Entrepreneur, innovator, obsessive and unable to sit still!
I work in Digital Marketing at a Search Agency in Sydney (Check out my professional section for details). I have lived this career for over 14 years which was initially driven by my passion for Digital Marketing.
I have a huge thirst for knowledge and skills when it comes to data, analytics and how these drive the performance of digital marketing channels.
I have lived in three countries and travelled to over 30, with a lot more on my bucket list. I love to immerse myself in new different environments and people.
Art is something I have taken seriously at varying levels over the years from 3d Design & animation to pencil drawings. I have produced music (who hasn’t) although the noise I produce whilst trying to sing has never been described as singing… Usefully people use words like “why is this happening to me”! or “make it stop”!
The various faces of me!
Check out my personal page for more information on this ad I have / had a lot hobbies over the years.
Now, A lot More About Me…
This website is mostly about my professional career but I have also included a lot of my learnings and insights from decades of working in the industry. I hope you enjoy or learn something of value here.
Here go with the basics…
Born in 1980 I think that just about qualifies me as a millennial, for all that means! I was born in Southampton in England and after finishing my academic education I immediately embarked on a career in the IT industry for around 10 years. Computers seemed like they were going to be properly popular as time went on…
I worked my up through self teaching and a genuine love for technology and logical problem solving. At the peak of my IT career I had worked for military and police organisations that require the highest level of government agency scrutiny to gain access, high level clearance required.
Like most people in my early life, I lived with friends and enjoyed a highly active social life but always put great emphasis on advancing my career goals. I worked on highly secure network infrastructures and server systems as well as supporting daily personal computer issues.
Why Digital Marketing?
After designing a website for a now ex (but still friends) girlfriend as a gift (having to learn HTML, hosting server tech, CSS and little JS)… I searched for my newly constructed Hodge podge of naïve guess work and self taught machinations, only to find to my horror that “if you build they” won’t f**king come!
Such began my new battle of ages… how do I defeat the bas***d in the first place, and replace them (or my ex, or client or whatever… lol) I have a goal, a process and an unwitting enemy) and all of a sudden a new burning desire to know all I can about what I was reading; this called “SEO”!
It was from this point on that I began to learn as much as I could about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). At first it was all; meta data and anchor text, content volume and such like. Once I got introduced to tools like keyword planner, Moz, Majestic and such like, it felt like the world grew wider and wider.
Note: The first enemy has been long since defeated and their failure is sweet beautiful music like the symphony of angels haunting voices singing of wars won… hang on, where was I?
ALSO… Digital Marketing is a phrase that means “making money for people”. But it plays out like a computer game (with the exception on clients). If you love enough of this work you have a skillset that means you can make money for people (people can also be you!)
Deciding to give up 75% of my income!
After some months of doing DIY SEO for friends, family, and some cheeky little side projects; the opportunity arose to work for Vertical Lead, a long standing search agency in Portsmouth (UK). Knowing a woman who worked there, who can only aptly be described as a wonderful and special human being, helped me to decide to change career.
“Money is not *everything… but it’s not nothing”
– Alec 2020
*But it does help quite a bit!
My Aunty Sue once said so me “you don’t get anywhere by just plain sailing, you have to go out into the unknown sometimes”. I don’t know if that was a quote or made up on the spot but it has resonated with me for my whole life. I changed career (and salary grrr) to follow noting but a passion for something I genuinely loved doing.
Not that this is or should be construed as advice or whatever legal term might implicate me… I now earn more than I could have in my last career, which is a pale second prize to loving what I do.
“Digital” & Digital Marketing Rule
The recent past, the present and the future are all becoming more and more digital… Your phone tracks your GPS coordinates, algorithms determine what you like and don’t like across every platform that you use. Watches, hearing aids, wireless everything is how we are moving forwards.
Facebook knows who you know, how well, how much you talk, what interests you have, where you go, with who. They also know your ideological and political views, and are now very clever through algorithmic advances in machine learning at targeting you based on those characteristics. They know a lot about you!
LinkedIn know your job history (or at least the ‘shall we say’ most viable version of it). That means who you work with, who liked you and vice versa. Your skills, qualifications, certifications, and the responsibilities of each role you’ve ever had are all interpreted by machine programs to build personas and audiences!
