About PPC Ian: Corporate Online Marketing Executive

Oct. 26

Ian Lopuch (PPC Ian)Dear PPC Ian Visitor,

Allow me to introduce myself: I’m Ian Lopuch, also known as PPC Ian, the go to guy in corporate Silicon Valley when it comes to pay per click (PPC), search engine marketing (SEM), and online marketing. When it comes to online marketing as a career path, I’m the industry’s greatest proponent. My goal: Impart my complete knowledge on you. My greatest sense of accomplishment comes from mentoring others and I sincerely hope to boost your personal career in PPC and online marketing with my no-nonsense tips and strategies. Beyond tactical Internet marketing tips, my goal is to detail the online marketing game and how to win it.

In this article, I’ll discuss my unique story, why I decided to launch PPC Ian, and how PPC Ian differs from other blogs in the space. I’ll start off by highlighting some of my recent mentions in the press. Then, I’ll continue with my video introduction, followed by my story in written format. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, I truly appreciate it!

PPC Ian In The Press

PPC Ian In The Press

As a blogger, I feel that it’s absolutely critical I build up my reputation and trust with you before you read even one post my my blog. After all, there are so many experts out there. What sets me aside as someone you should be listening to? Well, you can definitely see my qualifications on my SEM Consulting page and also my LinkedIn Profile. However, I’ll let other leaders in the online marketing space do the talking! Following are a few of my favorite moments in the press:

In addition to these press mentions, I have been invited to speak at Stanford Graduate School of Business twice. You can see videos of My 2010 Stanford GSB Presentation and My 2011 Stanford GSB Presentation.

As an online marketing guy, you can definitely see that I’ve also got quite a bit of passion for PR as well. Now, I’m excited to transition into my introductory video and personal story!

Video: Who Is PPC Ian?



Big thanks to my amazing and beautiful wife, Nicole, for shooting, editing, and producing this video! Interested in learning more about PPC Ian? Below, I discuss my corporate pay per click experience in written form (with some very exciting details).

PPC Ian: An Overachiever For Life

I’ve always been an overachiever. In my early days, I was Valedictorian of The Buckley School, one of the most prestigious and competitive high schools in Los Angeles. I thrived at this highly competitive high school and left a lasting legacy. As a natural progression, I attended Stanford University and flourished in their Computer Science program, while also acting as co-president of The Charles R. Blyth Fund, one of the most prestigious student-managed investment funds in the country. In June, 2004 I graduated Stanford University with my BS in Computer Science and minor in Economics. Computer Science was awesomely challenging and I really enjoyed it, but left Stanford feeling a bit burnt out from the all nighters and lack of communication with humans. I knew at that point that I wanted to leverage my analytical and algorithmic skills from Computer Science while acting more on the business side of things.

My Beautiful Wife, Nicole, Gave Me The Luck I Needed

PPC Ian and Nicole

Right around this time, I also met my beautiful and amazing wife, Nicole. She was a freshman at UC Santa Cruz so I definitely wanted to stay in the Bay Area to be with Nicole. I actually had the opportunity at this point to work for my Dad at his real estate business in Los Angeles. While I’m still considering working there one day, I’m really glad I stuck it out in the Bay Area. For anyone new in their career, I cannot say enough about learning to stand on your own two feet by taking the more difficult path (if you take only one lesson from this site, please challenge yourself with the difficult path). The satisfaction and growth I experienced in my first few years out of school on my own are truly invaluable. Moreover, I just couldn’t imagine life without Nicole. In fact, had I not met Nicole I most likely would have moved back to LA – Nicole has always brought me the best of luck! By staying in the Bay Area and pursuing my career in pay per click search engine marketing, I have grown to heights I could have never imagined.

Transitioning From Stanford Computer Science To Corporate SEM

So I graduated Stanford and needed a job, but I definitely didn’t want to program. There were a few routes I explored: investment banking, management consulting, and the “business analyst” side of technology. I very quickly ruled out the first two, I just didn’t like the vibe that I got from the people and the industry in general. When I was starting to get desperate, I found a small company called NexTag at the Stanford Career fair, almost by chance. After briefly talking to the recruiter at the career fair, I immediately knew that company was my destiny. It was the ideal combination of the business analyst role with technology and operations. For the next two years and seven months, I learned pay per click, people management, process management, and product management from the best manager I have ever had to this day.

