eLama is a leading digital marketing automation service in Russia and CIS. Due to our rapid growth, we are now aiming to reach new markets worldwide. Therefore we are looking for an English-speaking PPC marketing professional, willing to be our brand-ambassador.
As a Senior Paid Search Strategist you will be a part of Perficient Digital’s Digital Marketing practice working on projects for various top clients to drive strategy, delivery and results. The primary responsibilities include leading overall performance and strategic direction for all client accounts within their portfolio. You will also oversee the service and relationship quality of each account. Seniors are responsible for leading Perficient’s biggest opportunities and play an integral role in delegating, coaching and training other team members with whom they work.
The Digital Advertising Analyst directly manages and supports digital advertising campaigns, and leverages their knowledge to own and improve processes, while training other members of the team. The Digital Advertising Analyst coordinates with other team members to devise and implement campaign strategies that align with client marketing goals and internal targets.
The Digital Advertising Coordinator provides daily support for client campaigns, including research, set up, regular maintenance, and analysis. The Digital Advertising Coordinator coordinates with other team members to implement campaign strategies that align with client marketing goals and internal targets.
ThriveHive is seeking an experienced, highly motivated and capable Search Engine Marketing Manager. The Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Manager is responsible for planning, optimizing, implementing and analyzing paid search engine marketing activities. The role directly manages client campaigns for those sold ThriveHive’s SEM service.
ThriveHive is seeking an experienced SEO Program Coordinator who provides support to ensure superior campaign management and delivery of all Search Engine Optimization campaigns. This position is responsible for helping to maintain high quality results for our clients’ campaigns, reviewing client performance and results, being an available resource for our internal team members and being proactive in customer outreach. This role will be focused on Quality Assurance and management of SEO campaign deliverables ensuring customer satisfaction, approval and implementation
ThriveHive is seeking a highly organized, motivated, and social media savvy individual to be our next Social Media Strategist. The ideal candidate will have experience running digital marketing campaigns, ideally in the local, SMB space. This role requires the ability to operate on both a strategic and tactical level, touching all aspects of Social Advertising campaigns including advertising objectives, strategies, custom audiences, and conversion tracking.
The heavy hitters of social media get all the attention, but they’re far from the only players in the game. Facebook (and its photogenic friend, Instagram), Twitter, and YouTube dominate online discussions, but what about the not-so-little guys in the shadows?
Sites like Reddit, Tumblr, Quora, and Pinterest offer plenty of opportunities for marketers savvy enough to spot it. True, these platforms are not as marketing friendly as the biggest sites, but that’s why they made this list. These sites have thriving, loyal user bases that are eager to reward great content with their undivided attention.
These smaller platforms also make it easy for brands to leverage the most effective weapon in their arsenal: video marketing. Video is everything in an online world stuffed to the brim with content. The companies with the best videos become overnight sensations, while those that ignore the power of visual media typically fade into the background.
Check out these tips on which sites to target and how to make the most of each opportunity:
If it exists, it’s probably on Reddit. As the “front page of the internet,” Reddit is filled with thousands of smaller communities called subreddits, which cover everything from the NFL to skin care. Subreddits can include topics as broad as world politics or as niche as unusual crimes committed in Florida.
Reddit users are especially sensitive to advertising, so don’t post overtly promotional videos and expect nice comments. Instead, pay attention to the preferences of the subreddit communities you want to target, and then participate in the conversation organically. Post videos with educational or entertainment value that don’t depend on promotional messaging to engage.
Reddit’s constant scroll of content makes it the ideal website to post GIFs. Take the most engaging part of your video, distill it into a 15-second GIF, and post it to your target community. If you want to engage multiple communities, be careful not to spam. Use Reddit’s cross-posting feature to make it clear that the content shares a central link.
Tumblr is a bit like Twitter in that much of the community engagement depends on “reblogged” content and comments (akin to retweets). When a Tumblr user reblogs your video, that user’s followers see the video, too, as do the followers of anyone else who reblogs the reblogged post. Like Reddit users, Tumblr users form tight-knit communities around niche subjects.
Spend time familiarizing yourself with the culture around your brand or topic before diving in with videos on Tumblr. Nothing makes a brand look worse than reliance on an old meme or misuse of an inside joke.
Tumblr is another great place for GIFs, but it’s also a haven for still images, which are easy to reblog. Turn videos into slices of full videos, GIFs, and pictures to increase engagement. Include a user-generated component and encourage Tumblr users to reblog their favorite user content for extra fun.
