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Behind the conversions: Susan Waldes

Published: December 19, 2012

Author: Molly Shotwell

We continue our interview series with PPC Associates’ most seasoned account folks. Today’s ace is Sr. Client Services Manager Susan Waldes, who holds down the East Coast, has a Christmas birthday, and is the all-star SEMs with an art degree on her wall.
susan waldes ppc associatesWhat’s the first metric you check when you start work for the day? I check top-line performance for all clients from the previous day. This generally benchmarks if things are status quo or something is amiss that needs more research.
What’s one metric you rarely bother to check? I rarely check quality score. My esteemed colleague Mike Nelson has written on this more extensively, and whether or not you agree fully with his take or have other theories regarding the impact of quality score, it’s a totally non-performance-based and fuzzy metric and has little to do with true “account health.”
If you had 10 million dollars to invest and you could invest in Google
or Facebook stock, which would you pick, and why? Facebook has some interesting things coming soon that indicate it’s developing a more stable, robust, and feature-rich ad platform (or revenue model, if we’re talking stock). If it all pans out it, I’d say there is a decent chance Facebook stock would be more profitable. That said, I’m not much of a gambler, so I’d go with Google. Their management team is more stable and proven, as is their revenue model.
What’s your favorite advertising campaign (e.g. Betty White Super
Bowl ad, Got Milk billboard, etc.)? I was pretty impressed with the Old Spice Guy ad series. They got huge cultural awareness in an era with massive noise. The handling of social media with that campaign represented the first time a huge brand got social media totally right. Also, they make me giggle.
What’s the one quality you have that makes you uniquely good at your job? I poke fun at myself for having an art degree, but I also think that the creative side of this job is huge. It’s easy to get caught up in the data aspect of SEM. However, part of driving success is thinking creatively about how to reach the right demographic and what messaging and content they will respond to and that part of the job is way harder to train people in – it’s more of a personality trait than a skill.
What’s the toughest lesson you’ve learned in your job, and how did you learn it? It’s an ongoing lesson and an ongoing learning process for me, but the toughest thing about this job is the reality that, at its core, your duty is to spend other people’s money. Even when you are doing an awesome job of it and bringing them tons of returns, this is still a delicate position to manage. People are always going to be slightly suspicious of the folks spending their money for them and striking the right tone that addresses that reality isn’t always easy.
Finish this sentence: “Don’t bother trying to break into the marketing industry if…” You aren’t passionate about it. The reality is that staying current in this industry can be consuming. It’s not the kind of career when you can totally “turn it off” at the end of the day. If you aren’t passionate about it, you’ll be miserable.
What’s your favorite part of the job? I love the variety and getting to think about and participate in all kinds of industries and business models. For each, it’s like a “puzzle” to solve – that’s fun and keeps my brain fresh and engaged.
What’s your least favorite part of the job? It’s high stress. This gets back to the “other people’s money” issue. It’s just the nature of it that the pressure, responsibility, and therefore stress are high.
When someone asks who you work for, do you say “I work for (Client A)” or “I work for PPC Associates,” and why? I say, “I work for a search engine marketing agency out of San Mateo, CA.” No matter how much explaining I do, people tend to come away from it thinking I work for Google.

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