How long have you been working in PPC?
My first introduction to PPC was in 2015 when I was interning for a small nonprofit organization where we were handling all digital marketing efforts. I was able to really get my hands dirty with both social ads and paid search at the same time, which made me realize how much I loved working with data and deploying customized strategies that I believed would actually make an impact.
How did you get started in PPC?
Well, when I was young, I truly wanted to be an actress (movies, TV, plays, you name it!). Very different obviously but in some ways helped me find my current career path. Life moved on and as I started thinking about careers that involve creativity, personality, and critical thinking. Marketing and advertising were some options that matched this profile after doing in-depth research years ago. As I got more involved in finding this new path, I realized that I would never exactly become Don Draper 😊 (the infamous visionary and main character in Mad Men TV show) but that I could use my more analytical skill set to transfer that to the marketing field. PPC truly involved all I needed: creativity at some level, in addition to strategic planning and thinking with a heavy analytical side. This was my long way of saying that during one of my first internships and jobs in marketing, I figured out that PPC is what I really enjoy.
If you went to college, what did you study? If not college, do you have any other degrees or certifications?
I was studying Public Relations and Journalism in my home country, Russia. I got my second Bachelor’s degree in Marketing & Communications from Baruch College in NYC.
What was your first job that involved PPC?
Besides small internships to introduce myself to digital marketing in general, my first real job was in a small in-house marketing team where I took the initiative of building Google Ads campaigns amongst many other things including the basics: pacing, optimizations, and reporting. I basically taught myself using online resources. When I started seeing results and campaign performance changes, it motivated me to learn more and more.
What is your current position and how long have you been in it?
I am currently an Associate Director of SEM at Stella Rising and have been at the company for almost 2.5 years.
What kinds of things do you currently handle or manage in PPC?
I develop SEM strategies for our clients across multiple channels (search, shopping, display, and YouTube), create timely goals forecast, and handle main client relationships and communication. I am pretty hands-on and manage some clients top to bottom including daily optimizations, reporting, etc. However, I am moving towards a more integrated role and am getting involved with other channels such as social and Amazon ads. I’m lucky to work with an amazing team where it’s so easy to collaborate and learn from each other daily.
Has your career path had any hiccups or nontraditional aspects that you’d like to share?
Absolutely! When I moved to NYC, I faced a ton of challenges. From getting used to the new culture here in the United States as well as the general way of living, all while trying to discover a career path that would satisfy my needs. I had to hustle and take jobs that were truly not related to marketing at all to pay my college tuition and support myself. My jobs were ranging from working at the supermarket to being a technical specialist at Apple. All these jobs and challenges helped me build and strengthen my character and taught me things that I can apply in my job field now. When I worked as a technical specialist, I learned how to better listen to customer’s problems and ask the right questions to provide the best solution with tools that are available. I also learned how to say “no” and manage expectations when they made the most sense.
What are you most proud of in your PPC career?
I am most proud of my personal and professional growth. Also, I am very proud of taking a chance last year by submitting our work for an award, for me that was a big step in my career. Besides getting multiple nominations, I was able to secure a win in the US search awards last year for Best Integrated Campaign. Proud to be part of Marketing O’Talk along side amazing Julie Bacchini @NeptuneMoon, Mark Saltarelli @MarketingByMark and Christine Zirnheld @shepzirnheld!
What, if anything, do you wish you could “do over” in your PPC career?
Be more confident! I regret not speaking up earlier in my career, but I learned my lesson and keep that in mind to this day 😊 Other than that I think it’s all just meant to be.
If you could give advice to someone either considering or just starting out in PPC, what would that be?
Make sure this is what you like, but I feel like that same rule goes for any career, and it might take some time to adjust. A lot of people fall into this job field, and our industry could be lucrative, but it is also personally challenging at times. I think you should do your best to give it a chance and realize the capabilities you have as a marketer to impact companies’ profitability and general brand growth with just a single click.
Always be curious and learning. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, go the extra mile, follow industry marketers online, read industry publications, and sign up for webinars. Grow your network and reach out to people! Also, another key, don’t repeat my mistake of not speaking your mind early in your career 😊
Are you interested in speaking opportunities? If so, what topics are your jam?
Yes, I am trying to put myself out there more in terms of public speaking opportunities! I can talk about anything SEM related but lately, I am focusing more on managing smart bidding, automation, and new betas/tool testing. I work with a variety of clients but mainly with e-comm brands, so I am always happy to talk about the retail/e-comm industry.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am glad to be part of such an awesome community! I have met so many talented and kind people already during my time on the agency side, some that I still hang out with outside of work to this day. Our industry is so fast-changing, and I am lucky to be learning from everyone every day (thanks to #PPCCHAT, folks on Twitter, Reddit, SEL, SEJ, Marketing O’Clock, LinkedIn, and many more).
It was awesome to be a part of Marketing O’Clock this year and meet (although virtually) smart, talented people who work in the same field and handle the same challenges I do every day. I remember listening to the podcast and thinking “They sound fun! Maybe I can meet them one day” and I did! Huge shoutout to Greg Finn @gregfinn for bringing me on! Tune in to their podcast or check it out on YouTube.
Also, shoutout to Julie Bacchini for doing an awesome job with #PPCCHAT and PPC profile spotlights! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share some things about myself😊
Where can people find you to connect (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)?