Ask, and Quora will answer. When someone asks a question on the site, other users can vote the question to the top to make it more visible.
While not as reliant on visual content as the other sites in this list, Quora remains a great place for brands to use video to engage with users. Stay active on Quora forums, and answer user questions with educational videos about relevant topics. Any brand can type out a response, but companies that create short videos from subject matter experts (even when those videos do not advertise a product) can score big points.
Build up a reputation on Quora through video answers to boost your SEO. Stay abreast of trends by signing up for notifications on topics and questions close to your brand. Link Quora content on more popular channels, like Facebook, to increase the reach.
Pinterest users scroll through endless pages of images and videos, find their favorites, and “pin” them to personal boards (usually separated by topic) to view later. A Pinterest user might have one board for crafts, one for dessert recipes, and another for wedding venue inspiration.
Maximize your videos on Pinterest by getting specific about the reasons people should pin your video. What questions do you answer? In what categories would your content fit? Keep the visuals stunning to stand out from the crowd.
According to Pinterest, promoted how-to and story-based videos perform better than other promoted content. Users on this platform are especially picky about quality, so invest heavily in the visuals of Pinterest videos (especially in the first few seconds) to grab attention and keep it.
Facebook might be the king of social media, but it’s far from the only social platform worth using. Get familiar with these other social sites, and use these tips to make the most of your video marketing strategies.
Are you planning for 2019? Trying to figure out what tools are must-haves and working on strategies to make your marketing more impactful and more profitable?
We know that the planning process can be stressful and sometimes, it helps to have a little inspiration. So, we took some of our most valuable resources we released this year and put them all in one place.
Here’s what you’ll find in the planning kit:
Trends and benchmarks on paid advertising for both search and social in our State of PPC and State of Paid Social reports
Data on the actions marketers are taking for brand safety and strategies for a safe online brand presence
Tools to help you forecast your 2019 budgets and goals and strategies to consider, like Seasonal Budgeting
In early November, Google released four new search ad position metrics. These metrics are being rolled out to accounts now, so keep in mind they might not be available in your Google Ads accounts yet. Keep reading to learn about these new metrics and how you should adjust the way you’re currently measuring ad position.
New Metric Definitions
Impression (Absolute Top) %: Percent of ad impressions when your ad was shown in the first position on the results page. The Absolute Top is the very first ad shown in the group of ads above the organic results.
Impression (Top) %: Percent of ad impressions when your ad was shown in any position above organic results.
Search (Absolute Top) Impression Share: Number of ad impressions shown in the very first position on the results page divided by the number of ad impressions for which you were in theory able to show an ad in the very first position.
Search (Top) Impression Share: Number of ad impressions shown in any position above the organic results divided by the number of ad impressions for which you were in theory able to show in a position above the organic results.
Absolute Top is the very first ad on the search results page while Top includes all ads above the organic listings. Below is an example of what Impression (Absolute Top) % and Impression (Top) % look like in the Google Ads UI. For this campaign, 57.47% of ad impressions were shown in the top section of the search results. 38.74% of ad impressions were shown in the very first result on the page. These new metrics paint a clear picture of where ads appear on the Google results page.
What about Average Position?
Google’s definition of Average Position often gets looked over by advertisers. Google’s current definition of Average Position is “a statistic that describes how your ad typically ranks against other ads. This rank determines in which order ads appear on the page.” The new ad position metrics are more exact in showing the position on the page related to ads and organic posts while Average Position can be misleading if you aren’t also taking Impression Share into consideration.
Even before the new ad position metrics were released, Average Position only provided part of the story. For example, the below campaign has a strong Average Position of 1.5. When taking Impression Share into consideration, however, we know that ads only show 50.98% of the time when eligible.
The Absolute Top and Top Impression Share metrics give even more context to where the ad is being shown. Let’s say the bid strategy for this campaign is to get as close to the top search result as possible as often as possible. If we were to only look at Average Position, we would think this campaign’s bid strategy is aligned with our goals. Now looking at the Absolute Top and Top Impression Share metrics, however, it’s clear ads in this campaign are only showing in the top few results 32.66% of the time and are showing just 21.99% of the time in the very top ad position.
You should also use the competitive metrics columns to not only review lost Impression Share due to rank and budget, but also lost Absolute Top Impression Share and lost Top Impression Share.