Even if you use your friend’s Netflix account like some some sort of artefact of modern dissociation and laziness: they still track your phone, your browsers your operating system, locations, patterns, etc. Seriously, pay the $8! Google can track you (pretty closely) without ever signing up for Gmail or YouTube.
But I digress… Everything is tracked now more than ever and trackability is the power to Digital marketing. Before Digital, people where forced to choose between the bewildering choice of 5 channels (a marked +20% improvement on before based on quantity). The targeting of adverts where based on the time of day, location, type of programme and the amount of viewers.
Now we can choose audiences based on location, if they live there, what their demographics are, their age and job title to name but a few things. Some people find this invasive and unpopular, and fair enough… But you should see ads that are at the very least relevant to you! And, as times goes on this will improve in terms of efficiency.
So powerful is this aggregated data that it is being regulated at the highest levels.
My Digital Marketing Trajectory
SEO was just the beginning for me. With years of knowledge in IT, a moderate amount of web design under my belt, SEO fit in like the last jigsaw piece. There was still lots to learn, and the hard stuff comes a lot later. I was quickly exposed to Google Ads and then Bing Ads (or whatever they call themselves now).
Ben Norman the owner of a search agency, later to be called Koozai, gave me the opportunity to prove myself. I will never forget that, he is a good guy and I think he related to my passion.
He gave me a professional job and training from many people including Andy Williams an actual champion among men! I learnt from a team of 10 or so people the various disciplines of SEO, PPC and Analytics. As time went one, social media monetised and we moved into a wider range of offerings.
I was head hunted (not by a predator) and was given the fantastic but hard earned opportunity to work and live in Australia (you have to do both). Since moving to this astounding and painfully anachronistic colonial monument to western progress. I do love it here.
In my time in Australia aside from vast amounts of travelling during annual leave, I have also lived in Melbourne for a year and three different areas of Sydney. I hold all of these home close to my heart.
Moving Up In My Career
As anyone with both ambition and a career to funnel that energy into, it doesn’t take long to move up. I have consistently moved both through internal promotion and through new jobs moved ever closer to the top.
I have focused on several core areas of technical ability and several areas of leadership thought to achieve this:
Technical Core Skills
- SEO (all areas, read blogs all the time)
- PPC (Always changing and you need to keep on top of this, it is essential)
- Analytics, Data & insights (This is what tells the story)
- Social Media (Always getting better, more platforms and more reach)
- Landing Page and Web Design (UX), etc < good to understand the basics of this
Leadership & Management Skills
- Innovation (Come up with new ways of doing things… See solutions not problems)
- Tech (make it work for you. Don’t let a tool take up more time than it saves you)
- Work smart and hard (time and priority management)
- Initiative (do things at home and show that it can work or make things better)
- Honesty, be straight with people, mean what you say and do not lie
- Empathy (even when the news is bad, empathy is a measure of quality)
- Listen: you have two ears and one mouth! Understand the needs of your team, your client, your boss, your business and your life. (you can always ignore it!!)
Wrap these skills up into almost a decade and a half of Digital Marketing and you have a well rounded holistic strategic thinker capable of building and managing teams that deliver results.
Move to Australia and Developing my life here
After a long road littered with a plethora of admin and paperwork, hoops through which you have to jump (and usually pay a small fortune!)… I finally became and Australian Citizen in late 2019. This was a crowning achievement of mine and one that I worked very hard to achieve.
In this time (around 8 years as of Nov-20) I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with some fantastic clients and companies. The bulk of my experience was in agencies but I did an in house role for over 3 years with Mozo, the largest financial Australian comparison site.
In my time outside of full time employment I have consulted for reputable agencies in both Sydney and Melbourne, typically as a Senior External Consultant, brought in for complex SEO or SEM projects. I also spent time reviewing work for quality and accuracy as well as managing small teams of juniors.
One of the most interesting roles involved recruiting a Digital Marketing team for a very large well funded SMS gateway company called Message Media.
