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Interview with Veronica Fielding

Let me introduce our next wonderful Women in PPC expert, Veronica (Niki) Fielding. Niki is the CEO of Digital Brand Expressions. Welcome her fascinating PPC career story! 🌹



Share the story of how you first got into PPC?

I started Digital Brand Expressions in 2001 as an SEO consultancy and services firm. As Google AdWords, as it was called back then, started to take off, we began providing planning and ad management services in response to clients’ requests to take advantage of this new channel. It was an easy addition to our service lines.

What was the proudest moment of your PPC career?

The proudest moment is right now, where clients have 200%+ ROAS thanks to the amazing team that’s earned our tagline, the experts’ experts.

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

In the early days, I worked crazy hours. I was recently divorced, my children were in elementary school, and I was committed to spending time with them on my days when they weren’t in school, so I was working from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m., taking them to school, working while they were in school, spending dinner time to bedtime with them, grabbing some sleep, and doing it all again. Crazy! As the company grew, I found myself still working way too much. It wasn’t until about 7 years in that I took a step back, reassessed how I was working, and learned to set boundaries that led to a happy, healthier me. My team and I worked from home 2 days a week before Covid, so shifting to WFH in 2020 wasn’t a challenge for us. They work a flexible schedule that looks something like 9:00-5:00, and I’m committed to them not working late nights or weekends. I can count on one hand the times in 20 years that we needed to work on a weekend to make the magic happen. We are super organized and the word “collaborative” doesn’t even begin to express how well my team works together to keep everyone balanced and moving forward.

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

I’ve experienced many challenges in PPC as a woman, and the issues come from not just men, but women too. We have all been socialized to think and act certain ways, and it takes self-awareness and a willingness to assess what changes are needed for equity to materialize. One story since you asked: we met with a company whose (male) president refused to talk with me and directed all of his questions to our (male) VP and none of the women at the table, despite my effort to redirect his attention appropriately. When the CMO called to ask if we wanted to move forward, I said, “No, we have no desire to work with your company, it’s not aligned with our values.” He apologized and said he understood completely and didn’t blame me a bit.

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

The WBENC certification program for women-owned businesses has been a much-appreciated edge for deals with very large corporations who get government credits for hiring certified women-owned businesses. While I’m eager for equity across the board, while it’s still a dream, I’ll take advantage of the opportunities this certification provides to have an edge to attempt to compensate for all the times I still have to fight assumptions and biases that have been socialized into marketing decision-makers.

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

By the time a client makes it through our mutual vetting process, we’ve ascertained that they are an organization that shares our values, so I don’t think I have a story to share about being treated differently by men or women clients because I am a woman. But in thinking about this more, I’m frequently told by men and women that I’m someone they feel they can trust very quickly…I’m not sure if that’s because I’m a woman, it may just be my energy…

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

Same answer here…by the time we take on a client, they’ve had plenty of time to interact with us and I don’t think my team or I am ever underestimated, though we do consistently hear from clients something along the lines of, “We heard you were good, but whoa, you are actually awesome!”

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

Well, that’s why I joined this organization; I’m hoping it is a magic wand of sorts. I would love to see more women in the PPC field, and I mean I really want to see them–not just doing the work, but getting the credit for the great work they do, the results they generate for the brands they support.

What about being a PPC do you enjoy the most?

I love the strategies, how complex it is, and how leveraging that complexity to a trusting client’s advantage can bring real change for them. And because we look for clients who align with our values and are actively working, as we are, to make the world a better place for all, I love that my team’s expertise is actually helping the world to become better.

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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