Me In Merkle is a series of interviews that showcase the incredible individuals who make Merkle a unique and diverse place to work. This week we chatted to Jack Flood, paid search manager, at Merkle.
1. Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in East London and have pretty much lived there ever since, besides a short stint in the West Country at Exeter University where I studied English. I now live in a town called Chingford, on the same road that Harry Kane grew up on (rubbish claim to fame but it’s the only way I can make Chingford sound cool).
2. What drew you to your current career?
I’d be lying if I said I grew up dreaming of a career in Paid Search (I was actually convinced I’d be lifting the World Cup for England), but upon starting the post-uni job hunt many aspect of a career in digital appealed to me. Firstly, I am a very analytical/data based person and the problem solving side of the role really appealed to me. Furthermore, I was attracted to the agency career path (rather than in-house) as it meant I could experience and learn more about lots of different industries, effectively meaning every day is different.
3. Why Merkle?
To put it simply, the people are everything. Obviously upon applying for the job I wasn’t aware of how great the team of people id get to work with would be, however everything Merkle stands for in terms of its ethics and cultures suggested to me that exactly the type of people I would want to work with would be there, and I wasn’t one bit wrong. Besides this, the appeal of Merkle as a global brand and some of the massive brands I have been given the opportunities to work with was no doubt a huge pull.
4. Tell us a bit more about your day-to-day
As a Paid Search Manager my role is largely split between actual hands-on account management and leading a team of account managers. I am the lead on two large clients whereby I am heavily involved in strategic decision making for Paid Search activity and even have a say in wider digital media planning. I have regular calls with both of these clients and am very close to the detail of their business. Beyond this, I spend much of my time leading my teams which largely involves task delegation and ensuring roadmaps are kept in check, whilst enabling the development of associates and junior associates.
Aside from direct Paid Search I have also been involved in Merkle’s Media Solutions department in the form of Feeds Management and Data Solutions Reporting. The Feeds side of my role is client facing whereby I manage the product feed for clients, ensuring they are up to scratch for various platforms such as Google Shopping and Facebook. The Data Solutions aspect is still client facing, but allows me a lot of deep working and problem solving time, something that initially bought me to this career path. In both cases Merkle were able to allow me to flex my work structure to divulge away from purely Paid Search account management in a way that would suit me.
Finally, as a manager there is a pastoral aspect to my role. Here I am the line manager to 3 associates whom I catch up with regularly both as individuals and as part of a wider team. Whilst this side of the role is a lot about leadership and ensuring the progression and career satisfaction of others, it also allows me a lot of time to socialise and really get close to the people I work with.
5. What do you enjoy most about Paid Search? And what do you think future developments will be?
For me the thing that’s most enjoyable about the Paid Search industry in particular is that its very fast paced and constantly changing. It seems like everyday Google release a new product or beta that keeps us as account managers on our toes and its this ever-changing nature of the role that I really enjoy. Beyond this, the problem solving aspects of my role, whereby I am tasked with finding bespoke solutions to very specific clients asks is part of what I enjoy the most.
In terms of future developments, automation is at the centre of everything. Even in the 3 or so years I have been involved in Paid Search I have seen the role develop from being very hands on and close to the nitty gritty to far more about how we harness automated solutions to save both time and efficiency in our account management. With more and more product releases, I believe this is only going to become more and more the case!
6. What would your advice be to somebody considering a career in Paid Search?
My advice would be to ensure they keep an open mind and ask as many questions as possible in the early stages of their career. I actually have part of my role dedicated to training new joiners and I always open every training session by reminding the trainees that no question is a stupid question. We don’t expect people to come in and be experts in platforms or have an immediate understanding of complex analytical tasks, but we do expect them to have the desire to learn these things!
I would also say the same would apply to interviewing for roles in Paid Search. Whilst we always look to ensure somebody has at least done the basic research into the industry when interviewing, we are often more focused on the business skills aspect and being able to see that somebody has a passion for the industry.
7. What is your greatest accomplishment?
Within the workplace my greatest accomplishment was being part of the building and utilising of a bespoke tool which helped adjust account spend based on how price competitive we were against various competitors selling the same products. This tool was nominated for a Drum award which meant I was able to attend an award ceremony, but unfortunately didn’t win!
Outside of work, my greatest recent accomplishment would have to be running a marathon without any training! My previous manager challenged me to do it and was adamant I wouldn’t be able to – I managed to finish in a horrendously long time, but finished nonetheless!
8.Tell us a bit about your journey so far with Merkle.
I have been working in the Paid Search department at Merkle for 3.5 years now and have progressed from Associate to Manager position. In terms of my job role, this means I have largely developed from taking hands-on action within an account to driving more strategic decisions at a higher level. As previously mentioned, I have also developed my role to be more fluid, with my time being split between Paid Search and Media Solutions.
Aside from the role directly, I have genuinely met some people that I would consider friends for life whilst on my Merkle journey (I know this is cheesy thing to say, but it’s true!).
9. What inspires you about Merkle’s workplace culture?
For me personally the biggest thing is the social aspect of the culture, both within our workstreams and outside of working times. The job itself lends to a very social and cohesive way of working which Merkle always encourages both internally (within Merkle) and externally (with client contacts). On top of this, the out of work social side of things, such as team events and work drinks are integral to my enjoyment at work and building the Merkle culture.
Beyond this, Merkle’s dedication towards inclusivity is evident through the work that goes into the DEI pillars, whilst the ability to take leave from work to do charity days shows the company’s dedication to give back to the community.
10. What was your dream job growing up?
Like half the young lads growing up in the UK my dream job was to be a professional footballer. I’d love to use the classic case of “I could have made it but I had a few knee injuries” but unfortunately I just wasn’t good enough! I do however still play in a Sunday league team which is great fun and take part in mid-week Merkle football sessions!
11. Are you involved in any of our DEI Pillars? If so, which one and can you tell us a bit about it?
Not involved in any I’m afraid!
12. How do you like your eggs?
This is a very interesting questions to ask me in particular – I actually have 6 scrambled eggs for breakfast everyday as part of a training regime! Got to watch the cholesterol though, so I try to stick mostly to just the egg whites!
13. What are you currently watching on Netflix/Prime?
I have recently started watching Moonknight on Disney+, the latest in the MCU franchise. I am an absolute sucker for anything superhero based and am thoroughly enjoying it so far!
14. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Is my obsession with the MCU not enough? Besides this, I’d probably say the fact that I still play Pokémon at 27 years old!
15. What is your dream holiday destination?
I love a good adventure and have seen quite a few places, but am yet to travel to South America so that would be next on the list! I am probably most interested in Peru and Machu Picchu.
16. Best advice or mantra you live by?
This could potentially be considered another guilty pleasure of mine (or is at least very cheesy), but my desktop picture is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 6 rules to success:
- Trust Yourself
- Break the Rules
- Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
- Don’t Listen to the Naysayers
- Work Your Butt Off
- Give Back
I would say “Don’t Listen to the Naysayers” probably appeals to me the most!