Digital Strategy Director
Aaron Mackel is the man with the plan at Hurrdat Marketing.
As Digital Strategy Director, Mackel is deeply involved in every aspect of the agency’s marketing work. Not only does he work with clients across various industries—as well as Hurrdat’s many internal brands—but he’s also tasked with finding creative solutions and innovative strategies that keep the agency agile in an ever-changing industry. His days are incredibly fast-paced and require a lot of bouncing back and forth, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Born in Mesa, AZ, Mackel has lived all over the place: Chandler, AZ, Iowa City, IA, Algonquin, IL, and Omaha, NE. Because of that, he learned to adapt early and often. Even now, Mackel never stops moving. He might be settled down in Omaha, but this big family man spends most of his time trying to keep up with his three kids. And when he’s not doing that, he’s playing basketball and tennis, hitting the links, watching football, or participating in fantasy football.
Even when it came to his education and future career, Mackel set his sights on a path that could challenge him and keep him moving. He studied advertising at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, graduating in 2011, and started searching for opportunities in writing.
“I knew I wanted to be a writer, but wasn’t sure what that meant early on,” he explains. “I found my way into the digital marketing space by accident, and I loved it. Things took off from there.”
Getting his start as a writer in the digital marketing industry is something Mackel says helped him develop some of the skills that are most vital to his strategy role today.
“I got to experience digital marketing as the field was growing. I think starting in content marketing and SEO really helped me to get a good feel for the importance of strategic thinking and experience the switch from ‘marketing hacks’ to true marketing. The way tactics work now is they’re in sync with an entire strategy and less on their own. So starting in the area of digital marketing that was more focused on users has helped me understand the best way to create strategies that work today.”
Mackel says working at Hurrdat has been a path of both successes and lessons learned, all of which have prepared him for the role he’s in now. As the industry continued to change each year—and the marketing strategies and tactics right along with it—Mackel saw a growing need in the agency’s strategy area and rose to the occasion.
As the agency’s leader for strategy, Mackel is tasked with building the roadmap to client success while also ensuring that the marketing team follows through with meaningful results. He’s essentially the liaison between the sales team and the marketing experts, working with both to collect client details, set the overall strategy, and define the project outcome. For Mackel, the measurement of success is a simple question: Did we meet or exceed client or project expectations? If the answer is “Yes,” he considers that a success—and he’s had a lot of successes.
It isn’t easy being a one-man team, though. His days are filled to the brim with client and team meetings and formulating marketing strategies from 30,000 feet up. “I’m being challenged daily in ways I never have before,” he adds. “Finding the right balance of how much is needed from me to keep things moving without going too far or not doing enough is my biggest challenge.”
In addition, creating strategies across different industries for a wide range of clients presents its own unique challenges. “Every client is different,” he explains. “Something that works for one client or industry might not work for another. So it’s challenging and important to adjust my mindset based on the circumstances.”
This is where Mackel’s ability to adapt quickly and stay agile comes in handy. He might have a million projects going every which way, and he may often be handling some of those tasks by himself, but he always stays on top of the work and helps deliver excellent results.
Despite always having something on his plate, Mackel values being a teammate that anyone can count on. “I want to be someone people want to come to for help or to work with on a project,” he adds. “I just want to be kind, supportive, and as helpful as I can be.”
With all Mackel does for Hurrdat and its clients, it’s safe to say he’s counted on quite a bit.