HomeInterview with Rachel Smith

Interview with Rachel Smith

Let me introduce our next wonderful Women in PPC professional, Rachel Smith, who has worked in the industry for nearly 10 years. Rachel started at the bottom and worked her way up until she became the Head of the PPC department at Platform81.

Please welcome Rachel and her PPC career story! 🌷



Share the story of how you first got into PPC?

I was a Civil Servant and there were going to be some cuts, so I decided to look for a job, rather than wait it out. My now-husband had worked in PPC before but had since left the profession, we had friends at an agency and a job had come up, I went to interview and got the job! I started as an absolute beginner, learning to build campaigns initially, and have worked my way up ever since! That was 9 years ago!

What was the proudest moment of your PPC career?

When our team won a Google Partners award for a YouTube campaign. Also, working my way up and becoming senior management.

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

I do find it very hard to switch off from my job at the weekends and if I go away on holiday (what’s a holiday?! I cannot remember…). So, over the years I have had to learn that trusting my colleagues is important, but what took longer was to trust myself. I know what I am doing and I am prepared and organized enough that I don’t need to be constantly checking in during downtime. Becoming a mother has also helped me realize how to make that balance. The agency I work for now is incredible and really encourages flexible working, I am very lucky to be there.

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

Unfortunately, yes. I have had a few times when a new client realizes I will be looking after their campaigns and they behave very misogynistic towards me. The very first thing a new client said to me once was, “let’s just be clear – I hate women because my wife left me. Just so you know”,  I handed that one right over, I was not dealing with that! I truly believe you need a good relationship with your client to build the foundations for an epic marketing campaign. You are on the same team, everyone needs to be a team player. Also, a few eyebrows were raised when I announced my pregnancy…

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

I have had a few times, “You run the department? That is epic! We need more women in digital senior management”. Male colleagues who are cheerleaders really give you a boost and hope for gender equality!

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

If I have, it has been usually from male CEOs when I have been at client meetings. If someone swears they can be “oh sorry darling”. I am like, “I used to work with the armed forces, I have heard everything, it isn’t hard to shock me!” Also, don’t call me darling 😂 I am a business professional!

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

I used to have a client who when I asked questions, wouldn’t answer me, but refer back to my boss. I eventually put my foot down (politely) and when he actually listened to me and the results we were generating, he seemed pleasantly surprised and realized what a good job we were doing!

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

To have Google Partners support circa 4 years ago. It was SO GOOD. What went wrong?!

What about being a PPC do you enjoy the most?

Absolutely smashing results and helping to take someone’s business to the next level.

About the Author

Morgan F.

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