Interview With Marketing Professional: Ethan Dobson

This past summer I’ve interned with a team of amazing marketing individuals at Offerpop. I’m pleased to say that I got the chance to meet and work with someone that I’ve learned a lot from. I’m really happy to be able to share with you some of what he’s taught me. Here is his biography:

Ethan Dobson is a Digital Marketing professional with ten years of experience leading cross channel marketing programs focused on driving acquisitions and growing brands in the digital  space.  He is currently the Director of Online Marketing at Offerpop, a next-generation social media marketing platform for Facebook and Twitter that provides campaign tools and
applications that help marketers run smart, white-label programs designed fit the way their
customers use social media.

Over the past decade, Ethan has held various Digital Marketing roles at companies such as
Offerpop, Manhattan Mini Storage, Standard & Poor’s, Pitney Bowes, and Avatar Internet
Solutions. His experience has given him the opportunity to lead Digital initiatives for Fortune 500
and startup companies alike. Educated in Upstate New York at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Ethan holds a B.S. in Management and an M.S. in Information Technology. He has also taught a class called “Strategic Search Engine Marketing Campaign & Execution” in the Marketing division of Stern NYU Business School.

Alexandria Chong: Describe the position you have now.
Ethan Dobson: I run digital marketing for Offerpop. Specifically, I oversee our acquisition programs, channels, optimization, and business/web analytics.  I’m also responsible for Offerpop’s web presence from a lead gen and acquisition standpoint.

A.C.: What drove you to enter your field? Why digital and online marketing?
E.D.: I got involved at a young age in web design and development, right out of college. I was never really great at development stuff or particularly interested in it so I got more involved in the business aspect. In the late 90’s I discovered digital and Internet promotion as it was back then and search engine optimization and yeah, I just liked it.

A.C.: What are you most experienced in?
E.D.: I’m most experienced in digital strategy, the overall bringing programs together. I’m experienced in tying together different channels and programs to create more wholistic digital marketing plans.

A.C.: What is the importance of new media and their approaches for business and consumers? E.D.: The importance is that of course social is much more important for brand engagement and acquisition now. A point to make is that social has not only become a legitimate channel for generating revenue but also serves as a foundation for almost everything else. It touches other channels where before it didn’t. Social is really the key to developing complete acquisition or brand focused programs.

A.C.: Do you follow a specific methodology to online marketing?
E.D.: Return on ad spend. You should consider, pursue, or implement any strategy as long as it works from a return on ad spend standpoint.  Of course we are all restrained by budget realities, but ideally you have the ability to allocate budget to whatever programs work, so long as the return is there. The conversation should not be about the size of the media buy, but rather about the return.  And of course, test, test, test. Everything is tested and re-tested and tested again. Then it is tested and analyzed and tested again.

A.C.: What is your favorite measurement of ROI?
E.D.: Return on ad spend. It is more than just click stream metrics or even conversion rates.  Clicks, page views, impressions, and conversions are all great, but what does that mean for your business; what’s the cost per acquisition and what are those targets? What impact are those clicks having on the business from a revenue standpoint?

A.C.: Where do you see the future of marketing? digital marketing?
E.D.: I see the future of marketing based around user generated content and not necessarily social as it pertains now to facebook or running sponsored stories on facebook but rather understanding really how to integrate social marketing, brand messages and campaign focus and communications into organic conversations happening across the web in the digital space.  It’s not just about putting out an ad and driving clicks; it’s about really engaging consumers in a meaningful way.

A.C.: Where do you envision yourself in five years and what are you looking forward to? E.D.: I envision myself further evolving marketing programs at Offerpop and really contributing to the growth of our business.  At a high level, I want the brand to be positioned as a market leader and have a crazy valuation. I am looking forward to Offerpop being the go to product for digital marketers who want to engage their customers on Facebook and Twitter.
A.C.: What advice do you h  ave for graduating marketing majors ?
E.D.: Get technical and get as technical as you can. It’s not enough to graduate with a marketing degree and think that’s enough. Every component of digital marketing has a technical component and you have to understand how it all works.  Whether you are working with developers or handling implementation yourself, you need to be able to confidently talk about and understand the technology that drives digital. That’s actually the biggest weakness that we see in job candidates, which is why I teach it at NYU; I want to help graduating digital marketers understand how all of this stuff really works.

A.C.: Anything you wanted to add?
E.D.: I think digital marketing is a great field and career choice. It’s constantly evolving and provides almost endless opportunities for those who are passionate and dedicated to being successful. If you think you are interested in digital, get involved, do an internship, give it a shot.  I think you will be glad that you did.


You can read more about Ethan at www.ethandobson.com

By: Alexandria Chong
@ach0ng

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