Taking a look at the new metrics for the campaign in the previous example, we can see that even though Average Position looks strong at 1.5, 78% of ad impressions which could have been in the very first position on the page missed out on that spot due to ad rank factors. Through improving Quality Score, increasing bids, etc. we could see lost Absolute Top Impression Share due to rank decrease.
If you are less interested in the absolute first position and prefer to ensure ad impressions are in the top group of ads, take a look at the Top Impression Share metrics instead. As shown below, this campaign has a 67.34% lost Top Impression Share due to rank. Again, this is reminding us that the 1.5 Average Position is indeed an average and only includes data for instances where the ads are shown. 67.34% of ad impressions which could have been in the top group of ads above organic results missed out on that position due to ad rank. It’s also important to note that this campaign is never limited by budget and therefore has a 0% Lost Impression Share due to budget.
Since Average Position only explains part of the picture, using Average Position by itself to adjust bids isn’t the most effective strategy. If you currently use Average Position criteria for automated bid rules, consider updating that criteria to include Impression metrics as well. All the new ad position metrics are available in the Condition section when setting up automated bid rules.
Above is a simple example of how you could use lost Absolute Top Impression Share due to rank to increase bids. Layer a condition like this with ROAS or CPA conditions to adjust bids based on efficiency and increase ad position and Impression Share. This is a perfect situation to run an experiment in Google Ads to see how adjusting bid rules impacts performance.
No marketing manager today is satisfied with his or her website. Whether the sticking point is usability or conversions, there is always room for improvement. When I’m presenting at a conference, I always say to the crowd, “Raise your hand if you’re satisfied with how your site converts.” And nobody ever raises his hand.
Digital capabilities are becoming faster every day. With more to engage with, it’s no wonder marketers are settling for a site that’s just OK. They might not have the means to conduct effective testing and make impactful, informed changes.
But finding these solutions can be tough with the limited attention span that comes with this increase in technology. My three-year-old’s attention span is practically nonexistent: He jumps from one thing to the next. With everything on mobile, we’re all just like three-year-olds. It’s no wonder conversion rates have gone down. Delivering a good user experience that will keep users hooked requires a new approach.
Enhance Your Usability
One of the usability factors my team evaluates is the “thumb zone.” Several tools on the market show where a thumb can reach on your mobile site. Sometimes your calls to action or engagement points are out of reach of a user’s thumb when holding a phone. If your call to action is in the top right corner, for example, that’s not an easy-to-reach area. Users notice if your site is attuned to these details.
If a user has three apps and four tabs open on her phone and is toggling back and forth among them, she might decide not to complete her purchase on your site if your experience doesn’t meet her expectations. Studies conducted by Eyetrack III found that not only do elements above the fold gain the most attention, but people’s eyes are drawn to the upper left corner of a page before going right. That means the items in your site’s upper left-hand corner should be clear and enticing.
These little details can have a big effect on UX—which affects conversion rates. Site speed, for example, can make or break a digital experience. How fast is your page loading? How quickly can users navigate between pages? When they click something, does a new tab load ASAP? Are you using single-page application? How are you maintaining a fluid process for users? My team uses the phrase “slower equals lower” to remind us that slower speeds lower our conversion rates.
Optimize Your Content and Organization
Another component to usability is ease of navigation. The easier it is for users to rapidly master your site, the likelier they are to convert. If a B2B user, for example, is in a research phase and he lands on your site, he should be able to find key information about your organization on your homepage. He shouldn’t have to dig through your site to learn what your company’s mission is.
UX Booth reports that people are likelier to make decisions based on emotion, and assign a reason to that decision after the fact. Incorporate this knowledge into your landing pages; aim to elicit an emotional response with your site’s design. Lastly, don’t forget that it’s not just what information you present; it’s how you present it. Focus on your content and visual hierarchy.
At my company, we’re big proponents of MarketingExperiments and its messaging. Users don’t engage with websites. Subconsciously, they engage with people. If you’re not presenting content in the order in which a user would naturally absorb that information, it can throw them off. Present your site visitors with the three W’s: Why am I here? What should I be doing? Why should I be doing it? A variety of small pieces go into making a site ideal for its users.
Here are a few more steps to get you started on your journey to providing a great UX:
1. Identify What’s Working with Your Users
Examine what your users like and which aspects of your site are unappealing. A variety of tools on the market can be used to leverage heat maps, user polling, and user videos to show you how users are engaging with your site. Hotjar is the internal favorite and is the cornerstone on which my team formulates our testing strategies. Analyzing this information enables your users to tell you with their actions what parts of your site are working for them. In the middle of a redesign? Leveraging tools like EyeQuant enable you to see how visitors will respond to your designs before going live.
