After graduating with a degree in Mathematics, I ended up crunching numbers in the corporate world in 1990. (I won’t say which company – given what I’m about to write about them – but let’s just say it was a “large Edinburgh financial institution.”)
My break in marketing didn’t happen until 1994 when, after falling out with my boss, I was banished to the marketing department as a punishment.
What I found there didn’t impress me. It all seemed like bullshit: ads were nothing other than weak puns, and no-one really knew if those ads worked or not.
So I jumped ship and worked in investment for a few years.
While working in investment, I came across the work of Jay Abraham. Finally, I’d found marketing that actually made sense. From Jay, I learned about measuring response, testing ads, unique selling points, reason why advertising.
This captured my imagination and, on a trip to New York in 1998, I took the opportunity to buy the classic books on direct marketing – by Hopkins, Ogilvy, Caples. (There was no Amazon back in those days.)
Finally, after leaving investment and living in France for a year, I came back to the UK and started using what I’d learned about marketing to help small businesses.
That often meant re-writing ads, flyers, sales letters and web pages.
In 2006, I was introduced to Google Adwords – which is just a delivery mechanism for direct marketing – and have been managing Adwords accounts for businesses ever since.
Over that period, I’ve been able to test many thousands of Adwords ads – which is, in itself, an education in both what ad text makes people click, and a lesson on what ad copy makes potential buyers click.
I’ve also written a lot of landing pages for these clients – where possible, testing against the client’s existing page.