NexTag: The Foundation of My Entire Pay Per Click Career

While we’re on the topic of NexTag, I’m going to set the record straight – I’m very passionate about the following point. Without a doubt, NexTag was the best corporate experience I have ever had in my life. I got promoted several times, got an additional stock option grant, quickly managed the entire SEM team, and even reported to the Executive Vice President of Engineering at one point (only a few years out of college). In short, NexTag set the foundation for my entire career. I continue to be thankful for my experience every single day. Moreover, NexTag is the gift that keeps on giving: I’m a very proud shareholder of NexTag stock. Another side note and one of the main reasons I stress building your PPC career via the corporate route is the great opportunity to build a personal diversified portfolio of stock in private companies. I know own stock in three very successful private companies! (You may want to check out my post about how I Made It Big In Online Marketing with corporate stock options.)

Transitioning To A Higher Title At QuinStreet

So why did I leave? It was a very difficult decision. I was a Marketing Analyst and Team Lead at NexTag and got an unsolicited offer to step up to the Senior Manager role at competitor QuinStreet. (Side note: You may want to check out my post about Getting Passive Job Opportunities on LinkedIn.) My ideal opportunity came across and I just couldn’t pass it up. I became QuinStreet’s Senior Manager of financial services online marketing. I got to broaden my expertise from comparison product shopping and mortgage at NexTag to a plethora of new verticals: debt, credit cards, insurance, travel, B2B, franchise, and so much more. Moreover, I enjoyed the opportunity to learn new marketing channels (such as SEO and the long tail domain strategy), in addition to an entirely different culture. Whereas NexTag taught me all about process and automation, QuinStreet developed my sales skills. It was definitely not easy. While I got several pay raises and additional stock option grants at QuinStreet, I never made it to the coveted Director level. However, this experience did set me up for the most amazing sprint of growth yet!

Time To Move On For Added Stability

So I had been at QuinStreet for over two years and things were starting to change in the financial services landscape. As the head of financial services search marketing during the rough times starting in late 2008 and someone who recently purchased a home with my wife, it was time for me to seek added stability in an industry outside finance. Thankfully, I have just about the most robust LinkedIn profile possible and get job opportunities frequently. As things started to change, I started entertaining the offers that I previously had passed by. Very quickly, an amazing opportunity came up to lead SEM at Palo Alto startup Inflection (formerly People Search Media).

My First Startup PPC Experience: Inflection (Formerly People Search Media)

It was a welcome change. I enjoyed reporting to my 22 year old boss who started the company out of this Harvard dorm room. How amazing and inspirational is that! I leveraged my experience from NexTag and QuinStreet to build the infrastructure, technology, and process from the ground up. I enjoyed the benefits of a very flat and open organization, in addition to accumulating stock in a very exciting and fast-growing company with the strong likelihood of a liquidity event in the coming years. I was quickly promoted to the coveted Director title (one of the largest milestones in my career to date) in a company where there are very few Directors and executives. I became a recognized leader in the company and mentored the careers of many, my absolute favorite reason to get up every single morning. In addition to all this great stuff, I learned so much about launching new businesses, SEO, affiliate marketing, and so much more. Inflection.com took my online marketing skillset to the next level.

I’m Now Director of SEM At a Large Public Company

So everything is going great and then, one day, my world gets turned upside down! I get the amazing opportunity to step up as Director of Online Marketing at a large publicly traded company. Now, you know I just got promoted to Director at Inflection so you may be thinking, why is he so excited about moving to a different company? It was a terribly difficult decision, but an offer came alone that was just too amazing to pass up! This move marks a healthy step up in my career and reputation in the space. The fact that I’ve gone from Marking Associate to Director of Search Marketing at a publicly traded company within five years of graduating Stanford is amazing! Moreover, I get the amazing opportunity to report to this company’s CMO, a world-famous marketer and leader in the space. I finally get the opportunity to work at a company that’s strong not only in online marketing, but also all the traditional marketing channels as well. (Want to learn more about my current company? Please check out my LinkedIn.)

I Want To Help You Build Your Corporate Search Engine Marketing Career

I’m definitely proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. However, that’s not the purpose of this site and I don’t want to give that impression. As mentioned earlier, the main reason I get up every single morning is mentoring and helping others. My largest successes have been the promotion of my direct reports. I have former direct reports who are now Senior Managers and even Directors themselves, at very large and successful companies. That is just about the best feeling in the world! However, I quickly learned it’s not scalable. My goal is to help as many people as possible and I can only manage and mentor so many reports in my normal job. Consequently, I decided to launch PPC Ian to deploy all of my knowledge about online marketing, both the tactical stuff but also the career side of things. There are many affiliate blogs on the Internet that offer tips and tricks. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel and will only offer tactical stuff that I feel is missing from the current supply of knowledge out there. However, there is very little information for those who want to go the corporate online marketing route and climb the ladder rapidly. This is the core focus of my site.