2. Streamline Your Checkout Process
If you’re operating in the world of ecommerce, especially around the holidays, you don’t want the purchase process to be lengthy. Do your customers maintain user momentum when they enter your checkout funnel? How transparent are you being with shipping costs, taxes, and other information users want to know before they start the checkout process? If your process takes too long, don’t be surprised if consumers abandon their carts.
3. Incorporate Videos
For most people, it takes more time and effort to read than it does to listen to or watch something. People are busy, and as discussed earlier, have short attention spans. Take advantage of users who want to engage with sites while on the go. Give them something short and sweet to watch instead of making them have to scroll and read during their morning commutes. In fact, according to Wyzowl, 79% of consumers prefer videos with product information to plain text.
With consumers constantly on the go and able to access more content online than ever before, your site needs an impressive UX. Usability and high-quality content are major factors of a good UX, but don’t forget smaller steps like your checkout process and offering videos. Implementing all of these factors will keep customers coming back for more.
Marketers approach long-term planning armed with data and strategic frameworks. Business school classes are filled with cases and proactive approaches for long-term decision-making. Alternatively, short-term marketing decisions must be made quickly to react to barriers, competitive threats, and opportunities. There’s little universal wisdom to provide guidance, and insights can be scarce.
As such, you could fall into the trap of relying only on long-term planning. But short-term decisions are just as vital to your company, especially when you need to course-correct to stay on track and meet your goals. Successful marketing requires strong strategies for both now and later. That’s why it’s important to look at the decision-making process to create a better approach for any timeline.
The Long and Short of It
Thinking long-term is all about defining a goal and setting strategic priorities to meet that goal. The outcome might be something like investing in brand marketing to improve awareness or developing new messaging to neutralize competitors’ strengths. Most companies use the same tools and methods for these decisions.
When planning for the future, marketers try to skate to where the puck will be with the help of trend forecasts. Consumer research and shopper insights are also vital for understanding customers’ wants and needs with this approach.
Short-term decision-making involves completely different methods. It comes into play when there is a need to close a gap, fix a problem, or respond to an unexpected change. Marketers need to evaluate which short-term methods can be executed quickly and proven to have an immediate impact.
The short-term marketing tactics that work tend to be a form of price promotion. Companies know, for example, that a sale offering 10% off will generate incremental revenue. But using price is a slippery slope. Competitors might react with lower prices in the future, and shoppers can be trained to watch for sales instead of buying at the regular prices. And, of course, discounting lowers gross margins, something marketers would rather avoid.
How to Strike a Balance
Although you might feel better prepared to make long-term decisions, you’ll miss out on a limited window of opportunity by solely focusing far down the road. By doing some work upfront, you can learn to balance short- and long-term decision-making.
Here are steps you can take to be better prepared for short-term decisions:
1. Assume the Worst
Yes, you have solid long-term plans and the right marketing strategies to support them. But you can also bet that something will go wrong at some point. Sales gaps are often created by things outside of your control, such as competitive activity, poor in-store execution, and bad weather. If you plan for the worst, you will be better prepared to address short-term revenue issues.
2. Know Your Opportunities
Identify three to five opportunities that you expect will pay back in one to two months. Include a mix of price- and non-price-related options. Try creative pricing strategies, like offering a gift card with purchase rather than lowering the shelf price. Email campaigns are also a proven method to create urgency. And don’t discount other digital marketing tactics that can drive more in-store sales.
3. Do Some Early Testing
The challenge of making short-term decisions is the lack of information to back them up. When you’re pressed to implement a tactic to close the gap, you need a high degree of confidence in the expected short-term impact across in-store and online channels. Sales lift studies are a great fit for measuring the short-term impact of marketing.
With the right insights tool in place, test marketing tactics as early as possible, so you have the knowledge in hand when you need it. For example, blast your email subscribers with a compelling message that creates urgency. Then, measure the incremental sales impact among the people who received the email. You can perform similar experiments with display ads, video, and even addressable TV. Then, test combinations at varied frequencies and again measure the impact.
4. Secure the Budget
Most marketers try to reserve at least 10% of their budget for testing and learning. Testing priorities are often biased toward long-term results. This bias isn’t a bad thing. Marketing that supports and builds the long-term health of a brand is certainly positive. But it’s still important to reserve funds for testing marketing levers to improve short-term results. As one former boss told me, you must earn the right to do something special (i.e., marketing with long-term impact) by delivering results in the short term. Fortunately, testing and research give you a good idea of your top options as long as you secure the funding and use it wisely.
