This week's Coffee Qs guest is Jeff Duggan who has spent the past five months as growth marketer at marketing automation platform for airlines Yieldr in Amsterdam.
To kick things off, Jeff, could you describe your role for us in one sentence?
Jeff Duggan: I'm like a masseuse, I need to know all the right touch points.
How did you get into performance marketing?
JD: It’s hard to say exactly. Both my father and my sister are in marketing; maybe it’s something in my blood? At a very early age I understood that advertising was meant to be persuasive so I learned not to be a passive watcher. I remember watching television ads or looking at billboards and consciously trying to think really hard (as hard as a 10-year-old can think) about how these people were trying to trick me! You could say my introduction to marketing and advertising was initially met with a strong dose of scepticism.
As I grew older and started to read more about consumer culture and brand affinity, my scepticism turned into fascination. I majored in media studies at university and did internships at ad agencies during the summer. I would say my first taste of performance marketing was during those agency internships. From that agency experience, I landed at Corus Entertainment working as a marketing project manager for Disney. This is where I really sunk my teeth into all aspects of performance marketing.
What excites you the most about this industry?
JD: I like how every day you are trying to solve a puzzle. You try to learn more and more about what makes your consumers tick and opportunities to speak to them. You don’t stick to a standard playbook, you must adapt to what you learn.
I currently work as a growth marketer in Amsterdam at a scale-up called Yieldr. We are a tech company with a niche product that helps airlines with underperforming flight find interested travellers. Every campaign has to be laser-targeted in order to hit this particular niche. Coming up with unique and creative ways to talk to this market and have the systems in place to measure the results excites me. Try, learn, iterate, repeat.
Do you have a professional role model?
JD: I would say my grandfather. He was an entrepreneur and became successful doing things his own way with an incredible amount of drive. What I respect most about him is his drive to become successful came from a desire to look after his family. He wanted the best for his wife and kids and worked hard every day to do just that. That’s a role model to me, someone who is not driven by ego, but rather works hard so they can make a difference to others.
Do you have any industry “tips” for 2018?
JD: I think being “data-driven” is almost ubiquitous across the industry and is becoming a cliche term. Yes, you are data-driven, but what else? What do you do with that data? How effectively can you turn that data into something useful? It’s easy to drown in all the data. It’s super important to come up for air sometimes and use that right side of the brain that is also so important in marketing. Finding out users behavior or keeping track of every metric possible in your campaigns doesn’t mean anything if you can’t do something creative and new with that data.
I also believe it is super important to try something totally different than what you have traditionally done when it comes to marketing strategies and campaigns. I think some marketers get stuck when they find success in a certain channel, and keep iterating on it. Your campaigns (and your job) can get uninspiring if you are only iterating on what you have done in the past. Every once in a while try something totally different than what is in your marketing “comfort zone”. See what happens! It might fall flat, or you might discover a completely new effective channel that works for your users.
If you could meet one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
JD: This is tough but I would say Kurt Vonnegut. I find he always has the perfect way of putting things and gives incredibly simple (but powerful) advice. I’d love to have a chat with him about one or two things. If you haven’t read If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? I would highly recommend it.