Paid Search Director
Despite being voted “Most Likely to Become a Lawyer” by her classmates in the fifth grade, Allie Burkey had no intentions of ever becoming a lawyer.
“I just thought it sounded cool, so I went around persuading my classmates to vote for me,” she says. “I ended up successfully convincing everyone. I’ve always been in the business of persuasion, though, so oddly enough, advertising was a perfect fit.”
Advertising is exactly where Burkey went, but she admits finding the career path required some process of elimination and a bit of luck. After starting her career as an event planner and trying a few different things, it was search engine marketing that eventually seemed to click.
Burkey first heard about Hurrdat Marketing while at a friend’s barbecue, where Hurrdat Films’ Dan Napoli also happened to be hanging out. Burkey says she was sold on the marketing agency by the way Napoli talked about the work and the team, so when an opportunity opened up on the agency’s Local Search Optimization team, she knew she had to go for it.
While working as a Local Search Strategist, Burkey became very close with her team members, bonding over the latest Taylor Swift songs and reality TV drama. (If you ever want to know what’s going on in the world of Bravo, Burkey is one of your go-tos.) But between the conversations and laughs in the Local Search team’s shared office, Burkey began noticing there was a gap in paid search marketing options for agency clients.
“I had over seven years of experience in search engine marketing, so when an opportunity to run search campaigns for a client came up, it made sense for me to take those on,” she explains. “Slowly, we were taking on more and more, and it kind of spun off from there. Internally, we realized there was an opportunity here to keep more services in-house that allows us to build more cohesive digital marketing strategies for clients.”
And with that, the Paid Search department at Hurrdat Marketing was born with Burkey as its leader.
Burkey’s team is small but mighty. They spend their days helping clients identify target audiences and platforms, developing ad copy and creative, mining for new opportunities, and optimizing campaigns for success. Of course, success doesn’t always look the same for each client, which means Burkey is constantly looking for innovative ways to exceed a client’s goals and expectations.
Starting her own department has also come with a new set of challenges. “It’s difficult not having a true counterpart,” she says. “You have other directors to collaborate with, but it doesn’t quite mimic bouncing ideas off someone in the same position as you.”
However, Burkey says that the same thing that makes running her own department challenging is what makes it the most enjoyable for her as Paid Search Director—the changing search marketing landscape. “There is no shortage of new platforms or ways to reach your target audience. It’s not like we can only advertise on X, Y, and Z platforms. There are constantly new opportunities for growth.”
Though Burkey may be in the process of growing her department and its digital advertising offerings—something she’s excited about—not everything is about work for her.
If you step into the Hurrdat office during college basketball season, you’ll see Burkey wearing bright blue and repping the Creighton Bluejays on game days. Burkey also graduated from Creighton University in 2007, earning a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations.
“I have a lot of family that went to Creighton, and that’s where my parents encouraged me to go. But in an attempt to be a contrarian, I chose to go to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I spent a year there before ending up at—you guessed it—Creighton University,” she laughs.
When Burkey isn’t bleeding blue, she enjoys running, which she says is one of her favorite escapes. “I just take off, sometimes even without a specific route in mind. I also love a perfectly curated running playlist. Those playlists are probably 40% of what I love about running.” You might also find Burkey out and about enjoying happy hour on a patio or exploring local shops and restaurants around Omaha with friends.
Both personally and professionally, Burkey is all about teamwork, and it’s that mindset that makes her a great leader and collaborator. “Collaboration is key,” she adds. “It’s the whole ‘teamwork makes the dreamwork’ mentality. I also think it empowers employees to feel comfortable contributing their ideas, and I believe that ultimately leads to success for clients.”
The collaboration isn’t just good for clients. It’s also what motivates Burkey to come to work every day at Hurrdat Marketing.
“This sounds cliché, but I love the people. I love their passion and their willingness to pitch in. When you work with people like that, it’s hard to not be inspired.”