Hello Gabe, can you please tell us a bit about you?
I am a lover of strategy, from chess to online – I love the process of analysis, considering the competition and achieving positive outcomes. I come from a broadcasting background too, which brings a balanced creative perspective to the logical skillset typically used in data analysis and business strategy.
What are your focus areas and why?
I have considered myself a marketer my entire career – because I started as a marketing consultant in the real estate industry back in 2005. Which is based in a heavy offline brand building focus, also deals with building online touchpoints in the research process. I evolved quickly in the online paradigm, back then especially, because of my ability to achieve outcomes in search engine marketing.
Majority of the Fortune 500 brands I worked with, and in-house roles have valued my SEO knowledge and experience. Most of the conferences, workshops that I participate in are focused on SEO and social media topics. I would consider myself an Integrated Marketer, someone who can integrate across online channels, leverage offline to achieve desired outcomes. Due to my success with notable brands in SEO, I think I am most thought in the industry as a go-to enterprise SEO, or online strategist.
How would you describe your journey in a few words?
Honestly never thought I would have the experiences and opportunities I have been afforded to be a part of. So, my journey would start with the first word being…grateful. I stay sharp by not getting sucked into the “I am an expert” mentality or trying to be that ego – I try to remain humble while having fun too. I do that by keeping the formula that comes with any eager student, always wanting to learn more from people around me, or who I collide with.
Where do you think it’s making an impact?
My journey really started with helping realtors and real estate brokers. Realtors are essentially self-starting every day, grinding like a small business owner. Helping a new realtor get their first deal was where I got hooked. I intrinsically try to find the value of the time I am devoting to a strategy. Yeah, ok so I have helped the bottom line of multinationals, shopping sites which drove millions of dollars into their P&L spreadsheets.
I find the coolest impact is when you can help a mom and pop thrive, help jump-start or drive outcomes to a non-profits cause. Sometimes those small, undiscovered, perhaps local campaigns can be tricky in their own way when they are bootstrapping a dream and they are like “Gabe, can you help us with this dream and we have barely any resources to rock it out?”.
Yeah, fiscal impacts are great. Ultimately I find the biggest impact in leading a strategy team and building team dynamics, while coaching up a methodology and attitude that hopefully is going to help somebody’s career. Or, realizing you just helped give small business, maybe even a non-profit, hope to keep working at making the world better, in a small, perhaps unique way, because they are now discovered.
As a digital marketer, do you think Integrity is an essential part of the game?
Yes of course. Integrity is algorithmically being built into Google, Facebook etc. all the time. Trust rank is a metric referenced in Google and at one time Yahoo’s algorithms for understanding the integrity of websites. “Quality Content” is constantly discussed by SEO’s and website owners. Facebook is literally being called to Congress to discuss the impact “Fake news” had in the US elections. SO – hell yeah integrity is essential when talking about playing the strategic side of the game. Does that mean all the winners are playing the game by the rules? No.
In terms of strategy though, over the years I have seen the tactics that are questionable, or even acceptable that lack integrity – achieve temporary outcomes, that die off, leaving you holding dust instead of gold, or even an undesirable long term impact.
What advice would you give to young people just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?
Just say yes to any and every opportunity while you are learning. I learned not just by asking dumb questions to smarter people, also executing, over and over. You are going to make mistakes, that’s not always ok and it’s essential to become better than most marketers who are afraid to try because they don’t want to make a mistake. Start by helping people who you care about, or know for free, or super cheap. As you learn more, then always price your time for what it’s worth.
If I am Gabe the consultant, or Gabe the employee, I know that no matter what I am going to spend as much time necessary to achieve a positive outcome. So, it’s harsh to undervalue your time and be stuck in a jam because something didn’t execute, as planned. Or, a client really needs their handheld.
Do you find as an expert, that you enjoy the challenge of the industry being complex with the game rules are always changing?
I enjoy the challenge of a challenge. I don’t think humans ever really enjoy change, at least when we are talking about complex algorithms. C’mon everything you think you know comes into question when an update occurs, volatility strikes and you have no clear answers. When Facebook changes their targeting algorithm, or feed features, or Google doesn’t inform on what a major update is about – yeah that stuff is frustrating because we are expected to know the answers since you are considered the expert.
I do enjoy that the changes keep me gainfully employed and I have been blessed to make a really awesome career, because I do meet most of the challenges of complexities of our industry.
If you could turn the time, what would you love to change in regards to your career?
Probably apply more self-care and life balancing. At times, my work has consumed me too much because I get sucked into the game.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
I think AI and VR are groundbreaking in terms of how we consume information and self-expression. I am eager to see where we will be in 10 to 15 years. I believe we will see a new frontier of digital, it’ll be big and have a lasting impact – which is super exciting.
The last word or final thoughts?
Get on the schema-markup bandwagon, focus on speed improvements for mobile. Search Gabe Gayhart on LinkedIn or Twitter – I share a ton of stuff I’m reading on Twitter and usually respond to Linkedin emails.