Get To Know Gartner: Meet Zachary Rippstein

Zach-PicName: Zachary Rippstein

Job Title: Senior Director of Advertising, Gartner Digital Markets (GDM)

University: University of Texas at Austin — BBA and EMBA

Office Location: Austin, TX

Describe your team in 25 words or less: We are performance marketing experts and professionals who constantly push ourselves to meet and exceed aggressive goals by leveraging all paid channels and industry-leading techniques.

How long have you worked at Gartner? I started at Software Advice (one of the Gartner Digital Markets businesses) in 2010 and have worked for Gartner since Software Advice was acquired in 2014. I currently head up the digital advertising and partner programs across the GDM businesses.

What makes Gartner a great place to work? Gartner is a growth business that understands the importance of their people in driving their continued success. We believe in hiring A players and giving them the training, tools and autonomy they need to be successful. I find myself consistently impressed and encouraged by the Gartner culture, professional development and growth opportunities. I couldn’t ask for a better place to work.

Describe yourself in 3 words: Analytical, diligent, and strategic.

Share a fun fact about yourself: I’m a coffee enthusiast. I have a professional espresso machine at my house and am always on the search for great coffee shops. A big lifetime goal is to open up my own coffee shop. I’m a big sports enthusiast and constantly follow football and basketball. I try to get to a few San Antonio Spurs basketball games each year. I probably join too many fantasy football leagues each year … sometimes I even win them!

Describe your best employee. What unique qualities does he/she possess that makes them stand out? There are many qualities that help employees stand out on the team, but there are three things that they do to make a difference:

  1. Identify opportunities— can analyze internal and external data or trends to identify new opportunities — big or small — that can help our team and business grow.
  2. Solve problems— able to assess a situation, brainstorm potential solutions, outline a course of action and then execute to deliver a solution that gets the desired result.
  3. Be consistent and dependable— consistently perform at a high level and follow through on commitments, which is vital on a growing team with a large number of active projects.

When interviewing a candidate, what are 3 things you look for? It depends on the role, but we’re more interested in the things that can’t be taught or trained. Candidates certainly need to be a fit for the role and have the right experience, but what really sets people apart in our hiring process are these 3 key areas:

  1. Grit/work ethic — figuring things out is a core value on our team. We are constantly pushing for new ideas, processes, systems, solutions and channels. These challenges and opportunities require people with the drive needed to find the solution.
  2. Attention to detail — performance marketing is highly analytical and process-driven, so the devil is often in the details. We need people who embrace and get excited about things like data analytics, attribution, A/B testing and process improvements.
  3. Passion/drive — our team is deeply passionate about digital advertising, and we expect a similar enthusiasm from our candidates as well. I’m very interested in how people see our roles and business playing into their own career and long-term goals within the industry and beyond.

Share a success story about your team: There are many small successes, but I’d prefer to focus on the overall success we’ve had as a team over the past year. We centralized performance marketing on our team across the GDM businesses, doubled the size of our team, added key skills and expertise, exceeded our profit goals, added flex schedules for the team to improve our culture, outlined detailed career growth plans for the team, promoted key team members, made hires that strengthen our team and offer new skill sets, and discussed growth opportunities for everyone on the team. I’m extremely excited and proud of the team we’ve put together and look forward to adding more exceptional talent, tools and techniques to the team in 2017.

Describe your management style: Our goal is to hire the right people, provide them with the training and tools they need to be successful and then empower them with the autonomy needed to make a difference. If we get that right, then the management focus is on providing the necessary resources and removing obstacles to help maximize performance. We try to be hands-off as much as possible while being available and hands-on when it’s necessary to ensure success.

What role does your team play in Gartner’s success? We lead all performance marketing efforts including SEM, paid social, retargeting, display, partner programs and other key channels. This drives a sizeable amount of the revenue and profit funds needed to move the Gartner Digital Markets businesses forward. When we’re successful, the company is successful, and we take a lot of pride in that.Team-Pic-Dinner

What are 3 of the most important responsibilities/tasks of your team? We have three core pillars that the marketing and advertising teams use to drive our decision making and prioritize key projects:

  1. Accelerate growth— ensure we meet and exceed our revenue and profit goals.
  2. Build the brand — leverage our channels to drive increased awareness or ensure that our messaging is in sync with our branding efforts in other marketing channels.
  3. Invest for the future — continue to develop the necessary reports, tools, systems and strategies needed to drive long-term goals and initiatives.

What are 3 main functions or job duties of your employees?

  • Campaign management — leverage our processes and best practices to properly analyze and optimize campaigns to hit our numbers. Expectations and ownership increase as employees learn our business and set themselves apart with exceptional performance and work ethic.
  • Specialty or channel leadership — over time, more senior employees will be asked to provide suggestions around strategy, problem solving and opportunity identification within a specific specialty (i.e., ad copy testing, landing page testing, mobile strategy) or channel (paid search, paid social, retargeting, etc.).
  • Project and people management — our manager-level positions are asked to take full ownership of a channel or team. That includes strategy, budgeting, forecasting, goal-setting, task management and more.

What advice do you have for members of your team, or someone considering joining your team? It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks involved with the job or role on the team. I encourage everyone on our team or who’s looking to join our team to think beyond the existing role and to take ownership of their career and passions. The skills and experience gained on our team should be leveraged to grow into new positions on our team, at Gartner or elsewhere.

The Gartner Digital Markets businesses are growing and we have audacious goals for the future. That presents great opportunities that everyone on the team should be excited and motivated by for their future. Think about what that means to you personally and have an open dialogue about the big picture of your career within the larger industry, instead of just the job at our company.

Why would a prospective candidate want to join your team? Our team is positioned extremely well to offer quality candidates with an unmatched opportunity to learn new skills and experience that will advance their career and provide exposure to top in-house marketing and advertising systems, tools and processes. There are opportunities to work on projects within our team, across departments and at the Gartner corporate level.

If you are motivated, hard-working and looking to make a dramatic impact on the company’s bottom line with opportunities for upward growth, then this is the place for you. We need your help and would love to talk to you!

If you could describe your team dynamic in one word, what would it be? Collaborative

Favorite Quote or Personal Mantra: I’m a big believer in incremental improvement. We are always looking for the “big wins” but those can be few and far between. We instead put our focus on opportunities to consistently improve, whether that’s with better processes, running A/B testing, developing new skills on the team, investing in our culture, or integrating new systems and tools. Not everything will work, but if we’re successful in the majority of what we test, then we’ll continue to deliver great performance across our efforts as individuals, a centralized team and a growing business.


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