Right Side Up Talent Spotlight: Alex Dooley
November 28, 2022
November 29, 2022
The Right Side Up Talent Spotlight series profiles some of our full-time employees and growth marketing consultants. We chatted with them to learn about their incredible professional experiences, expert marketing insights, and how they’re balancing work and life.
Alex Dooley | VP of Strategy at Right Percent
Alex Dooley is a senior growth marketing strategist who currently works primarily with B2B software and services companies, but also draws from several years of experience in DTC-land. He's a semi-decent banjo player, enjoys a fine sip of fresh coffee in the morning, and thrives on finding reliable paths to help his clients meet their business goals.
Where is home these days?
Home is in beautiful Portland, Oregon—the place where young people go to retire (or to work remotely in marketing, like me!). We’ve been here for more than five years now, and love our walkable neighborhood, vibrant food/art scene, and access to gorgeous hiking/nature even more than the day we got here.
My work setup is pretty simple—a laptop and headphones are all I need, for the most part. I work from the comfort of home on meeting-heavy days, and often venture out to one of Portland’s many coffee shops or cafes for deep work when I’m able to get out.
What do you do here at Right Side Up?
I’m the VP of strategy at Right Percent, which is RSU’s B2B performance marketing business unit. Right Percent operates a little bit differently than the rest of RSU—we have an agency model, not a consultancy model, and we’re laser-focused on crafting amazing strategy, creative, and execution on Meta, Google, and LinkedIn advertising for B2B clients. Our talent pool is composed of marketers from the RSU talent network, who we train in B2B marketing best practices and deploy as teams for client work, with projects typically led by a full-time member of the Right Percent team.
I joined RSU full time back in May of 2021 after a few months consulting with the team (and after more than four years of freelance/contract work before that). Since then, we’ve added three more FTEs to the team at Right Percent, and have about 60 contractors working with us on client projects.
Tell us about your professional background and area(s) of expertise. Any achievements you’re proud of or notable brands you’ve worked with?
My career started at the age of four, when I stacked a pile of bricks for a neighbor in exchange for $2.50 per hour. Life was simple in the 90s! Since then, I’ve climbed the ladder with jobs including dog walking, landscaping, waiting tables, telephone fundraising, door-to-door sales, and political consulting, along with holding pretty much every marketing job out there. These days, I concern myself with the high-level business goals of our clients, and how we can achieve/measure those with just the right mix of copy, creative, conversion event, and audience on the ad channels we operate.
I’ve worked with lots of fancy and innovative brands—Four Seasons, DoorDash, Rippling, Groupon, Retool, Houzz, IDEO, Zenefits, and more—but to this day, my proudest moment as a worker is the time I convinced a family not to have me fired on the spot (and also to finish their meal and leave a fantastic tip) after I spilled an entire tray of water on their preschool-aged child while waiting tables at Outback Steakhouse in high school. Side note: service jobs are a great place to learn conflict resolution and problem solving.
What excites you about growth marketing? Has your work changed since you first started? What do you see for the future of growth marketing?
At a fundamental level, I think it’s so cool that we can sit down with a client, listen, gather insights about their business goals, and then build and execute a specific plan to help them get where they need to go. There is no hiding in growth marketing. With very few exceptions, the results are obvious and the success of your strategic plan reveals itself after a few months of execution (or sooner). That kind of feedback loop really gets me going and keeps me coming back for more of it.
There have been some pretty significant surface-level changes in the industry since I first started (namely that Facebook Ads CPMs no longer average $2), but the one big, important question we’re trying to answer has largely remained the same: “What value does our product or service provide, and how can we use this channel to convey that value to customers?” I’ve surfed many tidal waves of disruption by fixing my gaze on this north star and I expect to do so again in the future. When your highest-level concern is how to play with the rules the platforms set to maximize total available value, it doesn’t really matter in the long run that iOS 14.5 killed attribution on mobile, or that AI/VR/Web3/etc. is about to change everything we know about the internet, or that a billionaire bought a social media platform. The future of growth marketing is its past: use the tools available to you, create value, assume the rules will change completely at least once every two years…and most importantly, enjoy the ride.
