Editor's Note: "Meet a Media Planner" is our ongoing series of Q&As where we find out what's on the minds of media planners at agencies across the country. Today we're chatting with Vanessa Cooper, a senior manager of client services who handles search marketing campaign planning for IMPAQT, A Merkle Company, in Pittsburgh, Pa. Vanessa has 12 years of experience in the online space, six of them at IMPAQT. Her client management experience there has spanned industries ranging from automotive to healthcare to streaming media to retail—her favorite industry during the holiday season.
Yahoo! Ad Blog: When you look at the clients you've dealt with at IMPAQT, do they share any common concerns or challenges?
Vanessa Cooper: They do. Some of the big things are understanding how paid search impacts offline conversions or in-store traffic and sales, and how it can affect other cross-channel marketing efforts. The answers to both challenges are deeply rooted in data. When you have access to the right types of data, and you can compare it all with your paid search analytics, the trends and things you can discover are amazing. YAB: Speaking of trends, are there any trends or new technologies out there that you think will help your clients?
VC: My biggest advice to clients right now would be: If you're not aggressively seeking the mobile and tablet searcher, you should be. That's where we're seeing the biggest growth. When I look at where we were a year ago with mobile and tablet numbers, and compare that to where we are now, we're seeing double-digit improvements. It's not often to see such a huge jump. It gets me excited to think about where we'll be next year!
YAB: What do you consider the most challenging part of your job?
VC: I come to work and what I thought I was going to do is completely out the window—I have to switch gears and do something else because of the data from the day or week before. I love being part of something so dynamic, but it means I have to stay on my toes and stay on top of what's going on in the industry, in addition to what's going on with my clients.
YAB: And what's the most satisfying part of your job?
VC: I love my clients. I love getting to know them and their brands. At IMPAQT, we really feel we're an extension of our clients' brands. We work side-by-side with them, so we're really invested in their performance and results. When we have a client win, I feel I'm helping them succeed, and that's very rewarding to me.
YAB: Do you have a favorite search campaign?
VC: I have a favorite time of year for search---the holidays! It's busy for me because I work for a large retailer, but it's my favorite. Budgets are bigger. We can try video ads or different ad formats, and see different ways that an ad will be formatted within the search engine. Trying to understand more about what will make a searcher click during that time is a lot of fun. Plus, you get to write fun ad copy—which is always great.
YAB: What are the misconceptions people have about what you do?
VC: Most people think of search as just being "I do a search for 'computer' and see a bunch of things pop up and I click," but it's way more complex. There's so much that goes into what you see after you submit a search query. It's amazing how complex the back-end system is.
YAB: Search planning can be stressful. What do you do to de-stress from the job?
VC: I had my second baby about two years ago and realized my "me time" was shrinking, so I created something here called IMPAQT Yoga. Once a week we take over one of the conference rooms and do yoga. It's been phenomenal for me in terms of dealing with stress and just having a really nice break in the day.
YAB: What sets IMPAQT apart from other agencies?
VC: Every day when I come to work, I feel like I'm surrounded by brilliant people who are also completely approachable and helpful and sincere and love what they do. I think that's the secret of our success.