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Me in Merkle - Emil Hopewell Mason

Me In Merkle is a series of interviews that showcase the incredible individuals who make Merkle a unique and diverse place to work. This week we chatted to Emil Hopewell Mason, paid search manager, at Merkle. 

1. Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I grew up in South London and started working for Merkle in London about 5 years ago. After spending 2020 locked down in a tiny London flat, I really fancied a change, so I have just moved up to Edinburgh, as there is a Merkle office up here. The move was really easy and I am absolutely loving the change of scene.

2. What drew you to your current career?

I didn’t know what career I wanted to do while I was at uni. After I realised accountancy wasn’t something I would enjoy, I found out about PPC and thought it looked far more interesting.

3. Why Merkle?

My older brother actually joined Merkle 9 years ago and while I was looking for jobs he would always talk about it. From what he said, it sounded like an incredible place to work, with tonnes of really smart friendly people, lots of socials and a fast changing world of online advertising. As you can tell by the fact I’ve stayed here for 5 years, it’s definitely lived up to that!

4. Tell us a bit more about your day-to-day

My day-to-day generally involves balancing my client work, with training and development projects. The two client teams I work on are Tesco and Canon, two big household names. My Tesco work involves generating awareness for online grocery deliveries, in areas where Tesco has delivery slots available. For Canon, we have been testing new ad formats to generate awareness among relevant audiences e.g. promoting a newly launched camera model to people who are interested in photography. I balance these client projects, with my work training and developing new joiners. As I found that I most enjoyed training other people, I have been able to steadily increase the amount of time I dedicate to running these training sessions.

5. What do you enjoy most about Paid Search? And what do you think future developments will be?

I love how varied Paid Search is. Within our department, there are opportunities to work will a huge selection of well known clients. As you do this, you may find that a specific area of Paid Search appeals to you most. For example, maybe you’ll enjoy developing top level strategies, maybe you’ll want to learn coding, maybe you’ll really enjoy training other people (like me). As you go through your career at Merkle there are plenty of opportunities to specialise into the areas you enjoy the most. Regardless of which direction you go in, the future of Paid search definitely involves a great deal of automation, with powerful algorithms increasingly being relied upon to achieve client goals. We will need to constantly adapt to this changing landscape and test new opportunities to achieve client growth.

6. What would your advice be to somebody considering a career in Paid Search?

Make sure to do some research into PPC before applying for an interview. Even though we will be training you in Academy, we really want to see that you are interested in this topic and are proactively learning about it.

7. What is your greatest accomplishment?

Merkle runs internal awards to recognise the different achievements of our client teams. Due to a massive increase in demand for grocery deliveries due to COVID, we had to work closely with Tesco, to ensure we maintained a great customer experience. We recently presented to the whole agency, talking about the approach we took and have won the “Best Customer Experience” award for our work. It feels so great to have your work publicly recognised like this. (The prize of a £50 amazon voucher and some Google merch isn't too bad either!)

8. Tell us a bit about your journey so far with Merkle.

My role has changed massively over the last 5 years. Over this time, training has been a central part of my experience at Merkle. I started in “Academy”, where everyone gets a 3 months intensive training to introduce you to Paid Search. Then when I was more experienced I went through the management training program, preparing me to be a manager. Now my role focuses more on training and developing other people. As a manager, I help my team members develop a career at Merkle that they’ll really enjoy. I also work closely with Academy, running many of the training sessions. So if you do decide to join Merkle, I may end up running a training session for you sometime soon!

9. What inspires you about Merkle’s workplace culture?

Merkle’s workplace culture has developed organically. The people who lead the company have generally started at the bottom of the company and worked their way up. The people who are my fellow managers, went through Academy with me 5 years ago. This provides a really clear path, from a new joiner, learning the basics of PPC, to leading projects for big clients, managing teams, or specialising in technical areas, depending on what you enjoy most.

10. What was your dream job growing up?

Growing up, I really wanted to be a tree surgeon. Climbing up trees with a chainsaw, what’s not to love!

11. Are you involved in any of our DEI Pillars? If so, which one and can you tell us a bit about it?

I am not, but I have really appreciated the 2 volunteering days everyone can take off in addition to their holiday days. This makes it way easier to invest time in a charity or cause you are passionate about. Each year I volunteer for a small charity that focuses on showing inner city children nature and building an inclusive community.

12. How do you like your eggs?

Poached, on smashed avocado, because I’m super basic.

13. What are you currently watching on Netflix/Prime?

I’m re- watching Rick and Morty. I really enjoy it’s sci-fi concepts, bizarre characters and beautiful animations. Although, I appreciate it’s definitely a marmite show.

14. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Crisp sandwiches. It just adds such an incredible crunch to every sandwich, as well as a an extra level of flavour.

15. What is your dream holiday destination?

India. I went backpacking across India for 3 weeks in December 2019 but feel like I just scratched the surface. It’s such a beautiful, vibrant country, with such incredible food. I can’t wait to go back!

16. Best advice or mantra you live by?

“There’s no such thing as a stupid question”. For those of you who disagree, I’ll concede, that if you asked me if I think the Egyptian pyramids were actually built by dolphins, I would consider that a stupid question. If however, I was running a training session and explained a concept in a way that didn’t make sense to you, it would never be stupid to ask a question to improve your understanding.