We continue our series of interviews with PPC Associates’ most seasoned marketing experts with wisdom from Mike Nelson, a former math teacher who stumbled into the marketing industry in 2008 and has since become a regular contributor to Certified Knowledge and SearchEngineLand (he has a new SEL column out today!)— not to mention a master of driving ROI across multiple channels and verticals.

Mike NelsonHow did you get into digital marketing? Entirely by accident, to be honest! I was a math teacher and really not liking anything about the job. So, I was focusing on my book-selling business, and doing really well, but not quite well enough to make it a full-time occupation. I found (co-founder David Rodnitzky)’s job listing and thought it was really genuine, so I took a chance and applied (the only application I sent out for a non-education job). Turns out my background was exactly what David was looking for, and he took a flyer on me.

What’s the one quality you have that makes you uniquely good at your job? I’m not so sure this is going to always be perceived as a positive trait, but I really get a kick out of doing the best work possible and completely destroying baseline. I get such a rush when our efforts result in real deltas for businesses — and simultaneously hurt our client’s competitors!

What’s the toughest lesson you’ve learned in your job, and how did you learn it? Satisfaction from this job really doesn’t come directly from the clients you’re working with. It comes from finding the work itself, the praise and recognition of our internal teammates, and the learning opportunities along the way. Clients are too busy to run around giving out ‘mad props.’

Finish this sentence: “Don’t bother trying to break into the marketing industry if…” you are just a good salesman selling a good product and good ideas. You need to execute on the pitch as well.

What’s your favorite part of the job? I like the opportunity to help grow companies. I get a kick out of making my impact felt, and the way I do that happens to be through SEM.

What’s your least favorite part of the job? Dealing with our politics (of which there aren’t all that much, I’m happy to say) AND , simultaneously, the politics of our client’s companies.

When someone asks who you work for, do you say “I work for (Client A)” or “I work for PPC Associates,” and why? My first year here, I said, I work for ‘Client A.’ Now, however, ‘I work for PPC Associates.’ I think once I truly understood that everything we’re doing is in the best interest of our clients (I should have realized this from the start, by the way), I felt that saying ‘I work for PPC Associates’ became something I could say with absolute pride.

Leave a Comment