Up & Comer: Pablo de la Vega

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With a passion for digital analytics, Google’s Pablo de la Vega is using his AdWords campaign experience to help large organisations reach digital maturity as they go on to conquer the global market.

Pablo de la Vega
Pablo de la Vega, Google

What sparked your interest in the industry, and how did you get into your current position?

Google was the only company I ever wanted to work for. I chose my degrees based on my interest in the digital industry but also taking into account the historical Google hiring numbers of the universities. This is how I ended up in France and Spain studying Commerce and finished in Dublin for a Masters in Electronic Commerce.

I then relentlessly applied to a few different positions at the Google Dublin offices. After a decent number of interviews I started in my first role as a product quality analyst working on the AdWords back-end policy system.

I soon wanted to pursue a more generalist and external facing role so after 1.5 years I transferred over to being a Large Customer Account Manager for the French market. I have been in the Large Customer team for the past six years, building and executing digital partnerships with clients from different industries (Travel, Telco and Finance) and based in different countries (France, Philippines and NZ).

I was recently given the opportunity to manage my own portfolio as an Industry Manager, looking after our high growth clients with aspirations to conquer the global market.

What is your favourite project you’ve worked on to date?

Recently I have spent time helping Les Mills pivot their global business with their LES MILLS OnDemand platform, in order to reduce Covid-19 impact on their core business. Being given flexibility in digital strategy along with clear business objectives was a great way to test and learn on the go and support substantial growth in new customer acquisition.

In your time in the industry, how have you seen it develop?

The digital maturity gap between agile and more complex organisations in New Zealand seems to be widening. On one hand you have companies like Harmoney that focus on data and Machine Learning who push the limits of what is possible with digital acquisition. Whilst on the other hand, big groups are reluctant to share critical conversion signals.

What is the most challenging thing you’ve had to deal with in your role?

Prioritisation is the biggest challenge. Finding the right balance between short- and long-term opportunities, for example between helping a tourism industry partner navigate through difficult business decisions due to Covid-19 or focusing on a client launching into a new country.

What is the best piece of advice you could give others coming into the industry?

Be curious, try the tools yourself, know what you are talking about and don’t be afraid of trying. I have learned more about the industry with a side project than I did in my lectures.

When I was 20, I challenged myself to build a baby-sitting platform from scratch, by writing every single line of code and then attempted to launch it using my first AdWords campaign. That work gave me credibility both when looking for my first role and now when talking to developers.

I gave this advice to my younger brother when he was looking for his first role and he blew it out of the park by creating an AdWords campaign targeting media agency recruiters. He got two calls in the first 30 minutes, and a first job in the same week. He now works at Google New Zealand too.

How do you see your job changing in the next ten years as technology plays a role?

While digital campaign products are more and more simple to use, measuring their impact on brand awareness and consideration can be complex. I expect that a key part of my role will be helping my clients reach digital maturity to fill this gap and gain confidence in their digital investments.

What is a change that you hope to see in your industry?

I believe flexibility at work plays a key role in mental health. Many companies have proven during these last few months that working from home was not a synonym for reduced productivity, but a positive thing for many. I loved being able to work from my campervan when we reached Level Two of lockdown and found myself much more productive when I was able to fit a sunrise surf session into my workday. I would love to see more companies in New Zealand encourage this mentality.

What would be your dream project?

Working on social and environmental projects for New Zealand. Helping companies embrace their social and environmental responsibilities. I had the chance to help one of my clients expand the reach of a fund-raising initiative for UNICEF called “Workout for water”. This project fulfilled me, and I’d love to be part of initiatives like this in the future.

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