My Career(s) at RV features people who have experienced SEISMIC career shifts, turned their “side-interests” into full-time jobs, or made gigantic leaps to follow their passions. All right here at Red Ventures.
Director, Paid Media: Jack Witty
Jack Witty is the Director of Paid Media at The Points Guy, one of RV’s proprietary brands.
In just three years at Red Ventures, Jack has worked in two different RV offices – from Charlotte to NYC – in twice as many different roles. (Way-too-early prediction: he won’t stop here.)
Q: Hi Jack! You work at our TPG office… which is short for…
A: The Points Guy – we’re a media content site (owned by RV) that helps readers maximize travel rewards. Specifically, we’re focused on helping people rack up credit card rewards points and use them to travel the world for free.
Q: That’s great – but you haven’t always been a New Yorker. How’d you wind up here?
A: Exactly right, it was 2015, and RV was recruiting from my alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) Back then, I had my mind set on a career in finance or consulting. But as soon as I found out about Red Ventures, I was hooked. Full disclosure: I didn’t have a great sense of what exactly Red Ventures did – but there was this sense of camaraderie and teamwork that really shone through. I knew that exciting problems were being solved, even though I didn’t quite know what those problems were…
Q: Bet you found out pretty quickly, huh?
A: That’s right. I joined RV as a Marketing Associate on the “Disrupt” team, right as it was getting started. For those who don’t speak Red Ventures, “Disrupt” is the name for the small team of RVers tasked with solving problems for some of our newer partners. Since we were so small, everyone (including me) wound up wearing a lot of hats, which I loved.
Q: Let’s hear about those hats.
A: By title, I was a “Paid Search Associate.” But in reality, I maybe spent 25% of my time working on paid search. The rest was divided up between data analytics, data infrastructure, event tracking, customer experience – and, most importantly, figuring out how all those things worked together. Looking at everything from this perspective gave me a solid understanding of RV’s different cross-functional areas.
Q: Wow! Around here, even job titles are written in pencil… What did you do with this newfound knowledge?
A: In 2017, Red Ventures partnered with a travel startup, so I moved over to help that team get off the ground (pun intended). It was like the Disrupt team on steroids – a really scrappy “start-up” environment with an equally lean team. This was fun for me because we got to run marketing across the digital spectrum. We were a true extension of the partner and could help in determining where we should push – whether it was paid search, paid social, display… everything was on the table.
Q: At this point, you’re still pretty new to RV… not to mention the professional world at large. How’d you deal with so many big responsibilities?
A: It was really exciting to be asking some of those bigger, broader strategic questions. And it helped that my team was so supportive. There were more experienced people all around me, but we were all in it together. The real push was putting myself out there and meeting with experts across the company. Once you build those relationships, you can learn a ton and begin to establish yourself – maybe not as an expert, but as someone who knows enough to be dangerous.
Q: So you’re armed (with a network of colleagues) and dangerous(ly cheesy). Take us to the next big step in your career.
A: Next stop… our Health vertical.
Q: What was so great about this move?
A: Historically, I’d been focused on the marketing piece front and center, with infrastructure being a part of the background. But I joined the Health team in an Operations capacity – so that had to change. I was essentially the bridge between the technology team building a new tool, and the marketing team that was gearing up to promote it. So, I spent a lot of time working with our engineers to understand its underlying infrastructure. I’m definitely not an engineer by any stretch of the imagination, but this put me in a unique position to communicate with both teams and make sure we were all working toward the same vision.
Q: Talk about a well-rounded skill set!
A: Yep! But I didn’t stop there. As we wrapped up that project, I moved to New York for a new challenge: to lead paid marketing efforts for TPG. There are two main objectives here. First, it’s about bringing new faces into the TPG ecosystem (think: readers, social followers, email-sign ups, etc.). And second, it’s about helping people find and apply for the right travel credit card.
Q: Very cool. What’s it like to work at the TPG office? I hear they have puppies…
A: So many puppies. But that’s not even the best part! Although I’m not at HQ anymore, the cultural tenets are very much the same. Everyone at TPG is hungry and ambitious. It’s been great to bring the best of both companies together. TPG has always been a really strong content creator (whether that’s written, video, or social content) and that’s enabled them to build a huge audience. RV brings a complementary data analytics/performance marketing piece, which is basically rocket fuel for digital growth.
Q: A perfect match! Would you agree that so far your RV career has been nothing but constant change? If so, how do you feel about that?
A: I love the change – the ability to move around within functions, within businesses, within industries – all as a means to broaden my exposure and deepen my knowledge base. Do we have time for a quick personal-but-relevant anecdote?
A: If you couldn’t tell from my dry sense of humour (or my accent), I’m originally from England. I decided to come to the U.S. for University because I didn’t want to be boxed in. In England you apply for a specific course at a specific university (say, Economics at Exeter University) instead of just the school. I always thought that being so specific was limiting. I prioritize breadth of knowledge as much as possible.
Q: That certainly makes sense. In a world where literally anything can change at any time, what’s the one thing that’s stayed constant during your time at RV?
A: Here’s something that my very first manager taught me: Your first 30 days at Red Ventures should feel like any other day at Red Ventures. The projects you’re working on and the things you’re learning will change, of course. But at the end of the day, that “drinking-from-a-firehose” pace of learning should stay the same.
Q: What advice would YOU give someone who’s currently drinking out of that firehose?
A: View change as a good thing. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need a new perspective. The great thing about RV is that you can fire off a message to someone you’ve never met and you’ll never get a “no.” Everyone is so willing to collaborate and help. You never feel like you’re alone.
Q: And last but certainly not least: What’s your favorite thing about being a part of the Red Ventures team?
A: It’s the breadth and level of exposure that you get here. I love the idea of being able to move around geographically within the company and the business itself. It gives you a lot of ownership. And that empowers you to keep driving things forward.
Q: Cheerio! Full speed ahead! Thanks, Jack.
Warning: more seismic career shifts ahead. See how Laine Plummer went from writing copy for billboards to leading the digital content & creative teams on our newest vertical. (But not before crunching numbers as a full-fledged marketing analyst – all right here at RV.)