Post 1/30: Shhh… Don’t Tell Them But I Have Them All Fooled!

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

This is part of a 30 posts in 30 days series chronicling my first 30 days in my new role as President of Hanapin Marketing.


At our monthly Town Hall meeting Wednesday Pat East, President & CEO of Hanapin, announced that he is relinquishing the President portion of his title and entrusting me, Jeff Allen, to carry that torch. In addition to directing the Services portion of our team my scope has increased to enabling our Sales, Marketing, Engineering and Talent & Culture departments.


It’s very cool. I am extremely humbled. And I am really scared. (Thus the, “I have them fooled” subject line.) Not scared because I don’t know what to do, I’ve spent over 2-months carefully planning for the announcement, or because I am worried that we won’t kill it for our clients, I couldn’t stop our team if I tried. I am scared because we have created something really special at Hanapin and it’s set the bar high.


There are 35+ people at this company that are now depending on me to be able to translate vision/strategy into tactics and to help get them the resources they need to execute. They are putting a lot of trust in me. My first job is to knock out some early victories that will prove myself worthy of that trust.


The early (first 90-days) victories I am working on are:

  • Streamlining 70% of routine tasks.
  • Streamlining 30% of analysis-based tasks.
  • Figuring out how to double down on our most effective marketing channel.
  • Finding another Associate Director, specifically to assist with big picture strategies on major accounts.
  • Refining our outbound sales process (we generate 700+ inbound leads a month, which has allowed the development of an outbound process to lag behind).
  • Reducing the time it takes to analyze and report (internally) performance by 20%.
  • Plus two more that are sensitive and thus I have chosen not to disclose.





In addition to the trust my co-workers are putting in me, there the ad dollars that we are being trusted to spend profitably on behalf of our clients. This means that I have to push the team harder than ever to be strategic, deploy the right tactics and deliver white glove customer service.


However, it’s also interesting that my role has now changed from lobbying for resources as Director of Paid Search, to having to be more protective of our resources and money as President. I’m having to prioritize a little differently and while I still believe our service is better than any other agency out there, I am going to have to say no sometimes. I hate no. No can be a disease. No can mean ignorance. No represents the opposite of everything I stand for. No sucks. Not looking forward to this aspect of the new role.


To balance these priorities I am specifically going to:

  • Remove myself from weekly status calls. Being on too many calls too frequently is time consuming but it also gives me too much background. Knowing too much of the ins-and-outs means I start to adopt the same point of view the account and client managers have. This reduces my ability to sit outside the situation and help determine what will actually be most beneficial to the client and Hanapin alike.
  • Regular check-ins with clients outside weekly updates. I will be conducting check-ins with a handful of major and monitor clients to collect direct feedback on how the team is doing and ways we can make our products and services better.
  • Investing heavily (more in regards to time than money) on training for our team to increase our capabilities, so me not being as involved in every account turns into a good thing (meaning I become the least good at PPC on our team).



The last thing I realized after returning to my desk from the announcement is that my schedule is going to have to change in order to handle the 5 new direct reports as well as additional responsibilities. The evidence of this is that I am working on this post “after hours”. While I often work after hours, it is typically more on thinking stuff versus doing stuff. I think that is about to change.


In order to be able to handle everything I am going to have to get a better handle on my schedule. Here are a few ideas I have so far. But if you are a time management guru, feel free to put some more suggestions on the comments!


  • Time blocking: Block out the first 3 hours of Tuesday’s and Thursday’s for building new processes.
  • Using my resources: Our administrative assistant, Rebecca Button, is setting up my interviews. Instead of taking 20-minutes to go back and forth on times with a candidate, Button does that and puts it on my calendar. Many more things will be coming her way, too!
  • No Meeting Friday: This is a company initiative that we are testing through the end of the year. It is exactly as it sounds, we don’t allow people to schedule meetings on Friday’s so they can wrap their work up before the weekend so they can enjoy it! So far no meeting Friday has been more like fewer, guilty meeting Friday but it has opened me up to work on things versus run form meeting to meeting.
  • Early hours: I am working from 6-7am at home and then heading to work. This is helping me get a few things crossed off my list right away, thus setting the tone for a more productive day right out of the gates.


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All this included, I am incredibly excited for this challenge. The people of Hanapin are smart (maybe too smart), hard working, loyal, fun, and will push me to be the best version of myself every day. Over the next 30-days I’ll be documenting the PPC specific challenges I face, how I try to deal with them in the hopes that it forces me to be more self aware, helps the team understand what I am thinking and that others who go through this journey (either as the person put in this role or the person now reporting to a person in this role) will have a resource to help them through it.


Part 2 of this series is on identifying your PPC weaknesses.