What has the structure/flexibility of Right Side Up’s model allowed you to do outside of work?
By a country mile, the greatest benefit of RSU’s flexibility/autonomy is being fully immersed in family life. My wife and I have a three-year-old and an eight-month-old, so cutting the commute and working from home literally adds weeks of incalculably valuable time spent with my kids per year. And since we live just a few blocks from daycare, RSU’s model also enables me to drop in at lunch every now and then to convince my three-year-old to eat his vegetables, or to play some nursery rhyme tunes on the ukulele for the baby class. 🎼👶
Working remotely also allows us to extend the length and quantity of trips we take outside of home (we’re annual pass holders of the US National Parks System, frequent visitors of the non-National Parks scenic natural areas in the Pacific Northwest, and travel to both the Gulf Coast and Chesapeake Bay regions multiple times per year to see family). It’s a huge boon to know that, even if client work is at an all-time high, I can always get a change of scenery when needed without having to worry about missing time at the office.
What is your favorite or most helpful thing you've learned while working at RSU?
Before working at RSU, lots of my work was done as a solo growth marketing practitioner. Now, almost everything is done in teams as large as 8–9 people, on larger accounts. Learning to lean on the strength of others, and how/when to trust that somebody else knows better than I do, has probably been the most beneficial avenue of growth since I started working here.
And now, let’s get to the fun stuff…
What do you like to do for fun in your geographic area?
My family and I are big fans of the PNW’s many food and nature-related activities, and especially the combination of those two things. We often find ourselves at berry farms, fruit orchards, pumpkin patches, or even foraging for mushrooms in the coastal mountain forests of Oregon, depending on the time of year.
What’s a TV show, podcast, book, video game, recipe, etc. that you’re loving right now?
Lately, we’ve been buying most of our groceries at the big farmers market in Portland and building our weekly menu off whatever is in season. The recipes are scant, the freestyle cooking is plentiful, and the food (usually) tastes amazing when it’s all said and done.
For reading, I’ve been really into old self help and psychology books of sometimes-dubious scientific merit these days, like manuals on hypnosis, harnessing the power of the subconscious mind, and the ancient esoteric healing powers of sound and music. Whether these books are legitimate or not, I find the frameworks they present for understanding the inner human mind to be fascinating. Reading “weird” stuff like this alongside more conventional (and nerdy) topics like urban planning/design, media ecology, and political theory helps me feel like I’m building a unique lens on the world—and most importantly, it keeps me curious, which keeps me wanting to read more.
Do you have a favorite quote?
I find a lot of light-hearted joy in the chaos of malaphors these days, or combining two/multiple different metaphors or idioms, such as:
- “When in doubt, do as the Romans do.”
- “A bird in the hand is worth the sharpest tool in the shed.”
- “Time flies when you’re back to the drawing board.”
- “There’s no use crying over the chickens before they hatch.”
Who would play you in a movie? Why?
If Michael Cera and Timothée Chalamet had a somewhat ugly baby [Editor’s note: We think that both the Cera-Chalamet offspring and Dooley are lovely.], that baby would probably play me in a movie—mostly because of the curly hair, and in the case of Michael Cera, the slightly-offbeat sense of humor.
What’s a fun fact about yourself that people wouldn’t expect?
Lots of RSUers might know that I’m a musician, but they might not know I have something called “perfect relative pitch,” which basically means that I can play any song without having to look up the chords or notes (with the exception of extremely complicated songs that I’m not technically skilled enough to play, mostly classical/jazz stuff).
Also, I’ve become friends with the crows in my neighborhood, partly through sending good vibes on my morning walks with my dog, and partly by leaving them little treats (like peanuts) on the balcony.