnight.
If you could go back in time to when you first started working in digital marketing and give yourself one piece of advice what would it be?
Learn Excel quicker and learn some basic coding. Honestly, these would just be two major time savers for me. I’ve spent hours trying to figure out how to make something happen in Excel or trying to troubleshoot what in the world is going on with some of my clients accounts. Frankly, I’m still learning those things today, but would have been nice to know how important they were going to be done the line.
What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?
Honestly, the accomplishments I’m most proud of might not sound all that exciting on the surface. We had a small ecommerce client come to us a couple of years back that needed some assistance with ROI. They were bouncing between breaking even and making maybe 50 percentage points back. I was able to help them get to 400% ROI in the first couple of months and have been stable at that point ever since. They’re still a client to this day.
In another instance, we had a B2B SaaS company come along that needed help driving more conversions. Over the past 2 years, we’ve worked with them to clean up their tracking data to get a clear sense of success, expand into new channels and verticals, and leverage their back end funnel data to come to a calculable cost per customer that we’re still working to improve. These guys are also still a client.
Neither story is arguable a “sexy” one about turning stats around overnight or seeing astronomical results, but it’s the longer term, successful relationships that I’m honestly most proud of.
What digital marketer is your role model and why?
I find this a bit tough since I don’t know everyone’s intricate day to day schedules or their actual work product, so I’m going to cheat and name drop a few folks and some skills of theirs I admire. Melissa Mackey has been a force to be reckoned with in the lead gen space for a while now. As I got my start in lead gen, there’s always a soft spot in my heart for it and I love the content she turns out around the specific challenges that face lead gen folks. Aaron Levy has written and presented on audiences and customer personas in ways I’d never thought about before and found really interesting and actionable. John Lee is constantly pushing the limits of what I know about our social platforms to make them work just that much better. AJ Wilcox has an understanding of LinkedIn that I think surpasses even most of the folks who work for the channel. And Brad Geddes has such a high level understanding of the whole playing field that he can give a keynote (with specific examples) about when best practices aren’t best. And that’s just to name a few.
What is your favorite conference presentation of someone else’s and why?
There have been a number of presentations over the years that blew my mind, but the one I would call my favorite is probably one of the more recent ones I’ve seen. At this year’s HeroConf, Brad Geddes talked about when it’s appropriate to abandon best practices and I just loved it. I’ve always hated the idea of doing things just because they’re “best” practices, but he articulated it really well and in a way that didn’t focus only on specific best practices. I walked away from it wanting to question why I do things the way I do for my clients and either 1) realize it’s still the best way or 2) find a new way of doing things.
What’s something you’ve recently implemented, or are planning to implement, in an account that you’re excited about?
I’ve had the privilege to work with a B2B company recently that has a very tight focus on their target audience. We’ve been able to leverage LinkedIn in a number of different ways and are only looking to grow that list. We’ve recently chatted with LI about a number of new features we’re going to be able to implement that I’m pretty pumped about, but I have no idea if I’m allowed to write about them yet so…this is just a rude tease I guess.
Which of the new AdWords features, announced at the recent summit, are you most excited about and why?
Has to be the changes to the device targeting. Although it’s really just taking us back to where we were, I feel there’s so much more control and optimization to be gained by this simple step back that I find it more exciting than the new stuff they announced.
That’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed getting to know Michelle a little better. She’s a great asset to our Clix team and we’re proud to call her one of our own. Next time I’ll be chatting with Mae Polczynski, one of our Managing Partners, so keep an eye out for that post next month!