What inspires the leaders and experts in our search engine marketing industry and community? In our inaugural post kicking off our new “Interviews with Experts” blog series, Formic has chosen to feature fellow experts in an interview-style post discussing what inspires them, how they got into the search engine marketing industry and more.
We are thrilled to have had an opportunity to interview Marty Weintraub and look forward to sharing his insights and passion for the industry with you in the interview below. Marty is Founder & Evangelist of aimClear®. A fixture on the international conference circuit, his recent and upcoming speaking keynotes and panels include SES London, MediaPost Search Insider Summit, OMS, Charlotte Search Exchange. Marty has spoken over the last five years at SEMpdx, mozCon, PubCon, eMetrics, and numerous other global search and social marketing conferences. Marty’s Wiley/Sybex book, “Killer Facebook Ads” was critically acclaimed. He has written extensively for respected Internet marketing publications including SearchEngineWatch, SearchEngineLand, Search Engine Roundtable & been quoted in others, from AdAge to MediaPost.
And now for the interview, enjoy!
When did you know that the SEO industry was your chosen career path?
My first career love was music. After attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, I was fortunate to travel the world playing in bands. In the late 80s I experienced the classic sex, drugs, and rock and roll scene. These days have been well documented over the years. I played with stadium bands and sold many CDs blending nature sounds with music. The musician path led me to working with advertising agencies, recording jingles, and then soundtracks for CDROMs, flash movies and other “interactive media.” It was 1993 and those were heady times.
My music work landed me invitations to other creative endeavors at the agencies. Soon I was contributing other agency jobs like videos, websites and strategic use of such assets. I learned to make websites, normalize databases, code dynamic pages and pitch clients. It was awesome and I enjoyed it as much as making music. After a huge musical success, I moved to Duluth with my young family. Even though I did not need the work, I took a job as Creative Director for the now defunct CBS affiliate, KDLH.
I was the only one who had experience building websites so, naturally, I registered KDLH’s domain, and designed and built the site myself. I believe I used Adobe PageMill. Because we had the evening news to play with, I was fortunate enough to gain experience driving audiences to the website that were drastically bigger and more engaged than audiences most business were able to gather. I was totally hooked. Within 2 years I was working for a venerable ad agency in Duluth, bringing our team into the digital age.
It was then in 1998 that I knew my life had changed forever. I remember thinking that online marketing was totally as cool as music. I felt that to touch all these amazing users out there with content, art, “rich media” and even music fulfilled all my creative and technical yearnings. The stage was set. I knew my true career path. Understanding technology and how to merge it with creative advertising was a serious edge and I was up for the challenge.
Why and what keeps you passionate about the industry today?
I love our industry’s people. IMHO, we’re one of the most diverse, brightest, creative, out-of-the-box, and soulful and beautiful communities in the world. The daily change enthralls me. I love the travel, challenges to stay relevant, and extreme flexibility required to always field competitive and effective online marketing products.
The fact that most of the world has completed the migration to online means that technology is rarely the edge. Rather, we’ve come full circle. Creativity is again the prime differentiator. What ad copy and social messages we distribute to which target-users in order to marry a product’s true value to customers who have a sincere need or want for the products is what matters most. That plays to my heart and strength as an artist.
What is your greatest success and/or failure (what accomplishment are you most proud of)?
My first appearance speaking at SMX Advanced in 2008 changed things forever. I am really proud to have piloted aimClear, as CEO, to becoming an Inc. 500 company. Keynoting SearchEngineStrategies London in 2013 was a huge thrill. Honestly though the greatest successes come in the trenches every day with the work we do for our amazing clients.
Also, I must say that our aimClear employees have amazing careers ahead of them. Several of them are internationally regarded as true thought leaders on their own. Others are following in their footsteps and you WILL hear about them. The incredible professionals aimClear spawns and my humble role in mentoring them is perhaps my greatest pride.
So far as failures go, most of them are “forest for the trees” mistakes. It takes early failures to learn the basics. Take enough time to really understand the marketing assignment. Realize that there IS a God and I’m not it. In the early years I had not learned to harness my ADHD style run-and-gun approach and alienated good people with random energy.
In 1999 I tried to bring some of my nature themed instrumental music to the Internet and started a company called TerraAura. It failed because, even then, Internet users wanted their music for free. That was a difficult lesson I never forgot.
What are the top three tools you can’t live without?
- My intuition
- Sysomos MAP
- My Bell Northwind Kevlar Treking Canoe
What is the best piece of advice you have for folks looking to get into the search industry (or best piece of advice that you ever got)?
Understand the power of being magnanimous as well as carefully placed righteous indignation. In social media, give more than you take. Be discriminating in whom you follow and trust. Keep your promises. Say you’re sorry often. Change your mind. Actualize the concept that no idea is sacred. Look out the window and credit external influences for success, including other people, timing and luck. Look in the mirror when things go wrong.
What new digital trends can we expect to see in the next few years?
I’d look to seriously more effective multi-channel look-alike modeling, especially brick to click CRM expansion. Big data will make its way out of the theory bag and into your day to day marketing tactics toolbox. Creativity will become even more of a differentiator because machines are not creative.
What industry blog or book has influenced or inspired you the most?
Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, Good To Great (Jim Collins), SEOmoz, Lee Odden, Rand Fishkin, Danny Sullivan, Barry Schwartz, SEORoundTable, Webmaster World, Sigrid Olson (Founder of Wilderness Society).
What is one of the biggest mistakes that many digital marketers are currently making?
That’s easy. Nearly every AdWords account we see has outdated structure when it shows up on our doorstep. Also, thinking that there is very much free social media distribution is a ridiculous mistake.
What do you love most about your city?
The quality of life, Lake Superior, the quality of employees our universities turn out.
A huge thank you to Marty for taking the time to answer our questions and share his wisdom with us!