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 Sam Ben-David, marketing feeds lead, at Merkle.
1. Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in Ilford (East London) and now live in Loughton (Essex) which is only a 20 minute drive from where I grew up. I’ve lived abroad and in different parts of London, but home just feels like home.
2. What drew you to your current career?
I’ve been working in Digital Marketing for 7 years and was previously a Digital Marketing Manager before I came to Merkle. When COVID hit, I really started to think about what area I wanted to specialise in – what would the long part of my “T-shape” be. When I joined my previous company they were running the majority of their digital activity for every channel using feeds. When I went into their feed management tool and saw how it was set up I was amazed. It looked like magic seeing how everything was functioning and being automated. I’ve always been very technical and love using Excel or Google sheets to solve a problem, so feeds came naturally as they’re mainly exported in tabular (CSV) or XML formats. It all felt natural.
3. Why Merkle?
I’ve known about Merkle (and Periscopix) for a while, and how I found out about my current role wasn’t on a job site, but by regularly going straight to Merkle’s website and finding it (I’d love to see my total number of sessions in their web analytics account!). Merkle and dentsu are at the forefront of everything good happening in digital marketing and agency-services right now, so it instantly felt like a privilege to be here.
4. What do you enjoy most about Marketing Automation and what do you think future developments will be?
The possibilities really are endless. What I love is brainstorming external data sources and APIs that can be used to automate feeds and determine which products to advertise for marketing campaigns. The better that data is, the better the automation and AI will be that’s used to optimise campaigns. As we’re seeing platforms like Google doubling down on automation with campaign types like Performance Max, the underlying data fed into those campaigns needs to be good for them to run well, which is where feeds can have a really big impact.
In the future I think we’ll see more marketing platforms natively optimise towards core business goals, like sustainable growth, profitability and using 1st party data to make that happen.
5. What would your advice be to somebody considering a career in your team?
Be ready to try out new ideas. Take each day as it comes. Tackle complex tasks in pieces. Always have breakfast.
6. What is your greatest accomplishment?
Becoming a father in June last year.
7. Tell us a bit about your experience so far with Merkle.
I only joined Merkle a few months ago and it has really special so far. I’m in the Media Solutions team where we build custom solutions and automations for clients that are used to support their Paid Media campaigns. Everyone in the team is really talented, the projects we’re working on are not just functional, but ground-breaking and even award-winning. There’s also a great focus across Merkle and dentsu on wellbeing and making sure we’re taking care of ourselves and taking time out when needed.
8. What inspires you about Merkle’s workplace culture?
There’s a pure openness to learning, embracing new ideas and change, which is key in Digital Marketing as things change regularly. We have a culture where a portion of our time is ok to spend on something outside of our day-to-day job. That be can anything from learning a new skill or coding language or working on projects with other teams, whatever we like. For me – I feel like SQL and BigQuery are calling my name to learn.
9. What was your dream job growing up?
From when I was young I was really into music (Hip Hop mainly) I used to DJ regularly and thought I would end up touring the world. I don’t DJ anymore, but it’s always in my mind.
10. How do you like your eggs?
11. What are you currently watching on Netflix/Prime/Disney Plus?
I love anything fantasy or sci-fi (to watch and read). Unfortunately I’ve watched everything good I can find, so I’m just patiently waiting for the new season of The Boys to start and Obi-Wan Kenobi!
12. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Silently enjoying anything my wife is watching that I would publicly say I hate.
13. What is your dream holiday destination?
New York, and I’m going this year!
14. Best advice or mantra you live by?
Don’t overthink - nothing in your mind is ever the same as when it actually happens.