Friday morning I was given the honor of meeting with the awesome, talented marketer, Dan London. Prior to meeting him, I did some research. I was amazed at reading his impressive resume and seeing all of his experience in the marketing field. So, as an aspiring marketer, I had a lot of questions to ask him.
To start, I just wanted to get to know a little bit more about who he is as a person and how he got to where he is today. During our hour chat at the Brew, a coffee bar in Raleigh, I learned a lot about Dan.
For example, he is a huge fan of playing hockey. Since the age of two, he has been leading teams in points and penalties. Continuing his passion for hockey, he played for the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Later, after reading an article in USA Today about the top places to live, he moved to North Carolina where he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with an English degree.
Like most college students, Dan didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do when he graduated, but he landed in the marketing field with the right combination of luck, timing, and connecting with the right people, as he put it.
So what did this talented marketer do prior to entering the marketing field? During college, he worked part-time unpacking trucks. This experience proved very valuable, by taking the initiative to volunteer for different tasks he learned more about the company.
Dan’s advice was that going beyond what is required and displaying a willingness to learn will make anyone a valuable asset to a company. Furthermore, having a desire to learn new things, volunteer for unfamiliar assignments, and adapting to change will lead to more knowledge, experience, and overall value.
Once he graduated, he worked within the marketing industry for a few years as an online marketing manager and then as the top marketing copywriter for Clean Design. He took a short period of time off from the marketing world and taught 6th grade English and History, but then returned back to his calling of working as a marketer.
As opposed to focusing on just one aspect of marketing, Dan gained a lot of experience by working in multiple areas within the field.
He worked in a search marketing firm and managed “big name” clients. Later on, he joined a new company and began working as the Director of Search Engine Marketing and focused on SEO, banner advertising, and paid search. A few years later, he joined a different company where he was in charge of increasing traffic and working with a social media marketing program. Now, he is the Director of Marketing at Ansible.
Here’s a list of companies that Dan has worked for over the years:
- Clean Design
- MarketSmart Interactive (Websourced)
- ShareFile (Acquired by Citrix)
- Ansible (Acquired by Red Hat)
I asked Dan what a typical work day looked like for a successful marketer like himself. According to him, he has no “typical” work day since things change so quickly. However, one thing he always does is check the current stats and the ones from the previous week. After that, his day is pretty random. Without the basic everyday routine, it makes working more interesting, but in a good way. Plus, it allows time for launching new ideas within a matter of minutes.
Most Rewarding Project
With all of his experience, I was curious as to what he considered being his most rewarding project. He began to explain to me about a project with ShareFile which he considered to be a great achievement and rewarding. The task was for the company to hire 90 people within 30 days. Upon starting the project he asked himself, “How could they help market for that project?” Well, they decided to create a “Love My Job” campaign.
The project brought all of the company’s departments together, and they made t-shirts as well as a video that included employees from the company and even random bystanders!
The goal focused on bringing in people to the company and driving employees to work together in a collaborative effort. The focus was not centered around generating revenue, but instead collaboration, which made the project more valuable.
The project turned out to be a success and they surpassed their goal. Whether it’s working with one person or multiple people, Dan enjoys being able to collaborate with others.
Reason behind His Success
One of the things that I really enjoyed and admired about Dan, is his humility. He contributes his success in the field to his collaboration and connections with other people. “I never walk into the room thinking I’m the smartest there.”
Dan told me that he is always talking about marketing topics with others and constantly making connections. He went on about opening yourself up to new ideas and meeting new people. By doing so, you will always learn something new, and both parties will have something to gain connecting with each other. He also mentioned the opportunities that arise when talking to people from all different backgrounds and forming connections. It can be as simple as reaching out via LinkedIn with an invitation to meet for coffee.
During our meeting together, I asked Dan if he had any role models that inspired him to get to where he is today, and he did. Jessie Lipson, the man who started ShareFile. He said working for Jessie was great because he was given the space and runway to complete his work with flexibility.
Even now, when Dan assigns others a task and the goal that needs to be accomplished, he uses the same work method that was used when he worked at ShareFile.
He always gives them their space but offers assistance to them if they need it. By providing the others with a greater sense of autonomy, he is allowing them the freedom and flexibility of being innovative in their own way.
Dan’s Advice for Fellow Marketers
Regardless of whether you are entry level or an experienced marketer, Dan has some advice for each of you. First of all, “Talk to as many people as you can, and learn as much as you can.” Dan never worked at a job that he didn’t know someone, and that is because of the importance of making connections. It is all about who you know.
Also, as Dan says, “There’s always something more that you can do and learn.” So, utilize that desire to learn and expand your knowledge. Whether it’s volunteering to learn something new or meeting someone and just talking with them, you can learn a lot over a cup of coffee.
For instance, take mental notes of their experiences, learn from what they share with you, and bounce ideas off one another. By exchanging ideas, you may not only expand your knowledge base but also be able to incorporate a new idea.
Top 3 Skills Dan Suggests are Necessary for Marketing
To wrap it up, below are 3 skills that Dan believes are necessary to have while working in the marketing field.
- Analytical Skills – Analytics are used daily in marketing and each marketing professional should have a basic understanding of it.
- A Desire to Learn – Technology, social media, and marketing specific tools are constantly innovating and changing. Thus the importance to have a willingness to volunteer and a desire to learn new things as a marketer.
- Big Picture Thinking – Knowing where you fit in and how things work are essential to accomplishing your goals. Think outside of the box and be creative.
One of the most important things that I took away from my time with Dan is how important his family is to him. He discussed how he loves watching his children grow and learn, and how ultimately you need a balance between work and home. His suggestion is to be really productive at work but have a set time to cut off, go home, and recharge. I think that’s good advice.
It was an awesome opportunity meeting with Dan London, and now you can too on Tuesday, July 26! Dan has been a speaker at multiple events such as the Business Journal Social Media Madness Launch Event, Meet the New Media, 2011 Kenan-Flagler Business Symposium, Triangle Entrepreneurship Week, SEO MeetUp, Internet Summit, Google AdWords Client Forum, and now our very own, Triangle Marketing Club. So, you are not going to want to miss a chance to meet Dan and listen to him present on Start up Marketing – from Day 1 to Acquisition.