SeatGeek is a search engine that helps you find the best deals on tickets for concerts, theatre, and sporting events. They look high and low through dozens of ticket sellers, such as Stubhub, ebay, TicketsNow, and many more.
Chad Burgess (@chadburgess) does Marketing at SeatGeek with a focus on search. Chad is a Georgetown University graduate with a degree in Finance and International Business. Before joining SeatGeek, Chad worked in Product Management at Vistaprint where he launched DIY tools to help local “Mom and Pop” businesses get found in Google. You can see chad writing on the SeatGeek Blog where he focuses primarily on Justin Bieber .
How did you get started in the industry? How can someone who is interested in your work get started?
I entered the tech industry via a personal connection with the two co-founders of SeatGeek Jack Groetzinger and Russ D’Souza. They both graduated from Dartmouth with one of my high school friends so I was able to use that relationship to get them to seriously consider my application. Personal connections help in all industries but that’s normally just enough to get you an interview and then you need to have merit.
My first year at SeatGeek I ran all the marketing channels, but also did site analytics, blogging, copywriting and even office management stuff like getting birthday cakes.
To get into a tech company specifically, and as a non-technical person, it is important to have a variety of skills and to be the type of person that is willing and capable of doing any random project that comes up. My first year at SeatGeek I ran all the marketing channels, but also did site analytics, blogging, copywriting and even office management stuff like getting birthday cakes. Specific to SeatGeek, it helped a lot that I had a proven analytical background from past experience in I-Banking combined with site optimization and web analytics experience from my time on the Product team at Vistaprint.
Tech is the overarching industry, but really my industry is marketing. Although I do many forms of marketing I align myself most closely with the SEO (search engine optimization)game. I had never done SEO before SeatGeek so I have gone through the process of breaking into the industry myself. SEO is in many ways an easy field to get up to an above-average level at quickly because – due to the self-promoting nature of many of the people in it – there is an abundance of online learning materials in which to piggyback on. The following are a good set of materials to get a baseline knowledge:
- SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday videos
- The Art of SEO
- SEO Warrior
Note: I am not a SEOmoz fanboy, their learning materials are just really helpful. But do be aware that the SEOmoz content is user-generated content (UGC) submitted by people that might not necessarily know more than you so read with a critical eye. Beyond those sources, reading SEO patents and some of the original academic papers from Larry Page and Sergey Brin helps to get a sense of the theory and history of the industry. But reading can only get you so far, it’s like anything else in the sense that you just have to be passionate about it, continually learn and most importantly learn by actual doing SEO and not just writing about doing SEO.
What’s the future of your industry or job?
Fortunately, there are plenty of people in my industry that have written about this topic and spend way more time than me on SEO theory and industry predictions. Quickly though, I do agree with SEO being increasingly influenced by social factors and also converging more with other roles like content marketing, PR, UI, etc. I also think that the ability for search engines to tie content back to authors will to continue to grow as a signal of trust in search algorithms.
Rumor has it in the SEO world that SEO R&B star Tom Critchlow is cooking up an “epic” post on this topic. So keep an eye out for that over on the Distilled Blog.
What do you look for when you hire an intern or entry-level candidate?
Smart people that are clearly excited about working for SeatGeek and convey a strong work ethic. I also put a lot of weight on personality and how they will fit in with the company. I rarely look for specific skills or experiences, especially at the intern level. Also people that actually do work.
What is one thing an intern can do to make a favorable impression?
Ask questions and show a clear interest in learning. Take initiative on a project based on what they have learned during the earlier stages of their internship.
Can you share a positive intern story and an intern horror story? No names needed…
The best intern we have had was not coincidentally the one that asked the most questions. As they learned though, they didn’t just take what I said at face value but actually challenged some of my assumptions in ways that made us both smarter on the topic after the discussion. If your manager is not receptive to answering your questions, you are interning at the wrong place.
The worst internship experience was with someone that turned out to not write so well. Considering the internship was 50% content writing, this was an issue. Fortunately we found other projects to get them involved in.
There are many aspects to the marketing industry, one of the being search engine optimization. If you’re interested in the SEO game, check out these internships involving SEO or leave a question for Chad below.