I’m a strong proponent of the corporate route. It’s been good to me. The corporate route took me from Associate at a private company to Director at a publicly traded company in only five years. The corporate route has helped me build an extensive network of people I truly respect and enjoy. The corporate route has helped my wife and I enjoy the finer things in life. The corporate route has brought joy and passion to my life, in addition to a strong sense of accomplishment. It’s my time to give back. I want to help you take the corporate route and build your name in online marketing. I’ll show you the nuts and bolts but also the broad stuff. I’ll show you how to become the next big name in the industry and get the calls and emails every day from recruiters. Thank you so much for visiting my site, it truly means a lot to me. All the best to you in your online marketing career!

Sincerely,
Ian Lopuch, PPC Ian

Avatar of PPC Ian © PPCIan.com (An IJL Productions LLC Website)
Image of Ian and Nicole © PPCIan.com (An IJL Productions LLC Website)
Video "Who Is PPC Ian?" ("About PPC Ian") © PPCIan.com (An IJL Productions LLC Website)
Image with logos of In The Press © Their Respective Owners

38 Comments

  1. Kinjal says:

    Hi,
    I found your blog (I am glad I did) yesterday when searching for ppc job interview questions and read some very useful posts. I was a web developer in a small company and doing affiliate marketing (mainly PPC) in my spare. But then in Oct 2009, my company gone bust and I started doing affiliate marketing for full time thinking that I would also achieve the same success as other big affiliates. But things are not working as I was expecting and if you know about CPA affiliate marketing then it’s bit shady and my soul doesn’t want to bepart of it. So I decided to get back in the corporate world and start searching a job as ppc marketer. I am in this space for about 18 months, had some successful campaigns but everything mainly done in my spare time and I am not sure if a company looking for ppc marketer would like this or not. But I have decided to go for it, try my best and climb the corporate ladder. I am sure your blog would help me a lot (added it to my rss feed). Thanks for the help!

    Kinjal

  2. Ian says:

    Kinjal,
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for the comment! It’s really great to hear about your career path from web developer to affiliate marketer to corporate PPC marketer. Given my computer science background and passion for affiliate marketing (for testing new strategies), I can totally relate to your career path. I wish you the absolute best and please don’t hesitate to reach out if I can help you in any way. Thanks again!
    All the best,
    Ian

  3. Great post Ian. Of course, I have a strong bias for fellow Stanford alums! I like your specialization – it’s great to be very good at one thing. You write very well and I can see your enthusiasm – keep up the writing and good luck with everything.

  4. Ian says:

    Shankar,
    Thanks so much for the kind words! I truly appreciate it. I’m looking forward to checking out your blog, it looks quite interesting. It’s always great to meet a fellow Stanford alum, let’s stay in touch!
    All the best,
    Ian

  5. All I can say is WOW…….Congratulations…..Wishing you more success.

  6. Ian says:

    Infopediaonlinehere,
    Thanks so much for the comment and for visiting my blog. Wishing you all the success as well!
    Best,
    Ian

  7. Pat says:

    I love your blog! Know you from Volk’s interview. Thank you for sharing your experience in corporate SEM.

    Regarding your mention of MBA, is it now a required degree in corporate culture? I don’t know what I’m going to major (at Stanford). I love CS, but would it hinder my business opportunity like pursuing an MBA? I am also excited by business (mostly entrepreneurs) and also economics.

  8. Ian says:

    Pat,
    Thanks so much for the question and for visiting PPC Ian! I really appreciate it. You bring up a super question. In my opinion, an MBA is not required to excel in the corporate pay per click world. I have risen to the Director level at a leading public company in only five short years without an MBA, something I’m quite proud of.

    My take on the MBA: It’s potentially a great option if you’re able to do it while working, but if you’re going to take two years off I would probably recommend against it at this point for someone in the PPC world. Right now, the PPC industry is at its strongest growth trajectory. Put another way: The career opportunities at this point are once in a lifetime and won’t be here forever. In my case, I just can’t rationalize taking two years off to get my MBA because I feel like I’d miss that window of opportunity. At the same time, please don’t get me wrong, it’s my full intent to get an MBA in the future. This is a very valuable degree and can only help one’s judgment in the world of corporate people management and strategy. It’s just a matter of timing!