Long-term decisions come with the benefit of more data and more time. Short-term decisions can feel more harried and uncertain, so it’s easy to see why they might take a back seat to strategic pursuits. But thinking ahead about inevitable short-term needs to boost sales will ensure you don’t miss your budget. Strategy is sexy, but results count. With discipline, you can deliver both.
While most of America was stuffing their face with Turkey, digital marketers around the world anxiously awaited the ensuing cyber selling free-for-all. Good performance on Black Friday and Cyber Monday can set an account up for record numbers during the holiday season. On the other hand, underwhelming numbers can lead to account uncertainty and a less-than-solid client relationship moving into the New Year. That said, all is not lost if Black Friday flopped. Two years ago I shared 5 Fast Fixes For Your Holiday PPC Strategy which included executing the following:
In honor of this optimistic approach, let’s discuss 5 additional fixes to help turn around slow starts to the fast-paced holiday season.
The first thing to do when performance is down year over year is to analyze the variables of the auction’s themselves. In the previous iteration of this article, we spoke about identifying changes in the SERP and distribution of traffic across devices. An equally important aspect to analyze is the players in the game. Compare 2018 numbers to 2017 and check to see if any new competitors have entered the field. Additionally, keep an eye on your competitive metrics leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Fluctuations in these will provide strong indications as to the aggressiveness of your peers and be an accurate indicator of what to expect leading up to the final days of December shopping.
Platform and Campaign Budget Optimization
After understanding the differences in the auction YoY, it’s extremely important to execute budget optimization that is in reaction to the holiday season. Nearly every company is going to have to have higher budgets, more aggressive bids, and improved offers at this time of year. Shifts such as this could lead to your typical heavy hitter campaigns lagging behind. First things first, look at this from a platform perspective. If one medium seems to be underwhelming, don’t wait until it’s too late to shift that money into a more impactful area. Particularly in the last year, the Facebook marketplace has gotten increasingly competitive and expensive. If for whatever reason the return isn’t what you’ve expected, look to shift funds into Google, Bing, or display/programmatic. Alternatively, if your CVR and return are performing well in Facebook despite elevated holiday costs, ride that train until the last stop.
Beyond platform allocations, adjust to the marketplace with each individual medium. If you haven’t explored the magical world of Excel Solver, now is the time to implement and even possibly learn How to Automate Excel Solver.
Ad Copy Opportunities
During the holiday season, it is extremely important to update copy from your Evergreen content. CTR and CVR are often positively correlated when you can speak to the current promo you’re offering. Beyond that, customizers such as countdown help provide urgency and encourage your audience to take action prior to the conclusion of your current sale.
If you are a tad behind and haven’t already implemented, consider testing RSA ads and adding a 3rd headline/2nd description to your ETA ads. Lastly, keep on top of all ad extension opportunities Google offers. While the Black Friday/Cyber Monday extension is now gone, turn towards Price Extensions and Promo Extensions to increase engagement and help convey additional information to your audience. Consider updating callout extensions as well to speak to holiday-specific benefits such as expedited shipping, free returns, guaranteed delivery by a certain date, etc.
Last time we walked through holiday-season performance saving tips we discussed day of month budgeting. While I’d recommend revisiting that conversation, it’s also important to assess the aggressiveness of your day of week and hour of day modifiers. The common-sense tendency is to increase on nights and weekends, but make sure your data supports this claim thoroughly. For a more detailed walkthrough, read up on the Top Ten Tips For Effective Dayparting.
If you’re still using last-click attribution (semi-related: 2019 is the perfect time to catch up to the future), I’d highly encourage you to examine the assisted actions during this analysis. Many shoppers are likely to be researching via mobile prior to completing their gift purchase on a desktop. You don’t want to miss out on this portion of the purchase process.
Upper-Funnel Campaign Testing
We’ve touched on this earlier, but poor performance early means a deviation from the typical strategy is needed. Given the elevated intent of the holiday season, often times upper funnel efforts see higher direct returns and a shorter sales cycle than typical.
With this in mind, consider incorporating both Youtube and Gmail campaigns into your gameplan. If you’re a bit weary or budget-strapped, start with remarketing efforts before moving onto the prospecting side. That said, get acting now since time is quickly ticking away on the shopping season!
