Interview with Leann Pickard

Please welcome our next marvelous woman’s PPC career story! Let me introduce Leann Pickard, she is the Director of Advertising at Juris Digital.

 

Interview with Leann Pickard

 

Share the story of how you first got into PPC?

Honestly, it’s been a bit of a journey to get here. I started pursuing a degree in advertising & graphic design in 2003. While I was getting my degree, I was tinkering around, learning how to build websites (pretty horrendous ones at that), and fell into Google Ads, which was called Google AdWords at the time. Back then everything was based on “pay per thousand impressions” (or times the ad was shown). There was no mention of all the things we see as critical for successful ads today. At that point, I was developing a business to help restaurants thrive online. I continued to dabble in Google Ads but didn’t really pursue things more intentionally until around 2008. That’s when I started helping small businesses and e‑commerce websites run their advertising and grow their revenue. Now I’m the Director of Advertising at Juris Digital and help lawyers connect with people in need by using PPC!

What was the proudest moment of your PPC career? 

Mmm. I don’t know if I have a defined “proudest moment”, I think I mostly enjoy the small wins that come steadily throughout each year. I am happy when we successfully generate leads for clients. It is a great feeling when my clients grow their revenue and I get to map out the data for them to show how we made it happen.

Do you struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance?

Well, I am what they call a workaholic, but I think all people that love their job would probably identify with that. So, the honest answer is yes and no. Some months I can give you a confident yes, things are healthy with a naturally occurring balance of life and work. Then there are times where work takes over and that balance is harder to achieve. During those times, I have to make myself pause and remember there is a life outside of a blinking cursor, constantly changing data, and notifications that require my attention. I try to keep my family & myself first because work will always be there. I know life is precious so I don’t take mine for granted and really try to live it to the fullest.

Have you ever experienced any problems or challenges as a PPC because you’re a woman?

Haven’t all women faced problems, challenges, mansplaining, and unacceptable inequitable pay in the marketing, advertising, or digital marketing world? The answer is a big fat, Hell Yeah! (if it’s not obvious, it’s something I am passionate about). One moment that sticks out in my mind is when I was passed over for an internal job for a man with less experience than me. Another one is when I found out one of my male peer’s salaries was much, much higher than my own. I try not to work for companies or clients that don’t treat women equitably. I believe in knowing your value, knowing your worth, and being confident in who you are. Most of all, blow the damn roof off with your skills!

Have you ever had any advantages or benefits as a PPC because you’re a woman?

Mmm. I don’t know if the advantages or benefits I have found coincided with being a woman. Over the years working with a variety of clients, I have learned three main things that create trust and confidence in managing clients’ PPC accounts: transparency, partnership & ownership. Transparency means I show all of my work. I don’t try to cover up the less-than-flattering data or make excuses. On the flip side of that, I proudly show my clients how my work is generating revenue for them. By partnership, I mean that I communicate with my client in a way that involves them in the process and empowers them, rather than pushing them out of my way while I work. In terms of ownership, I make sure the client fully owns every single account and campaign I make for them. It builds trust when the client knows they can walk awhile with their full campaigns if they ever think they can find better service anywhere else.

Are there any differences in how you’re treated as a female by clients?

There have been many moments in my professional life where my ideas haven’t been taken as seriously as the guy that is presenting the data. I think being talked over is probably the biggest struggle with some of my clients. I have learned to listen and speak with more confidence over the years with clients that treat me like that. Or honestly, I have fired the clients over not valuing my work and ideas. Again, I believe in knowing your worth and trusting your confidence.

Has a client ever underestimated you because you’re a woman?

Sometimes people’s sexist perceptions can be overcome with extra work to show them they shouldn’t underestimate you. Other times, their perceptions won’t change no matter how much extra work you put in. Or their perceptions will change for a moment, and then they’ll go back to the habit of underestimating you. That’s why I judge how much extra work is worth it, and if it is too much, I fire the client.

If you could wave a magic wand and change something in the PPC world, what would it be?

I would love to see a better balance and integration between PPC and SEO efforts. A lot of times we pay lip service to the idea that they are two wings to the same bird, but the data will show that one effort gets more resources in an agency or that there are organizational barriers between efforts. The fact is, digital marketing is constantly evolving and the force that is pushing that evolution is publishers’ drive to build trust with consumers (think SEO) while also making as much money as possible from advertisers (think PPC). That means however digital marketing evolves specifically, the agencies that best balance and integrate SEO and PPC will be best positioned to adapt and grow.

What about being a PPC do you enjoy the most?

I love that PPC is a constantly shifting puzzle. Every day it forces me to learn something new or think in a different way. In this way, it also separates the PPC specialists who are serious about working hard for their clients and the ones who aren’t. Some PPC specialists will skate by on their bluster for most of their careers, but compared to other industries, I think PPC lends itself to meritocracy. At the end of the day, if a client has the time and interest, they are going to be able to find out if they are getting the service they deserve. We are a long way from a true meritocracy, especially in terms of sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia, etc., but I think things are just a tiny bit better in the data-driven PPC field than in other, more subjective digital and marketing fields.

About the Author

Eve I

Eve is the PPC analyst of Hellbent Digital, Inc., also a regular author on the DisplayAdsDeepDive blog. In the last few years, she lived as a digital nomad on four different continents with her husband, mostly in South East Asia.

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