EADA alumnus Marco Meier traded his professional basketball career for the exciting world of digital marketing. After graduating from EADA’S International Master in Marketing in 2007, he began an incessant search for his true passion. This led him to different countries, companies and experiences. After falling –and picking himself up, just like in basketball– several times, he finally joined Google as the Global Business Leader in 2015.
We saw you last summer at EADA’s International Masters Closing Ceremony. You mentioned that it was the first time you had given a commencement speech. What did this experience represent for you?
Giving a speech that would inspire 800 people from 60 different countries was an exciting challenge as special as my own graduation day. Growing up in relatively humble circumstances, I never dreamt of all of the endless possibilities that life offers.
How did it feel 9 years earlier, when you were listening to the commencement speech at your graduation?
The challenge for me has always been to find a job that would make me happy and pay for my meals at the same time. The important thing is to always keep your long-term goals in mind; don’t be afraid to switch careers or take risks to get closer to your long-term goals. For example, I always knew I wanted a job where I could travel and see different countries, so I kept that in mind when I looked for new opportunities.
What was your career like after graduation?
My first job was in a consulting company. After that, I took a job at a media agency with a much more relaxed company culture and a younger atmosphere. This agency (Starcom Mediavest) had just decided to open a digital marketing department in Dubai, and it was looking for new people. Actually, a classmate from EADA recommended that I apply, as he worked in the same company at the time. Dubai is excellent for networking and taking on responsibility faster than you would in most markets – plus, you don’t pay income tax.
At the EADA Closing Ceremony you said, “If you follow your passion, you will know that failure is not a destination”. What did you mean?
I meant that if you do fail at something –and we all do– it is really important to learn from that failure, and even more important to keep trying. To quote one of the most successful athletes of all time, Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”.
You also mentioned Steve Jobs’s quote, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”. Do you think this is a realistic goal in today’s complicated economic climate?
I agree that it is a complicated goal to achieve. I was raised in humble circumstances by a single mom who usually worked 2-3 jobs to put food on the table. She made such an incredible sacrifice to provide a life with so many opportunities for me, and I’m forever grateful for that. My mom certainly did not think about Steve Job’s quote when she woke up every morning at 5 am.
Why did you chose EADA for your Master in Marketing?
There are two things that really stood out for me about EADA. Firstly, EADA really emphasises diversity. In my class, we had around 25 people from 15 different countries. Working with people from many different backgrounds really adds value to the work that you produce and you learn so much in the process. Secondly, the learning experience at EADA is as close as it gets to the real business world.
After graduating from EADA, you had the opportunity to pursue a career at Google. Tell us about your career there.
Google generates most of its revenue from advertising sales. My first three years at the company, I mostly focused on advertising across Google and YouTube products. Two years ago, I joined our global team, which works with the largest brands –and their agencies– to accelerate the transition to marketing in a digital world. In my current role as a Global Business Leader, I am focused on more long-term projects. Today, brands are built through multiple, connected consumer experiences that take place across many different channels. This has created a move towards providing a more holistic approach that includes both marketing and consulting
In your speech, you said that Google was changing the world through its technology. In what sense?
Google’s mission has always been to organise the world’s information, making it universally accessible and useful. Google makes information and knowledge available to everyone. It is bringing the Internet to remote areas across the globe. YouTube is also working hard to democratise access to information and knowledge. Whether you are a superstar like Justin Bieber (who was discovered on YouTube) or a female blogger who courageously promotes equal rights in Saudi Arabia, there are endless examples. These are the things that get me out of bed every morning, excited to work for this incredible company.
What can you tell us about the recent controversy over Google’s privacy policies?
Almost all of our products are free for our users, and we support those products with advertising. In the recent years, we have done a much better job of being more transparent and giving more control of privacy to users. In fact, we have a whole website dedicated to this topic: https://privacy.google.com. You can completely control the data you share and the ads that are shown to you based on your preferences. I would encourage you to check it out for yourself.
How do you think technology will advance in the coming years?
Nowadays, technology often gets in the way of social interaction. We are all on our smartphones way too often instead of having real conversations. Ideally, technology will advance to a stage where it will help us have more time to spend on the most important things in life: our friends and families. I’m guilty of that myself. My hope is that technology will have a positive impact on our daily lives.
You have already achieved a lot. What’s left?
I really enjoy working in marketing, and I love living in New York City. For now, I don’t have any changes planned. I have lived in ten different cities in four countries in the last 16 years, so you never know what your personal and professional future may bring.
Which aspect of Marketing do you find most interesting?
Author and marketer Seth Godin put it perfectly when he said, “Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go”.