Right out of college, I started my career in biotechnology and medical diagnostics marketing. I had worked with an agency to launch Digene’s first website in 1995. We won a Medical Marketing & Media Award of Excellence. That was cool. In addition, I added to my skills by working on a Master’s degree in Publication Design at University of Baltimore – combining writing, design and communications has proven quite valuable through much of my career.
Although a transition from biomedical to technical may seem odd, I decided NOT to move to Boston when the company I then worked for was acquired.
Dotcom start up it was! As the 5th person hired on at WebSurveyor, and tasked with “get leads for sales, Oh and there is virtually no budget” – I began to play around with new, inexpensive marketing techniques like pay per click advertising (GoTo) and CPM advertising (Google search – before the advent of AdWords). In addition, I negotiated a number of deals with different sites to run banner ads. I also found myself in charge of the corporate website – an exciting proposition, since I learned HTML on the job!
While searching for ways to get “free” publicity, I stumbled upon “search engine optimization.” I started reading forums, playing around with the way I programmed the company’s site and we started getting boatloads of traffic from natural search. Very cool!
As for public relations, I worked with MarketingSherpa, the Washington Post and several other organizations to create online survey projects that ended up being published. The biggest feather was an online survey of digital marketers’ salaries. Since it was early in evolution of digital marketing, ours was the first such survey – so the findings were published in the Direct Marketing Association’s 2001 fact book. Yes, it was printed, not online. Very cool.
The world has definitely changed since the turn of the century!
The entrepreneurial bug bit as the startup was no longer “startuppy.” I moved on to consulting. That’s where the name “e-buzz-master” came from. It’s about creating buzz and success online.
During the two years I helped clients, I discovered that one can either do consulting, or find consulting work, but not both. So with satisfied clients and empty coffers, I sought more stable work where I could use my expertise, learn more cool stuff, and bring good value.
In 2004, I joined Network Solutions to handle online advertising (banners and keywords) as well as search engine optimization for two or three company sites. I coordinated efforts with an advertising agency. About half way through my tenure there, it made sense (to me, then to senior management), to bring those services in-house. So I built and led internal teams, with seven people working on lots of banner advertising, PPC and SEO for 10 different websites. And managing about $15MM budget to a positive ROI.
After a few years, I transitioned to PRWeb. It was a great opportunity to dig in on PR, SEO, content marketing, site development, and PPC. In short, I broadened by skill set. I also had fun doing an online radio show as well as presenting at Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, and several other events. Then there was a considerable leadership change and it became clear that another move was necessary. I contacted a number of people I knew, and landed at SHL.
SHL was a bit of a departure – although my role was in eMarketing, the company provides employee assessment services to HR professionals. While there, I project managed two different site launches, global adoption of Eloqua for marketing automation, integration of Eloqua with Salesforce.com, integration of two different instances of SFDC, and spent quality time on United flying over the pond (SHL is based outside of London). Loved the people. Loved the job – and (humbly speaking) I think the people loved me.
Then the lure of money… I switched to Neustar to lead the campaigns team, which was part of the demand generation group. Although there were similarities to what I had done before, it was trial by fire. The company is strong, but I am not a fit for that role- an awareness that came to me and my (very understanding) boss at about the same time.
So now off to a new adventure!