welcome to another edition of Meet your marketer.
Today I have the pleasure to talk with Crystal (A) O’Neill , PPC guru at SEER Interactive based in Philadelphia. Crystal was and is really nice with me, even if we never met, and I think one of the first interaction we had was because she was asking information about a trip to Venice, Italy for vacation.
I don’t want to take your time for granted, so here is your occasion to get to know Crystal a bit more, beyond her PPC skills.
What is your biggest dream?
Wow, opening with a tough one! Personally, my dream is to live at the beach. I have been a beach lover since the day I was born and to this day it’s the one place I really find brings a sense of calm to an otherwise chaotic, busy life. One day…
Professionally, my dream is to continue to be able to challenge myself and constantly learn new things. I want to always be able to come to work excited about what I have to tackle that day.
You work at SEER Interactive. Describe one particular moment that makes you pride of working there.
Picking just one…that’s tough. There have been SO many in the 6 years of being here at SEER. But if I have to say just one, it’s that we’ve maintained the core of ‘who SEER is’ while growing like crazy.
When I started there were 4 of us, now we are at 60+ and we’re still hiring. It’s incredibly amazing when I look around and see that we never lost sight of who SEER is and what we stand for just to grow. Sure there are changes that happen to scale our growth, but our beliefs have remained intact and for that I’m incredibly proud every day.
One thing that slows down the world is fear. What’s your relationship with fear?
I am sure much like others it’s a bit of a love/hate relationship. Fear can be a good thing when is pushes me out of my comfort zone to try something new (like Wil, the founder, handing me the PPC division 5 years ago when we were losing money on it) but when it’s just fear for the sake of fear (like spiders and
snakes), I could do without.
Best moments in people are when they go out from their comfort zone. Have you ever done something out of it that changed your life?
And…great tie in with my answer above. One of the biggest pushes out of my comfort zone I had here at SEER early on was when we worked with a consultant, Larry (now part of the SEER team) to take a deeper dive into the financials and accounting of SEER. We uncovered that by looking at the company by division versus as a whole, that our PPC division (which back then was really 2 of us splitting our time between PPC and SEO) was let’s just say far from profitable. Wil pushed me out of my comfort zone to take on the task of turning the division around. I had to tackle challenges and issues that I had never faced before and it really pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was the best experience, however because it helped me see what I really loved about business and helped shape my career. It also reignited by personal goal to achieve my MBA (which I am 2 months away from achieving!).
Name three books that are extremely important for you.
Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell is a favorite of mine. It’s a short read, but packed with great insight for anyone who manages a team.
Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey is another favorite. It’s an incredible read for anyone that focuses on the value of trust in relationships.
And lastly, totally switching gears here, but I love Nelson DeMille books. I don’t get a ton of free time, but when I do, I love to plop on the beach and get lost in a good book that is a fiction, creative book. It allows me to take my mind to a different place and I find myself more creative afterwards.
One of my main interests when I get to know better a person is music. Could you please name three bands/singers you love?
I have an incredibly eclectic music taste – I go from listening to DMX and Wu-Tang to Taylor Swift to Journey to Rihanna and Beyonce. I am all over the board. I really love all types of music, and pick music based on my mood or motivation needed versus a genre. So needless to say, picking just 3 is tough but lately at least, when I’m in a slump the 3 bands/singers I find myself turning to are:
Dave Matthews Band
Florence and the Machine
Let’s say that tomorrow you are gonna start your own company. Which culture you would like to establish?
Honestly, I’d want to mimic the culture created at SEER. One that is built based on doing what is right, for your clients, for your team and for your community and one that is built on trust. It’s incredibly empowering to give your team the bandwidth to bring to fruition their ideas and strategies and to be part
of the solutions.
Education: big topic. What are the most important things you do when you educate people working with you? Best approach?
Obviously, (per above) I am a big education person – both from an academic and professional standpoint. From a professional standpoint, it’s critical to educate your team. I’ve find that there is no one ‘best approach,’ rather it’s important to understand how each member of your team learns best. Some people learn by example, some people learn by doing, some learn by reading. That said, across the board I would say an approach of mine is to ask questions and help people come to the solution/conclusion versus outright saying do X or Y. I find approaching education as a collaborative process helps people learn and retain much better than people told to do something.
I would like to see more magic in online marketing. Could you describe one thing you did in your work that broke the status quo?
More magic? Just come spend a day at SEER . To me, the magic happens in online marketing when people take of their ‘ppc’ or ‘seo’ or ‘social’ hats and start to think more from a business perspective than a ‘channel’ focus. This approach has always helped me open up my creativity to think of solutions that are more out of the box that otherwise I would not have come up with.
You are helping some people through Kiva.org. Could you explain what is it and the best experience you have?
Kiva.org is a non-profit organization that aims to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Individuals and microfinance institutions can lend on Kiva. I started lending on Kiva in 2010 in order to try to help others who are motivated and determined but are in parts of the world where having a Credit Card of going to the bank for a loan just does not exist. I am up to 23 loans so far (http://www.kiva.org/lender/crystala)! It’s amazing to see what people on Kiva are requesting loans for and for how much – say $200 to help purchase products like fertilizer or seeds so they can plant vegetables to be able to sell in a local market. It’s a great reminder to be grateful for all that I’ve been able to afford and accomplish and it’s been incredibly humbling to be able to help those less fortunate on Kiva.