Bonus: Don’t Pay For Returns and/or How To’s
Chances are you already have an extensive negative keyword list avoiding such terms, but here is a gentle reminder to revisit this list and ensure you’re not paying for non-revenue generating search queries. Common categories include returns, customer support, set-up, how to’s, troubleshooting, product-specific FAQs, etc.
A slow start to the holidays doesn’t doom you to full season failure. A large majority of shopping remains. According to this survey, only 5% of shoppers are finished while 49% don’t plan on completing their purchases until mid-December and an additional 16% procrastinating until the week of Christmas. Take a second to collect your thoughts, analyze the data, and set the strategy for where opportunity exists.
Congratulations, Amazon FBA sellers! You did it! You made it to Black Friday and beyond. And to those of you just getting started, I hope you’re excited. After all, there are reports of sellers doing $300k+ on Black Friday alone. Speaking of Black Friday, here at Jungle Scout we had a chance to pour over the bestsellers lists. Using our own data, we noticed a few odd trends. But instead of trying to make heads-or-tails of these trends, we decided to share our questions with you. Maybe you can help us figure some of this stuff out. #1 – “What’s up with all the slow-cookers and instant-pots?” Of the top 8 best-selling Kitchen & Dining items on Black Friday, FIVE of those were slow-cookers or instant pots. And a sixth best seller was a Keurig coffee maker which, let’s face it, is the instant-pot of coffee. So why are Americans suddenly so in love with instant pots? Is it some sort of new health trend? Is everyone that strapped for time? #2 – “Why do kids like mystery toys so much?” If you’re a parent, then I’m guessing the answer to this question is not a mystery to ... Read More
One of the guiding principles I utilize for Account Management is taking a beat to consider: If a competitor digital agency took a look at my accounts, what would they say to my client to try and win the business? Albeit a bit paranoid in nature, it’s a useful lens to view your work as objectively as possible.
Having run through this exercise countless times, here are a handful of useful questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re staying light-footed in your accounts:
Are you actively running experiments?
You should be running experiments regularly in your accounts. Google and Facebook make it painless to conduct 50/50 split tests. Google’s Drafts & Experiments & Ad Variation take minutes to employ and allow you to access quick insights that you can share with a client. A few easy set-ups include:
Here’s a preview of how the dashboard delivers insights, additionally the test will advise when the test has reached statistical significance:
Facebook allows you to conduct 50/50 split tests, as well as multi-variate tests. When setting up a new campaign, if you check the “split test” node you can test ad creative, delivery, audience & placements. Typically, the time-frame for testing in Facebook is 3-14 days, so you can make decisions based on your data rather quickly. Additionally, it’s easy to apply the winner.
For other engines where there are no intrinsic experimental modules, testing should still be employed manually to ensure that you’re finding the optimal mix of bids, audiences, and creative. So, no skimping here.
Are you finding efficiencies in your accounts?
It’s one thing to get balanced CPL and conversion volume from your accounts, but always dig deeper. You can run analyses then implement the following bid adjustments to finesse your campaigns:
Time of Day
Day of Week
Google Ads’ new interface allows you to see excellent visuals of when your campaigns are at peak performance, but I always like to pull the hard data over a long stretch of performance think 3-6 months, depending on the account and the volume of traffic it receives.
Have you researched new platforms for your client?
Once you have achieved homeostasis in your accounts, it’s time to look into expansion. Do you have a list of new platforms or strategies in your back pocket? What if your client asks you a question like: “If Facebook performance drops, do we have a back-up plan of where to put that spend?” Do you have an answer? What if your client gives you extra spend, would you know where to apply it? Don’t get caught with you PPC pants down, proactively research other spaces your clients could or should be advertising in.
Are you employing new features and tools available in platforms?
A recent example would be testing Bing’s new Microsoft Audience Network. Have you raised your hand to be entered in new Betas that your accounts might be eligible for? Recently, Google and Bing offered an extra headline and description line for text ads. Have you implemented them yet? For me, one of the worst questions I can get from a client is “have you heard about…” and if I haven’t, I feel like a total rube.
Don’t be complacent in your account management. One of the number one pain points we hear from new clients is that their previous agency wasn’t proactive in bringing new insights or ideas. Stay on your toes, and PPC Like everyone is watching.
Sales drives revenue. Demand gen creates leads. Customer success reduces churn. What does product marketing do? If you can’t answer, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Having built and led worldwide product marketing teams for over a decade, the question I most often got from employees across the business was, “what is it your team does again?”
