Tim Halloran was nominated for a PPC spotlight profile in January of 2022.
How long have you been working in PPC?
About 11 years! First keyword list I made was for a plumber in Milwaukee.
How did you get started in PPC?
I knew I wanted to be in some sort of marketing-adjacent role early on (like on pre-college). I always gravitated towards graphic design and videography because it was pure creation: from idea to finished product. For a while there my dream job was directing tv shows. I loved the idea of creating something that made people happy.
My junior year in college I took an online marketing course that touched on PPC, Social Media, & website design – from then on I was hooked on a new idea: finding customers based on their interests and intention and turning them into customers by showing and saying the right things.
Even in those early 2010 years there were so many tactics that had never been tried. Paid social was in its infancy, there were no help articles or account reps and barely any thought leaders. There was only data and what you could do with it, it felt like the sky was the limit.
If you went to college, what did you study? If not college, do you have any other degrees or certifications?
I studied “Digital Media Marketing” at a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin. In fact, that program was created the same year I enrolled so we were their digital marketing guinea pigs. It was a BBA core with focus on marketing classes and digital classes (video editing, Photoshop, HTML, PPC, etc).
What was your first job that involved PPC?
My first full-time job in PPC was at Blend Integrated Marketing agency in Madison, WI. I remember the day I was offered the position I was on the treadmill at the gym and had to step off to take the call. I breathlessly said, “That sounds great, I accept, thanks so much.” and it probably sounded like I was going to faint because I was still catching my breath.
The first PPC task I ever did (outside of setting up my email), was creating a keyword list for a list service that sold contact information for state and local government officials. Back then, I didn’t know (or have access to) tools that helped with the keyword research, so I was literally putting together keywords queries based off what I think people were searching for and using Excel formulas to add variations for plurals or misspellings. It was tedious to say the least.
What is your current position and how long have you been in it?
I’m currently a senior account manager at Aimclear and have been here for about 3 and a half years. We’re based out of Minnesota – I work in the Twin Cities office but our main HQ is in Duluth, MN. We also have employees outside of MN, including Detroit, & North Carolina.
My current position is focused on client services and paid media management. Depending on the size of an account, I’ll either be in the trenches doing the PPC and social work myself or I’ll work with a team and delegate tasks to a wider group of us based on how much work needs to get done.
What kinds of things do you currently handle or manage in PPC?
Anything and everything PPC. Just depends on the client’s needs. I’ll delegate or execute on paid search, paid social, video ads, shopping ads, feed management, budget allocation and more. I’ll manage and delegate services for video creation, graphic design, CRO, SEO, website design and dev (front & back), database creation, CRM installs, and client training demonstrations. Us digital marketers wear many hats but I love it. There’s never a dull moment in agency life. 🙂
Has your career path had any hiccups or nontraditional aspects that you’d like to share?
Absolutely. I’ve failed more times than I can count.
But if I could go back and change certain things I don’t think I would. As cliche as it sounds, every single mistake I’ve made has made me better. If I did everything perfectly from the beginning – I’d have learned absolutely nothing.
Missed deadlines, overallocated budgets, misspellings in ads, charging the wrong credit cards, going beyond scope, failed marketing campaign ideas, missed emails or meetings, stepping on people’s toes (both literally and figuratively), clients that think I’m inept or inexperienced, clients that ask for someone else, getting a big ego and then getting put in my place, stuttering and dropping the ball in big meetings, botching marketing interviews (royally I might add).
You name it, I’ve probably done it.
Non-traditional aspects? I’d say coolest non-traditional aspect of my career came in 2011 when I traveled to India and did PPC and marketing for an event marketing company based in Bangalore. You know that feeling you get the last day of a conference, where your brain is filled to the brim with content? That’s how I felt every day in that position. It wasn’t just a culture shock either, it was the way in which business is done in developing countries. Some things are slower and other things are at break neck speeds. Understanding what was expected of me was absolutely a huge learning experience and I think it positioned me well for my agency career to-date.
What are you most proud of in your PPC career?
I can’t think of just one but I can think of the feeling that came over me in the moment: a feeling of fulfillment and joy.
It always happened when I felt like my ideas were welcomed and respected. Whether the first time I got on stage and presented on Facebook Advertising Best Practices, or when I was in a meeting and I was able to sell the client on my marketing pitch, even the small things like having someone say, “We should grab Tim for this meeting.”
Those are the moments I felt most proud. Knowing that I was contributing. Having a net benefit effect.
What, if anything, do you wish you could “do over” in your PPC career?
I wish I was more confident from the get-go. There were so many times over the past 10 years where I kept my mouth shut for one reason or another when I know I had the best idea in the room. It could’ve been a power dynamic, or it could’ve simply been I wasn’t 100% sure I was right. Regardless, those missed moments add up.
If you’ve put in the work and honed your craft – you shouldn’t feel the need to acquiesce to a superior or a client just to keep the peace. Sometimes you just need to lay it all out there and hope your ideas are appreciated as they are. And learn from it. The truth is I (or anyone else) don’t always have the best ideas but you won’t know till you say them out loud.
If you could give advice to someone either considering or just starting out in PPC, what would that be?
Be proactive. Don’t wait to be given the keys to the kingdom.
Go out and do the thing or learn what you need to learn on your own.
If you can’t find an answer, solve it yourself. I wouldn’t be an account manager at one of the leading marketing agencies in the US if I would have just waited for someone to give me permission to have an opinion or make a decision on my own.
Are you interested in speaking opportunities? If so, what topics are your jam?
- Facebook Ads Best Practices
- Quora/Twitter for B2B
- ABM and LinkedIn Ads
- Ecommerce in social/search
- Tactical Insights on Paid Social Account Management
- Agency Specific Insights into Media Buying
- General PPC Know-How
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m always up for a chat or a coffee if you’re nearby or if we’re at a conference together. I love meeting other PPCChat’ers!
Where can people find you to connect (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)?