    In terms of your undergraduate degree, it all comes down to your passion! I actually started out in economics because I love stocks. I didn’t really like it so I decided to minor in economics while majoring in computer science, my true passion. By following my passion, I was able to excel well beyond my expectations. In terms of bringing it back to PPC, I have seen people from many different educational backgrounds succeed. Some of the top disciplines that can really help with PPC: engineering, computer science, economics, business, physics, mathematics, and accounting. Basically, anything that involves numbers and analysis. These days, many businesses are focused on the Internet. For that reason, you can totally go the techie route (CS), get a job in PPC, and still go back for your MBA later in my opinion. I personally feel like this is an amazing story to tell on one’s MBA application. Also, as a Stanford student, you really can’t go wrong with any major at such an excellent school. :-)

    Thanks again for the question and please don’t hesitate to reach out if I can be of assistance in your online marketing career!
    All the best,
    Ian

  9. Pat says:

    Thank you for your quick reply Ian! It really helps me decide a lot.

    I’m reading your blog posts to find out more about PPC and, since I’m more into Facebook ads and other traffic source, why it’s a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. Hopefully I’ll launch PPC campaigns again.

  10. Hey Ian! Can’t remember where I saw this or if I am making it up but did you say you live in San Francisco?

    Thanks,
    Jonathan Volk

  11. Ian says:

    Hey Jonathan,
    You are not making it up! :-) My wife and I actually live on the San Francisco Peninsula. The company I work for has offices in SF and Mountain View so I’m splitting my weeks between SF and MV (typically in SF 3 days/week and MV 2 days/week). I believe you’re in this area, right? We should certainly catch up one of these days! Thanks for visiting my blog!
    All the best,
    Ian

  12. Ian, it sounds like you have a ton of experience, and reading all of this about you really makes me want to go back and read everything you’ve written so far. I’ve struggled a bit with making money from PPC (mainly with CPA offers), so I’m hoping I’ll find some helpful tips on your site. I don’t doubt that I will. Keep up the good work.

  13. Ian says:

    Eric,
    Thank you so much! I truly appreciate your visiting my blog and the kind words. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I really hope I can help in your quest to learn about PPC. I’m also very much looking forward to checking out your blog.
    All the best,
    Ian

  14. Annie says:

    Hi Ian,

    Not sure if you remember me, but I worked with you and your team when I was in the search department at Microsoft! Funny to run into your site – glad to see you are pursuing great things. Keep up the blogging, I’ve enjoyed the few posts I’ve skimmed thus far.

    Best,
    Annie Katrina Lee

  15. Ian says:

    Annie,
    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for the comment! I definitely remember working with you. I’m looking forward to reading your blog as well, it looks awesome. Thanks again!
    All the best,
    Ian

  16. Harshad says:

    You look like this guy in lot of your pics – http://www.google.com/images?q=vidhu+vinod+chopra… Any connection back in India :P

  17. Ian says:

    Harshad,
    Thanks for the comment! I No connection back in India, but definitely a good person to look like, seems like Vidhu Vinod Chopra is quite the successful director and producer.
    All the best,
    Ian

  18. Navya says:

    I am so glad to view this post! All your experiences are really lessons to us and I am so inspired by reading this. Your transition from a student to the Director is really a great inspiration to every one of us!

  19. Ian says:

    Navya,
    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for the kind words! I truly appreciate it. :-)
    All the best,
    Ian

  20. Darren says:

    Ian,
    I have been learning all that I can about SEM for over a year now and am a HUGH believer in how it can help any business grow rapidly no matter the size of the business. I recently started a SEM business (on the side from my day job) LinkCaffeine in Dec 2010 /Jan 2011 – I look forward to reading all about how you have become successful and I plan to help as many businesses as I can succeed over the internet.

    Thanks for the encouraging video and information!

    PS – Nice ad on facebook that’s how I found out about you. I know you’d appreciate to know how everyone stumbled upon your Blog.

    Continued Success,
    Darren

  21. Ian says:

    Darren,
    Thanks so much for the comment! :-) I truly appreciate it. Also, big thank you for letting me know you found me via Facebook. I have been investing significantly more effort in my Facebook advertising lately and it’s great to see it paying off. I just checked out your site, great work. Thanks again!
    All the best,
    Ian

  22. Darren says:

    Thanks Ian!
    If you have any suggestions on my site please let me know :-D – Yep great facebook ad I know the CPC isn’t the cheapest on there but I definitely get the vibe of passion. Great stuff on the site too thank you for all the valuable information from the e-books!

