I had the pleasure of interviewing the talented Lisa Sanner, our VP of Search Marketing last week. At the beginning of the month, she was named as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, Bing Ads, by Steven Guggenheimer, the Corporate Vice President of Developer Experience and Evangelism for Microsoft. She shared thoughts on her background as well as a few ways to get noticed. We know you’ll enjoy her insights!
Maureen: What do you do for Point It? Can you give us an overview?
Lisa: Sure thing, Maureen! I am the Vice-President of Search Marketing. I’ve been doing paid search with Point It for, I believe, 9 years. It sounds crazy long, but true.
I help set the paid search service offering for Point It. In addition to paid search, we do SEO, paid social, display, and analytics. When I say Vice-President of Search Marketing, I mean Vice-President of Paid Search, SEM, what people call pay-per-click or SEM or paid search, so making sure that Point It is using all of our best practices of campaign management and optimizations for performance-driven marketing through the paid-search channel.
Maureen: How did you get to be the Vice President of Search Marketing for a premium digital marketing agency like Point It?
Lisa: I graduated with an advertising degree in the School of Communications way back a long time ago, and I’m not even going to say the year. I worked at a traditional advertising agency for 2 years. I bought TV, radio, newspapers, print media for some large companies in the Pittsburgh area. Then I decided to go back for my MBA. I got my MBA in marketing, and from there, went into some direct marketing from this business that was in collectibles at Franklin Mint.
I directed media in international channels, in international markets for the Franklin Mint. Then I moved out here in Seattle, and I worked for a market research company, did some consulting on market research, led focus groups, did quantitative customer-satisfaction surveys. I’ve always had this love of understanding user behavior or consumer behavior and questions. From a market research firm, I went to work for a dot-com, so I was their online-marketing manager, retail-product manager for a dot-com called freeshop.com, during the bubble, went through an IPO which was really “exciting.” That’s where I met the founders of Point It. After Free Shop, off to have kids, which was the right decision for me and my family. Then I wanted to rejoin the workforce, and I got back in touch with my Free Shop buddies, and they said, “Come work for us,” and so here I am.
Maureen: What a long history you have. It starts in an analog advertising space and sort of transitions over time slowly to become this deeply knowledgeable person who understands the digital marketing and search marketing in such a profound way.
Lisa: Yeah. I just loved learning people’s business issues and advertising challenges, or not only advertising challenges, but messaging challenges on like, okay, we have this product. How are we going to generate demand for it or create awareness of it? I always love figuring that out for people or helping them discover it themselves, and that’s been a common thread woven throughout, I think, a lot of my past jobs and experience, which it gives me a broad perspective on what we should be doing for our clients and how to help them grow their businesses.
Maureen: How do you feel like this award with Bing Ads, the Most Valuable Professional, benefits our clients here at Point It?
Lisa: I think over the past couple of years, I’ve established a really strong relationship with Bing Ads, and so they will involve us in betas or even alphas at the very beginning of when they’re starting to think through how they’re going to change or grow Bing Ads.
As I looked over my calendar this year, I was really surprised by how active I’ve been over the past year with Bing Ads. At the time, it didn’t really seem like a lot, but it’s that connection with one of the major search engines that will get us to know their product better, to be in on helping them understand how their product meets the needs of advertisers, and how we can improve their products as they need to change them or revise them with marketplace changes.
Maureen: You’ve become the voice of the customer, in some ways.
Lisa: Yeah, that’s exactly what this award, I think, has been all about. It’s like I’m the customer. We have a good enough relationship that I can be really pretty direct about what I like, what I don’t like, what they should be doing, what Google’s doing. It can help them guide and make decisions in a smart way about where they should put their efforts.
Maureen: Microsoft described you an exceptional technology community leader.
Lisa: Yeah. You’re going to make me blush!
Maureen: What advice could you offer up-and-coming MVPs?
Lisa: I think don’t be afraid to get involved, to reach out if you see something to whoever your connections are at Microsoft. They have MVPs for all kinds of different things, so their developer network, their cloud.
Also, I think it’s not being afraid to get involved, to speak and present and tell Microsoft what they should be doing. It’s important to be candid.
Stay aware of your involvement and embrace it!
Maureen: Thanks Lisa!