4 Super Smart Rising Stars In PPC Marketing To Read & Follow

Many of us are familiar with the big names in SEM, but columnist Larry Kim has called out four relative newcomers that you should be keeping an eye on: Luke Alley, Erin Sagin, Maddie Cary and Keri Boerner.

Chat with SearchBot
Photo by Tim Ash

Photo by Tim Ash

Last week, I spent three solid days camped out in the PPC marketing and mobile tracks at SMX West 2015. Believe it or not, I don’t just run away to sunny California to escape the brutal Boston weather (although that’s an awesome perk, let me tell you).

No, I go to learn — from the experienced heavyweights in the industry, like Danny Sullivan and Marty Weintraub and Greg Sterling, who were all predictably fantastic. And from the many, many super talented and experienced digital marketers in attendance, outside the session halls, during shared meals and at networking events.

Even more than this, though, I love seeking out newcomers and first-time speakers to see who is up and coming in the PPC marketing industry. There are a lot of us you hear from quite a bit – we’re blogging, speaking, writing columns, making presentations, hosting webinars, etc.

However, these newer voices are often also the closest to the accounts being managed and are on the front lines. They’re usually the first to come up with new ideas, because they’re constantly trying to find more efficient and effective ways to do their jobs.

Plus, a lack of speaking experience usually just means they haven’t had the opportunity to do it yet; it says nothing about the quality of their session. My own first SMX session was just two years ago, when I took part in a PPC best practices debate moderated by Matt Van Wagner. (Thanks for taking a chance on me, Matt!)

I wanted to share with you four of these rising stars of PPC marketing that I saw at SMX West 2015. To my knowledge, it’s the first time each of these people has spoken at SMX (apologies if I’m mistaken!) and as fairly recent college graduates, they appear relatively new to the industry, as well.

That makes the quality and depth of their sessions even more impressive. Check it out – four rising SEM/PPC stars (in no particular order) to keep an eye on:

Luke Alley – Director Of PPC At Avalaunch Media

Luke is a great guy whose experience belies his age. This is why it’s a mistake to judge a book by its cover –he looks young (and he is relatively young, having graduated university in 2009), but he’s been working in and studying digital marketing since 2003.


He now has an alphabet soup of credentials (including past president of the American Marketing Society’s chapter at his university, AdWords CP, Microsoft AAP, recently hosted #PPCChat and more) and is super sharp, to boot. His presentation on measurement and optimization beyond cost per lead was top shelf. Check out his presentation below and follow Luke on Twitter.


Erin Sagin – Customer Success Manager At WordStream Inc.

Of course, SMX wasn’t the first time I was introduced to Erin — I’m proud to have her on our team at WordStream! This was Erin’s first time speaking at SMX and she shared her presentation, “3 Killer Mobile Hacks to 3x Your ROI,” during the Converting the Mobile SEM Visitor session, moderated by Greg Sterling.


Erin’s team consults for thousands of PPC accounts, so she has an admirable depth and breadth of real-world PPC experience. She walked SMX attendees through 3 of the major problems killing mobile search ROI and how to fix them. Erin was also a panelist in the Bing Ads #JanesofDigital event, which covered issues pertaining to women in our industry and how to fix them. Check out her presentation below and follow Erin on Twitter.


Maddie Cary – Senior Client Manager At Point It

Maddie is an impressive practitioner who manages over $12 million in media spend annually. She also runs Point It’s PPC Training Program, and you can tell she’s a teacher at heart in the way she breaks things down into actionable steps for marketers.


In the Fun (And Profit!) with Dynamic Ads session, Maddie provided a nice overview of the trend towards dynamic ads and five different types of dynamic ads you should get to know. Her presentation was packed full of industry information but also highlighted how to set up and optimize each type of ad.

Check out her presentation below and follow Maddie on Twitter.


Keri Boerner – Regional Paid Search Lead & Account Leader At iProspect

Keri shared three interesting strategies for optimizing Google PLAs for her part in the ‘Optimizing Google PLAs and Shopping Campaigns’ session moderated by Ginny Marvin. Three strategic areas of focus give you priorities for your review: feed optimizations, custom labels and bidding with competitive metrics.


Keri did a great job of laying out important steps marketers could leave the session and take immediately to make meaningful optimizations on their PLAs campaigns. Check out her presentation here and follow Keri on Twitter.


More SMX West Takeaways

Here are some more great takeaways from an amazing week of geeking out, digital marketer style, in San Jose:

Keep an eye out for the rising stars above – I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of them in the near future!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Larry Kim
Larry Kim is founder and CTO of WordStream, provider of the AdWords Grader and 20 Minute PPC Work Week.

Get the must-read newsletter for search marketers.