My Latest Professional Endeavors…
Raptor Digital Marketing Tools
My long time friend Dave English and I set up a Digital Marketing tool called Raptor (for short). We invested ourselves heavily in this and produced / are producing a fantastic piece of SEO software that will soon automate much of SEO.
I still make content for this but both Dave and I treat this as a serious ongoing project but you can learn all about this by visiting the website… You can check our SEO Tools here.
I have written over a million words of content for this and have marketed it successfully to hundreds of thousands of users. These include extensive muli-part guides explaining every aspect of SEO and how to do the job.
I make a lot of video content for Raptor which supports the software features through tutorials or promos but I also produce a lot of SEO and PPC video guides. You can see all the videos I have produced for Raptor by following the link.
My primary involvement in this project and business was to design the visual components of the tools, its functionality, write out all checks that need to be performed, options, and basically everything other than coding!
Roolife Group / Choose Digital
I am working until the 20th of November when I will be made redundant. As the Head of Paid Media for Choose Digital who are a part of Roolife Group. In this role my daily tasks are quite varied but will typically include in any one month the following duties:
- Ensure budget management are setup and pacing properly for the month (time period of campaign)
- Pitch decks take up a good portion of time and are often last minute requests with a COB (Close of Business) deadline! Depending on the potential value of the client these might take considerably longer and have multiple people collaborating to create a finished product.
- Team Management, delegating work to my team for projects such as new clients or pitch deck research. Due to the demands of ad hoc requests, urgent work and pitching; delegation is a collaborative effort and I look at priorities, deadlines, hours required and the skills of the stakeholders in their relevant fields of expertise. Using this and internal brainstorming sessions, I can be the architect of a concise plan involving delegations, milestones and hard targets.
- Streamlining, this has at points occupied a good percentage of my time. Create Data Studio reports and Supermetrics plugins to automate data aggregation. Thus making checks and monitoring easier is a good example. I have also implemented a project management Tool (Monday.com) which now forms the backbone of much of our project management and time keeping.
- Hands on work keeps your game sharp and your eye keen. Knowing how to hit a bullseye isn’t the same as throwing a dart and hitting venture red! Hands on work gives irreplaceable experience which leads to intuitive insights and solutions.
- Hands on work involves:
- Facebook Ads
- Creating and executing strategies across single or multiple channels
- Facebook page creation
- Facebook ad management and campaign builds
- Ongoing Facebook optimisation and management
- Google Ads and Microsoft Ads / Bing Ads;
- account, campaign, ad set build
- keyword research
- Ad copy creation
- Ad extensions
- Shopping campaigns
- Search, Display, YouTube
- Settings, bid management
- Account optimisation
- Finally… Reporting, typically a combination of data Studio and an email with summary like commentary. We pride ourselves on three things: honesty, accuracy, and transparency. When combined the recommendations are usually ubiquitously accepted.
- LinkedIn also heavily features in the channel mix for our clients typically in the B2B markets. Again I am highly proficient at building, and running LinkedIn campaigns with over 5 years professional experience.
- Reporting and WIPs (client meetings) For risk of sounding like I think too much of myself; I am incredibly social and actually enjoy a captive audience. In my current role I regularly fill in for almost everyone when it comes to pitching and client meetings.
- I am confident in from of audiences of any size, the most being around 3,000. So, delivering reports to clients with a touch of flair and a generous helping of mild charm can help reach a level with people. I personally believe my honest polite and ‘to-the-point’ manner of approach typically earns respect.
- I have also developed, designed and now have approved new service offerings such as CRO (Conversion Optimisation) and landing page design. Combining these with other services, has meant that our core offerings have increased. This makes us more attractive and viable to both new and existing clients. We have already rolled this out with tremendous results to a dozen clients.
- Stakeholder & Project Management these play a huge role in the day to day work that is done. With a direct manager and an MD in the office and around 8 other employees scattered between 4 states… Even having the mandatory 4 in the office is not many, Communicating with 4-7 people over phone, Zoom, email and messenger even with a project management tool is something of a challenge but I feel has been overcome through better communication.
- Hands on work involves:
So What Now, You Ask?
I provide SEO and paid Media consulting services but I am open to a full time job or contract work.