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Q&A with 'Understanding Google' Workshop Presenter

Frederic Kalinke

Frederic Kalinke is a valued partner of the UpScale programme at Birkbeck College. He is Managing Director of Digital Animal and also runs Convertd, a digital marketing school, in his spare time. His workshop: ‘Understanding Google – A Practical Workshop on Digital Marketing’, equips students with the knowledge to fully exploit Google’s products as well as other digital marketing strategies. It provides students with valuable insights from the former Googler and is popularly attended and reviewed by Birkbeck students. The workshops are generously provided by Frederic for free, so we asked him his motivations for his involvement in UpScale and Birkbeck College.

What is your background?

I started out on Google's graduate program, where I managed multimillion pound advertising budgets across AdWords, Display and Video for a number of clients from different industries. I also got a taste for product innovation by obtaining a patent for a new application that transforms YouTube into an audiovisual What’s On guide. The most enjoyable thing I did, however, was to develop my own methodology to teach Google’s myriad of solutions to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

What are you working on now?

I am MD of an advocacy marketing agency called Digital Animal. We’ve built a platform called Amigo that enables brands to deliver campaigns that transform customers into marketing assets. We believe that the digital revolution is not about the always-on connection brands have with their customers and prospects, but the connection between customers. Marketing’s goal should be to encourage and facilitate the conversations that happen when brands are not in room. Amigo delivers personalised experiences to a brand’s best customers and their friends, mirroring the experience a valued customers gets offline in their local shop. I also run Convertd where I teach digital marketing to advertising agencies, management consultancies and law firms.

How and why did you come up with the Understanding Google workshop?

We are living through a period of unprecedented transformation. The internet has ripped apart and redefined several industries within a short space of time. In order to stay on top, I believe people need to understand the principles driving online business, particularly how one acquires and retains customers in a digital age. Early in my workshop I say that understanding how Google works is as important to a business as having a bank account. It’s elementary to survival.

The workshop itself is the product of thousands of discussions with businesses. The mechanics of Google - SEO, AdWords, Display, YouTube, Analytics - and digital marketing in general is a complex subject with many interdependent parts. There are three building blocks in my teaching. First I dedicate enough time on setting the context through a number of icebreaker and thought experiment exercises. We review the digital opportunity, explain the difference between traditional and online advertising and explore the importance of data-driven decision making. Secondly, I make the workshop as practical as possible. There is a lot of audience participation and I make sure to display a cumulative glossary so that the audience can see the concepts they are learning and can put them into a context. This is because I am a big believer in the proverb that “if you tell somebody to do something they will forget, if you show somebody something they will remember, but if you involve somebody they will understand.” Thirdly I use metaphors to teach as they make the unfamiliar familiar and the new memorable. For instance, I use empire building, fishing, football and restaurants as a way to make key digital marketing concepts come alive. 

What do you think students gain from attending your workshop?

Attendees will leave the workshop understanding the power of digital advertising as well as practical insights into Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), AdWords, Display, Social Media advertising, Youtube and Google Analytics. Overall I teach over 35 concepts and run a practical exercise within a 2.5 hour workshop so it’s pretty intensive. I also hope attendees leave inspired and empowered, appreciating the power that their newfound knowledge provides them, given that all industries have and will continue to be disrupted by the internet.

What are your motivations for participating in UpScale and partnering with Birkbeck College?

I am a big believer in the power of education and the idea that life is a path with no set destination. Birkbeck as an institution embodies this philosophy by offering courses for people to reskill and zig-zag. I get a lot of energy from teaching people from all backgrounds, ages and walks of life who are investing in their careers. The Upscale program is of particular interest as it focuses on technology and emphases women in tech, ethnic diversity and people with disabilities, all of which are very positive things.

What’s next for you?

My objective is to make Amigo, our technology platform, a global standard. I’ll be happy if marketing teams from around the world use Amigo to deliver highly effective and magical marketing experiences to their customers. I also want to continue running Convertd workshops across London as there’s nothing better than seeing people empowered to make the most out of the digital revolution that continues to spark and spread around us.

Testimonials from students attendees

‘Really good at appealing to people who came in knowing nothing to those who already had a basic knowledge. Moved at a fast pace and kept everybody involved.’

‘The resources the Presenter included in the workbook provided for one to do more studying’

‘Powerful insight around the behind the scenes and little known "secrets" of Google and Google Analytics. For example the How the Quality Score can reduce the cost of AdWords. Huge thanks to the Upscale Programme and Team. ‘

‘A complex subject was communicated in a clear and understandable way with an engaging and interesting presentational style.’

‘The presenter was able to deliver a digestible presentation and there were a few 'eureka' moments’

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