Meet Terry Rice, Digital Marketing Instructor at General Assembly New York
Helping Brands Build Winning Campaigns
Terry Rice is a Digital Marketing instructor at General Assembly’s New York campus with a decade of experience in the field. Terry has been a search engine marketing consultant at Adobe, where he worked with clients including Amazon, Best Buy, and FedEx. As a client solutions manager at Facebook, he helped companies like Warby Parker, Bonobos, and Barkbox with their paid marketing campaigns. Read Terry's article, “A Beginner’s Guide to Performance Marketing”.
What do you love about digital marketing?
Digital marketing is constantly evolving with new platforms, ad units, and targeting capabilities always being introduced. I’m comfortable in dynamic environments, so I appreciate the ever-changing atmosphere.
Why should someone learn essential digital marketing skills at GA?
General Assembly’s main advantages are the instructors and the culture. The instructors are still active in their field, which is extremely important since things change so quickly. You want to learn from someone who can tell you about their day, not someone who can just tell you about a user guide they read. Beyond that, GA offers an extremely innovative culture. It’s not uncommon to come across a group of students talking about some new app they’re building. They might even ask you to test it out for them.
What personal qualities will set someone up for success in your industry?
Grit and curiosity.
What was your path to becoming a digital marketing teacher and leader?
I’ve been consulting in one form or another for the majority of my career. Teaching is somewhat similar, except you’re working with individuals as opposed to companies. When I first started out, I was largely self-taught. However, taking a structured class back in 2009 helped launch my career to the next level. Blogs and how-to guides are great, but I definitely understand the value of interactive learning. I’m glad to be in a position where I can help individuals launch or further advance their careers.
What, if any, surprises or challenges have you overcome to get here?
Working in digital marketing, I’m surprised and challenged on a regular basis. Fortunately, I’m rather stoic, and deal with things as they come. You’re never going to panic or worry your way out of a situation. I actually wrote a LinkedIn article about it.
That said, I initially had challenges understanding some of the more technical aspects, since it overlaps with coding quite a bit. With practice, I learned how to read through tech specs, and better communicate with developers.
Why did the opportunity to teach at GA appeal to you?
I started teaching here in late 2015. GA has an amazing reputation in the tech community, so it was definitely an opportunity I wanted to pursue. I was also excited to discover that I was allowed to augment the content covered to reflect more of my background.
How would you describe your teaching philosophy?
Empowering and engaging. I know it can be challenging to learn something new. My goal is to break down each lesson into smaller, easily digestible pieces. Fortunately, we all see digital marketing every day, so it’s not a completely foreign concept. I can show you a Facebook ad, then tell you exactly how it gets served, targeted and tracked. I can literally put a funny meme on the board and make a lesson out of it. This makes my job a lot of fun, and it’s easier to keep up with the content.
What has been your favorite memory as a GA instructor?
One of my students took a class because he failed out of Vanderbilt University. His advisor told him if he proved that he could successfully complete a class at GA, they might let him back in. He was completely new to digital marketing, but he worked extremely hard over the course of 10 weeks. His presentation was on par with some of the best I’ve seen, and he was admitted back to Vanderbilt.
What does a superstar student in your field look like?
The best students tend to do some research before asking a question. One of my goals is to help students become better at finding the answers to questions they may have.
How do you help struggling students break through to meet or go beyond their minimum GA course requirements?
I first seek to understand the root of their challenge. The best way to do this is by asking open-ended questions. From there, I can address the issue and/or suggest office hours to get extra help on certain topics.
Helping students often involves redefining the challenge they’re encountering. For example, some students get discouraged if they aren’t good at math. In the grand scheme of things, that’s actually not that big of a problem. Sure, you probably won’t be an analyst, but you might be really great at designing ads. My goal is to help students focus on what they enjoy doing, and at least be conversational about functions they’d rather not handle.
Between taking the course and finding a job, what is the best way to get practical, real-world experience in digital marketing?
I suggest volunteering to help businesses — e.g., a local nonprofit or friend of the family — with their digital marketing campaigns. You need to have references and a background to speak to if you want to get your foot in the door.
I’d also volunteer to promote Meetup groups that cater to my ideal client/industry. In exchange, I’d ask for a few minutes at the end to speak about my experience, and offer additional pro bono work. If you’re willing to do that, you’ll land a job.
What are some free resources and tools a student can use to stay up to speed in the field?
Marketing Land is a great resource for overall digital marketing updates. I also read Ad Age quite often because it provides a great view on the overall marketing landscape. Content Marketing Institute is a great read as well.
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