Rob Speaking at Podcamp Toronto 2023 768x1024 Founder Story

SDM Founder Story

“Unlikely Path: Rob Cairns’ Transition from a Marketing Cynic to a Digital Marketing Expert”

Rob Cairns, founder of Stunning Digital Marketing

The Unlikely Path

How does a veteran digital marketer decide he wants nothing to do with marketing? 

Rob Cairns had no interest in marketing during college after a professor’s dismissive attitude turned him off the field completely. 

“I should tell you right here and now, a marketing teacher came in one day one, sat up on the desk and said,”

 “I don’t care if you pass or fail. I’m just here to get my summers off.”

That statement turned Rob off from marketing and it was years before he entertained being in marketing again.

 “I made a decision at that time that I never wanted to work in marketing ever, ever again.”

But, as Rob learned, marketing wasn’t the issue, the lack of sincerity from the college professor was.

Cairns was passionate about computers from a young age. Rob was introduced to personal computers at an early age, long before they were in every home.

As a high school student in Montreal, Rob fell in love with the personal computer. Between high school computer classes and his father’s personal computer, Rob had the opportunity to learn how to use this emerging technology.

As a result, he took computer programming classes in college. He even ran a Bulletin Board System for several years. 

Upon finishing college, Rob launched head-first into the technology industry. Early in his career, Rob programmed C and COBOL, was a programming analyst, and did on-call support. From there, Rob moved to IT support for a local hospital and women’s college.

Even though he worked for 21 years doing support, eventually he was laid off from his job.

What could have been a negative, Rob turned into a positive.

Turning a negative into a positive

When Cairns was laid off from his job, it proved to be a pivotal moment. Rob had been dabbling with WordPress on the side. He already had clients and had written some blogs and was helping with routine tech support. So it was natural for Cairns to jump into the agency space full time.

At first, he focused on the technical aspects, like working with themes and servers. But he quickly realized he needed to improve his skills.

“Two or three years into that journey, I discovered real quickly that not only did I have to build a website, I had to get traffic to the website, so I had to learn how to market myself. I jumped in, as I always do, taking some courses on the side.”

Despite his earlier aversion, Cairns knew he needed marketing skills.

Learning from a veteran marketer

To learn marketing, Cairns turned to veteran marketing trainer Paul Tobey.

With the help of Tobey’s marketing courses, Rob learned how to use digital marketing to create success for him and his clients. Under Toby, he learned more about basic marketing principles and email marketing.

Under Tobey’s guidance, the former marketing cynic became a digital marketing champion.

Creating a Path to Digital Marketing Expert

In the past several years, Rob has turned his focus to protecting and securing websites for business owners. He has become a respected voice in the digital marketing and WordPress space for his expertise in website security. 

Today, Rob secures over 300 websites for individual business owners and other agencies. Rob also runs the SDM Show podcast, which has run for over 5 years and 400 episodes. 

Put Rob’s expertise to work for your business, securing your greatest digital asset, your website.

If you liked this founder story, please contact Todd Jones to have your own created for you. Click here to find out more. You can also check Todd out on The SDM Show Podcast with his bi-weekly segment copywriting with Todd Jones.