It’s not a simple answer, and that’s likely what has led to the confusion. Product marketing teams can report to product (as it does at Samsung) while others sit in marketing (like it does at Apple). Some teams play more of an inbound or upstream role, owning the product roadmap, while others take an outbound or downstream role, taking the product to market.
The best description I’ve seen of product marketing’s value to a business comes from Google. Simply put, it’s the job of product marketing to ‘Know the customer. Know the magic. Connect the two.’ Unpacking and understanding the role of product marketing will help you leverage your product marketing team to accelerate growth.
Know the Customer
One of the most important roles that product marketing needs to play is to champion the voice of the customer into the business. They need to possess a deep understanding of what lives in the minds and hearts of customers, and be able to evangelize that insight across the business. This goes far beyond needs and pains but delves deep into their psyche to understand the emotional drivers of purchase and use. In this respect, the role of the product marketer is more akin to that of sociologist or psychologist than product manager or technologist.
When I was in my role leading product marketing at Vidyard, one of the ways our team championed the voice of the customer was through a project to uncover the strategic, boardroom level problems we could help them solve.
We interviewed our sales reps, sales engineers, and customer success teams. Hypotheses were tested and refined through dozens of deep-dive phone interviews with customers and non-customers. We validated and prioritized value drivers through an online survey to 500+ users. Sales resources were developed and training was facilitated across teams.
Plans for Success
The output of this project became the blueprint for how we communicated across marketing, had sales conversations, and priced our solution. Product management and development even latched on to the value driver outputs to help shape and prioritize the product roadmap.
Other roles product marketing plays in knowing the customer include:
As an unbiased, third party (not sales or customer success), product marketing can drive win/loss analysis—a process aimed at deconstructing why we won or lost deals by conducting customer interviews and surveys. Buyers will often open up to product marketing in the spirit of improving pricing, messaging, value propositions, or the sales process.
Ideal Customer Profile, Segmentation, and Buyer Personas
Product marketing identifies the group of customers that is the best fit for driving growth. This is brought to life through market research and real data about existing customers.
Keys to Knowing Your Customer
Talking to Your Audience
I’ve always been a firm believer that product marketing is not an armchair quarterback role. Successful product marketers need to get close to the front lines to understand their audience and the changing market dynamics. Product marketing managers should spend at least 20% of their time interacting with their audience by joining sales calls, attending conferences, and interviewing customers.
Spending Time with Sales
No team better understands the questions your customers are asking than your sales team. Spending time with sales will help build customer empathy and help you understand the feedback that is coming from the front lines.
Know the Magic
Knowing the magic is about possessing a deep, unmatched knowledge of the product. Product marketing is the product evangelist and cheerleader, inside and outside of the company. They are responsible for articulating why your product is different, better, special, and for how best to convey the value it adds in the customer’s own language.
In the last few years, my wife and I have taken to puzzling. I’ve come to see that the process of solving a 1000 piece puzzle follows the same pattern to how I’ve always approached unlocking the value of a product. First, you need to flip over all the puzzle pieces and get them right side up. Then you start to group the edge pieces, the corners. Next, you sort the colors and finally, you start to put them together. Crafting the narrative for a product follows a similar path. Starting to assemble the puzzle before first flipping over the puzzle pieces will slow you down in the long run.
The key to flipping over the puzzle pieces is close alignment to the product organization. I’ve always strived to align product marketing managers to product managers one-to-one on my teams. When product marketing teams has been most successful, product marketing managers and product managers are attached at the hip and working in concert. When we’ve been least successful, they are territorial, siloed or unclear on responsibilities.
Partnering with Product
To build this strong working relationship, I aimed to sit with my counterpart on the product team at least two days a week and book weekly product marketing interlock meetings. The output of this well-oiled partnership was that product felt they had an ally in marketing who could help them communicate the value of what they’re building, and marketing felt they had a simple, cleanly packaged story to tell.
Here are some of the questions product marketing can ask to ‘know the magic’:
What inspired this feature?
Why did we build it this way?
What other approaches did we try to solve this problem?
What was the biggest problem we had to solve in reaching this point?
Other roles product marketing plays in knowing the magic:
Packaging: Bundling features together to simplify the way buyers buy and maximize the perceived value
Pricing: Developing simple, easy-to-understand pricing models built around value rather than features
Keys to Knowing the Magic
Market & Category Insights
Product marketing must understand the category, market dynamics, and trends that drive consumer behavior. This comes through from following the industry closely, including what’s happening upstream & downstream in the value chain. Product marketers gain this insight by reading industry materials, attending trade shows, and following influencers and analysts.
