Tuff’s PPC Analyst, Joe, On Settling Into Tuff and Finding Ownership

Joe Nguyen

Meet Joe Nguyen, a PPC analyst at Tuff. Joe partners with Tuff’s clients to identify, test, and scale profitable paid channels. 

Below, he shares what it has been like settling into a new role during a pandemic, the flexibility remote work has provided,  and what advice he’d give to someone new to working in PPC.


It’s been about 6 weeks since you joined Tuff. How has it gone getting settled?

Everyone has been super helpful. I’ve mostly been learning more about managing accounts and Google Ads. I came from an agency where I was a sales manager. So I audited accounts, but I wasn’t deeply in the day-to-day managing and creating campaigns for clients. So it’s been super helpful working with Chris and using him as a backboard for everything.

I’ve learned a lot in the last six weeks, jamming in a lot of information and getting into a rhythm. I’ve been getting to know my team members, how each one communicates and works together, and how each Growth Marketer manages their clients and work. It’s been a learning process to see how everyone operates. Overall, getting settled has been really positive!

What have you been working on since you joined Tuff? 

My first few weeks I was shadowing PPC accounts that Chris was working on. And, now we’re being thoughtful about how we transition some of those clients over to me. We also have had two new clients join since I started and I’m taking those on without Chris. I have six clients that should be a hundred percent me by the next month.

What were you working on before? What led you to Tuff? 

I was at an agency before Tuff and it was a pretty large one. We did pretty much everything – Google Ads management, Facebook, email marketing, the whole spread. So it wasn’t a crazy transition by any means but the scale is different – there is more of a startup mentality at Tuff.  At my old agency, there was a department for pretty much everything. If something was wrong with a data feed, there was an analytics department and a coding department. With Tuff, you are the department! 

This has been really good and I’ve been learning like crazy over the last six weeks. There’s a level of ownership with Tuff where you can just make stuff happen. I’m learning more on the technical side but I also am getting to spend more time with clients. Something that is cool about Tuff is how well we get to know our clients and stick with them. 

I also recently had a baby, Margo. She was born 10 weeks early so I’ve been spending a lot of time at the hospital. I needed to be here for my wife and Tuff’s fully remote team structure has made that possible for me. I also transitioned from more of a reactive sales role where to heads down PPC work. 

Why did you decide to join Tuff? What was it that made you say ‘yes’?

Coming from a bigger company you start to kind of feel like a cog in an entire machine, you know? Something I thought was cool about Tuff in the interview process is I asked Ellen if she planned on scaling Tuff or how big she could see Tuff being. And, while she said there is always room to change and grow, she talked a lot about our client base and making sure our growth is intentional and that each new client makes sense for Tuff. No growth just for the sake of growth but intentional, not just taking on anybody who is gonna pay. 

This gives me a feeling that if we only work with a select number of qualified clients, and each person only manages a couple of clients, we can actually cater to each client. We can be more invested because we’re not being asked to churn out as much work as we possibly can and check boxes quickly. There’s a higher quality of contribution here that has me feeling more invested.  

What is it about digital marketing that gets you fired up? 

I think it’s crazy, in general, to think that you can just pop up your store or your website right in front of someone at the moment they’re looking for what you offer. If you have a business or a product that you really think can help somebody in an exceptional way, PPC is an awesome tool for getting it to them. So to be able to work with clients to leverage these tools is a cool thing.

There are a lot of aspects of PPC where you can get lost in the sauce, hours can go by really quickly when I’m working on an account. One cool thing about Google Ads is the awareness. You can see the search volume that’s already there, so it just becomes a matter of getting your product or service in front of that search volume. 

Okay – enough work stuff. Tell me about yourself outside of the context of Tuff. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Honestly I was already kind of like a homebody pre-COVID so my lifestyle hasn’t changed too much. I’m spending a lot of time at the hospital with my wife and baby. And, I feel really lucky that I’m able to do that right now. I have the flexibility of working remotely and safely while service providers don’t. I feel pretty blessed, you know, and always try to be grateful because  there’s a lot of people that aren’t working right now. 

In slightly more normal times, I love watching movies, going to the gym, spending time with my family. 

What is something about you that typically surprises people? 

I don’t really have a lot of things to humble brag about, I don’t have anything like a sweet coin collection. In my early twenties I traveled a lot for work. My cousin and I had a business flipping iphones. We would buy them here in the U.S. and then travel to countries where it was tough to get an iphone at the time. 

What is your best advice for people looking to learn more about PPC?

There’s a lot of content out there from places like Google Ads Academy and, of course, YouTube. I’ve learned a lot from watching videos of other people showing their accounts. 

But, having Chris to work with has been hugely helpful. If you’re able to find someone you can shadow, I would recommend that. It’s helpful to see someone’s mindset as they work through accounts. Or, even if you can grab a cup of coffee with someone in the field to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.