    PS – Everyone reads a PS
    PPS – Connect with me on LinkedIn ;-)
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/linkcaffeine

    Thanks again,
    Darren

  23. Ian says:

    Darren,
    Thanks once again! I truly appreciate the positive feedback. Let’s definitely connect on LinkedIn! :-)
    All the best,
    Ian

  24. jeffrey says:

    Hi Ian,

    I came across you at john chow’s blog. Your story is really quite inspiring and you’re indeed an overachiever. You sound like a humble man and your writing is excellence.

    Other than ppc, do you excel in other type of marketing? seo …

  25. Ian says:

    Jeffrey,
    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for the kind words! :-) I truly appreciate it. I’m glad all my blog commentating over at John Chow is paying off. While my roots are PPC and that’s my core area of expertise, I also consider myself an expert in SEO, social media, display advertising, blogging, email, and other channels within the world of online marketing. I’m definitely always learning and can’t get enough of Internet marketing. Lately, I’ve enjoyed blogging about some of these topics other than PPC, even though the name of my site is PPC Ian. Thanks again!
    All the best,
    Ian

  26. Kate Kutny says:

    Ian, I really liked watching your video. Your wife did a beautiful job making it. I love the wedding photo of the both of you, its really pretty :) Congrats on your success with everything!!

  27. Ian says:

    Kate,
    Thanks so much for the kind words! :-) I truly appreciate it! Thanks again and great work on your blog as well, it’s awesome!
    All the best,
    Ian

  28. Mars Davis says:

    Ian,
    Thanks for sharing your story! Its inspiring. I look forward to reading your blog and learning more about PPC. Cheers, Mars

  29. Ian says:

    Thanks so much Mars,
    I very much appreciate the comment and kind words! Thank you for reading, I sincerely appreciate it.
    All the best,
    Ian

  30. Nice meeting you here, Ian. I have Computer Engineering background and doing software for living in Bay Area. Recently, I am just interested in learning various SEM, SEO, and Online Marketing as a hobby and personal interest. Great to see you working on SEM in this capability full-time. It’s a new trend and great career.

  31. Ian says:

    Hi Kent,
    it is quite nice to meet you as well. Thank you for the kind words and for reading PPC Ian. I couldn’t agree more about SEM as a career. Such a new and exciting field. Thanks for all the comments!
    All the best,
    Ian

  32. Sid says:

    Hi Ian,
    It’s been pleasure working with you in QuinStreet. Although, I was not directly reporting to you but, we shared a healthy work relationship. You’re one of the finest mentors anyone can ask for and I had the pleassure to have you early in my career. I look forward to working with you in future.
    Cheers,
    Sid

  33. Ian says:

    Sid,
    Thanks so much for the kind words, I cannot thank you enough. :-) It was a true pleasure working with you at QuinStreet. You too are a true online marketing professional and an asset to any team. Definitely hope we get the chance to work together soon.
    All the best,
    Ian

  34. Vanya24 says:

    Hi Ian! I started my first entry-level PPC job a few months ago (in-house at e-commerce company) and what drew me towards it was the combination of different aspects: analytical, commercial and creative, a bit like you said.
    I was also a “valedictorian” at my school (in my country we have a different name) and attended an elite university, but the typical prestigious career paths looked dull to me. I really enjoy PPC, though due to my educational background in international relations I wonder whether after 5-6 years I might be able to switch to non-corporate level (government, diplomacy, etc.). Probably depends on each different country… but do you have any insights?
    Vanya

  35. Larry says:

    Hi Ian.. Really I impressed man.. All the best and congrats too.

  36. James says:

    You are a very genius person Ian.. Here after you are my role model in my life..)

  37. Phil Segal says:

    Hi Ian,

    Interest story – mine is very similar. I actually worked at Shopzilla, so Nextag was our arch nemesis :). I also moved on for a substantial salary increase from an unsolicited Linkedin recruiter contact (I receive 2-3 of those a week since working at Shopzilla). I’m now successfully consultanting and working remotely with a healthy book of business. It’s the life!

    Phil

  38. PPC Ian says:

    Phil,
    Thank you so much for the comment, it is truly great to meet you. :-) I’m a huge Shopzilla fan, you guys were truly great competitors. Way to go building your consulting business, this certainly is an amazing career and life!
    All the best,
    Ian

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