Product marketing must be experts on the share-of-mind and share-of-wallet competitors and their relative standing in the eyes of consumers. This doesn’t stop at in-category competitors, but also competitors from adjacent or alternative ‘outsider’ brands that might fulfill similar needs.
Connect the Two
Connecting the two is where the rubber hits the road. Product marketing is the steward and caretaker of your narrative across the business. It rests on product marketing to shape a clear, compelling, consistent voice for the product in the market. More difficult still is ensuring that this story is well told and aligned across customer-facing touchpoints.
When I started my career at BlackBerry, product marketing didn’t exist as a dedicated and well-established function. The need for what would become worldwide product marketing became clear one day when I walked into the office and found myself standing in front of three banners promoting the same smartphone. Each told a dramatically different story about what the product stood for and why consumers should buy it. Without standing for something, the product stood for nothing. It confused our channel partners, our enterprise sales reps and prospective buyers.
Over the coming years, we built the worldwide product marketing function to help address this challenge, among a host of others, with the goal of crafting and telling a well-told story that connected a deep understanding of our customers and market with the magic of our products.
This manifests itself in a number of ways:
Cut Through Positioning and Messaging
Product marketing defines the product value proposition, the experiences that support it and the product attributes that underpin these experiences. Product marketing then shapes messaging—how we communicate
Product marketing partners with sales enablement to define the content and support the delivery of training programs for sales and partners. Product marketing provides the fodder for the training content, while sales enablement determines how best to serve it up. This could take the form of demo scripts, competitive battle cards, sales collateral, pitch decks, and more.
Product marketing works with go-to-market leaders like the Chief Revenue Officer, VP of Sales, and Chief Marketing Officer to define the go-to-market strategy and establish the connective tissue that aligns the target segments, value prop, routes to market, and marketing campaigns to drive demand. In this role, product marketing is serving as offensive coordinator, calling the plays and ensuring that every team is working towards the common goal.
Demand generation teams rely on product marketing to help support demand campaigns by defining what experiences to highlight for which audiences and what language to use.
Web and Design
Product marketing develops the briefs that drive the creation of website pages, marketing assets, including what experiences you should highlight, what screenshots to feature, and what language to use.
Work with the creative director to bring the value proposition and the product’s magic moments to life through explainer and demo videos.
Product marketing works with PR to write launch press releases, ensuring that the story is well represented, that the key differentiators are adequately highlighted and that the language will resonate with the market. At launch, PMM serves as a spokesperson for the company with media, doing demos and sharing the product and go-to-market strategy.
Many technology companies struggle with executing flawless launches. Products are ‘launched’ when code is ready, leaving marketing, sales, support, and customer success teams scrambling. Oftentimes, this is driven by no cross-functional launch coordination, a role that product marketing helps to fulfill. Product marketing owns the launch checklist ensuring that all go-to-market teams are at a state of ‘internal and market readiness’ before the product is launched.
As experts on the customer, market, and product and with the ability to move fluidly between strategy and tactics, it’s customary for product marketing to get pulled in a lot of different directions. Product marketing often becomes a jack of all trades.
Starting the product marketing team at one startup, I was attending events, delivering sales training, building collateral, joining sales calls and more. I was wearing a lot of hats and that gave me an opportunity to get to know the customer and the product even further. But soon, I found all these execution tasks standing in the way of tackling the strategic initiatives that would set the company up for growth over the next horizon. I was feeling more like a firefighter, responding to requests from sales, than providing strategic marketing leadership.
When I work with product marketers and marketing leaders, I get them to do a time study of how much time in an average week they’re spending on various tasks. I’ll ask them to color code the chart below to represent the health of each activity. Green if it’s in great shape. Yellow if it’s done, but needs improvement. Red if it isn’t receiving much or any attention. It’s not uncommon to see a lot of red on the left with progressively more green towards the right.
With a better understanding of which tasks are going overlooked, product marketers can work with their marketing leadership to carve off time to tackle the strategic deliverables that will fuel sustainable growth over the long term, and reduce the amount of time responding to fires.
Do you have any best practices for product marketers you’d like to add? I’d love to keep the conversation going.
Hello I am Max living in Sydney. I am 25 years old and a passionate internet marketer. I am learning about google Adwords and facebook ads. I believe if I can be good with PPC then I can make a living online.