My Story

I am grateful to my parents for sending me to a private college in Cape Town. I gained hands-on knowledge that was unparalleled at the time while studying at the AAA School of Advertising. The college was run by people who worked in the advertising industry.

It made landing my first job at a company called United Advertising Network (UAN) a lot easier. After three years at UAN, I thought it would be fun to get into the digital space. So I moved to a company that was called ForwardSlash at the time. I started doing digital media planning and buying for several casino groups.

The opportunity to run various advertising campaigns allowed me to learn specialized skills in analytics, reporting, consumer behaviour and the consumer experience was too good to pass up on. I then went back to the AAA School of Advertising to complete a secondary certificate in media management.

During that time, I was working with a wonderful man named Andrew Beckman as his client. He gave me the opportunity to move from Cape Town to Denver, Colorado, where I knew one person. Being the crazy risk-taker that I am, I sold my house, my car and everything other than my suitcase.

While leaving my family behind was not easy, it was the best thing I had ever done in my entire life. I started working at Andrew’s small company called Location3 Media. I began my journey there in media planning and buying and then the search and social media side of things. I also started working with developers in India to build an automated bid management system.

Working with algorithms and technology allowed me to see if we could streamline the process of search engine marketing, particularly the day-to-day bids. I helped create a system that would adjust the bids based on the portfolio goal and the goals of the individual keyword levels.

Soon, web analytics became a big thing. I went back to study at the University of British Columbia to get a two-year certification in web analytics. It was fun watching and understanding how people navigate around a website. I encoded cues on the site to learn how to move different audiences across the sites through different paths.

While working with franchises and pay-click programs at Location3 Media, we helped our clients enjoy lots of success. FastSigns was one of our clients that became a massive leader thanks to the franchise program we implemented to ensure advertising was consistent across all their chains in the United States.

It was not long before my career got to a stage where I was not doing the things I loved doing due to rapid growth in the company. I was unable to build keywords, ad copy and multivariate AB testing campaigns. I grew with the company and spent most of my time on conference calls, in meetings or leading training.

I loved being on the ground and expanding my knowledge constantly. I liked to get my hands dirty. That was when I decided to build my own company, Pico Digital Marketing. I wanted to cover paid media and web analytics because I could do those things with my eyes closed. Luckily, my company kept growing. I have been in business for over 8 years. We work with other advertising agencies and large brands like Boeing, Avalon Waterways, Conga and Alteryx.

One of the biggest things I have found over the last 25 years in the search field is how companies are being ripped off. Their search agencies start off strong, and then they slowly dissolve. I have seen so much over the course of this time that I feel it is my responsibility to use my skills and experience to move the needle in companies out there.

I know I can help them bridge silos and make sure the investments they make in advertising are valuable. I believe we are able to cohesively look at the entire marketing objective by breaking down the silos, so we do not have a situation where the creative team is working by themselves, the sales team is working separately and the media team are working on their own. That does not work.

I also firmly believe in the power of digital innovation. In 2019, I sold everything I had in the United States and moved to Irvine Scotland. That leap of faith was based entirely on my trust in the digital landscape and the research I did online. The first time I saw my house was when I picked up the keys. We knew nobody in Scotland.

That is the level of passion and trust I have in the digital landscape. I feel a lot of people lean away from it. They do not embrace what they can do in the digital space. I hope my life and career story across England, South Africa, the United States and Scotland serve as living proof that the opportunities are truly endless for those who approach the digital space strategically.

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