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February 19-20, 2020
San Jose Convention Center

That's a wrap! Join us at our next SMX event.

That's a wrap! Join us at our next SMX event.

Walmart, Amazon, & Future Forward Tactics: SMX Sneak Peek With Elizabeth Marsten

“This is a rare opportunity not to be missed. And I don’t mean that in a ‘buy my stuff!’ way.”

Digital commerce marketing is one of the hottest topics in search — that’s why the Search Engine Land experts have programmed two full days of in-depth, expert-led training devoted to this very topic. It’s all happening in just three weeks at Search Marketing Expo, February 19-20 in San Jose. If you sell or promote goods on third-party platforms, you can’t afford to miss this event.

This week, we’ve been bringing you exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with some of the digital commerce experts coming to SMX. Today’s guest is Elizabeth Marsten, Senior Director of Strategic Marketplace Services at Tinuiti — Elizabeth is speaking on two sessions and delivering a full-day, post-conference workshop all about Amazon Advertising. Keep reading for a closer look at her professional journey, e-commerce interests for 2020, and details about what you’ll learn from her later this month.


Lauren Donovan: Greetings, Elizabeth! Glad to have you here. Tell the folks at home a bit about yourself… where you’re based, what you do, how long you’ve been doing it…

Elizabeth Marsten
Elizabeth Marsten

Elizabeth Marsten: I am based in Seattle, WA as a remote employee for Tinuiti (based out of the San Diego office). I’ve been at Tinuiti for less than a year, but in digital for 13 years! I’m the senior director, strategic marketplace services which means I get to work on a lot of new stuff (emerging eCommerce platforms) and with our enterprise teams and clients on their marketplace strategy and how we execute on what’s next.

LD: Very cool. Now, when and how did you get specifically into the e-commerce side of things?

EM: Back in 2010 when I was at Portent, Google started this experiment called product listing ads. They were based off the product feeds eComm sites would send in to Google Base for “free” visibility in the Product Search tab of Google SERPs and the lesser used now comparison shopping engines. I thought, “This seems like it’s going to be a thing. Like… not an SEO thing.” Seriously, that’s how it started.

So I started researching, figuring out feeds to Google, what we should do, how to do it, and I ended up finding this agency called CPC Strategy that had started a service around Google Shopping. I interviewed the CEO, Rick Backus, for the Portent blog – to learn more about what paid search people should know about product listing ads.

After that, I went to CommerceHub, and into the area of a recently acquired company of Mercent. I ended up working on product feeds/catalog management, retailers, and brands — so going even deeper into eCommerce… beyond Google and Microsoft, into marketplaces and comparison shopping. The agency I work for now, Tinuiti, acquired CPC Strategy in 2018, hired me in 2019 and the division of the company I am in now is the legacy CPC Strategy group.

I guess the short answer is FULL CIRCLE!

LD: Seriously! What an adventure. Looking to the future, what’s the big digital commerce trend, channel, or tactic you’re watching for in 2020?

EM: Retailer advertising – I’m working with multiple companies on their unique offerings. There’s a lot of first party data out there, a hunger to use it… and the closing door on cookies makes an owned and operated network that much more valuable.

LD: Good to know. I know you’ll be joining us at SMX West in just a few weeks. Can you give us a sneak peek at your upcoming sessions? Future-Forward Tactics For Digital Commerce is one… and you’re delivering a shorter Insights session, Get Up to Speed On Walmart’s Advertising Offerings.

EM: Future Forward Tactics is a roundtable discussion which should have tons of “nerding” out on all thing eCommerce, present and future. I’m expecting to address the recent announcement of Microsoft PromoteIQ and what that means, Walmart’s advertising options, retailer advertising options, who’s good, who’s got a way to go and the need and desire to diversify business drivers outside of Amazon, Google and Facebook. And of course, how you prove anything is working. I’m really looking forward to it!

For the Insights session – that is all Walmart. I’ll go into what their offerings are, how they work, what we’re seeing and how you should or should not get onboard. I recently launched the Walmart Advertising offering at Tinuiti, so having worked directly on the program for the last 6-7 months, I’ve got a few experiences to share.

LD: Very cool. You’re also leading a full-day workshop on Friday, February 21, devoted to Amazon Ads. Tell us a bit more about that — who should come, what they’ll learn, why you think it’s worth attending.

EM: So, this is a rare opportunity not to be missed. And I don’t mean that in a “buy my stuff!” way. Here’s why you shouldn’t miss it: It’s the first SMX Amazon workshop. That means that myself and co-presenter Nancy McLaughlin have to build all the content from scratch — it’s the newest version that can ever be. And we’re type A preppers… which means there’s going to be more than we need. AND because it’s a first and we’re figuring out what works, you’re getting our best stuff and the years of experience behind it.

Both of us came from very different backgrounds in eCommerce… ask us a question (anything) and we’ll either have seen it/done it or know someone who has. We have an incredible team behind us to ensure every attendee walks away with something they didn’t know before.

We’re also starting not at the beginning – this workshop will assume some Amazon Ads knowledge and while we have the intro content available (told you, over preparing) we plan on getting to content that isn’t covered often, including what we’re seeing across our network – over $400m in annual ad spend on Amazon alone.

LD: That. Sounds. Awesome. And as a fellow type A prepper here, let me just say — well done. Alright – we’re in the home-stretch now. Time for the must-know details: Favorite food, vacation destination, and animal — GO!

EM: Spaghetti, Hawaii, sea otter.

LD: Sea otter! That’s a good one. And last but certainly not least, tell us a fun fact about you we might not know…

EM: I have a 6th degree blackbelt in kendo, a Japanese martial art. My Twitter handle, @ebkendo, is what my dad calls me – “EB” + kendo. Been my screen name since 1995 (AOL instant messenger times!).

LD: Don’t mess with @ebkendo! Elizabeth, thank you so much for your time today. Your sessions and workshop sound awesome and I look forward to catching them later this month! 


Like this interview? Here are some more Q&As with digital commerce experts coming to San Jose:

SMX West kicks off in three short weeks, but there’s still time to secure your seat. Friendly reminder: Digital commerce marketing is just one of the topics you can train on February 19-20 — you’ll also get the tactic-rich SEO and SEM/PPC sessions SMX is known for. Don’t miss out! We’ll see you soon 🙂

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