Who's Hot, Who Not: Finding A Great PPC Team
July 12, 2010
Finding good help: it’s like the great professional field leveler. No matter how good you are at doing what you do, it doesn’t really mean you’re gonna be great at finding someone else who is good at whatever you need them to do- and that’s an issue, because a terrifying percentage of important projects are contingent on everyone doing their business both correctly and intelligently. The problem, in terms of our industry, arises because whether you’re an expert PPC manager yourself or have no idea what I meant when I used the term PPC two seconds ago, finding the right person or team to handle your pay per click baby is complex. PPC managers can’t always see beyond their own methods to understand how others are successful. HR representatives from agencies needing a PPC manager don’t always understand the balance of technical skills and sales & marketing skills necessary to efficiently handle accounts. No one knows who they should be looking for.
After a good bit of time observing PPC managers, you can identify behavioral characteristics that are more likely to make your search for a good PPC account manager successful. Since everyone doesn’t have the opportunity, as I have been lucky enough to have, to observe lots of fantastic account managers, I’ve assembled a list of some of the personality characteristics they’ve shared.
PPC is all kinds of a competition. It’s a competition against your…competitors. It’s a competition against yourself as you try to best your previous results. It’s a competition for your target audience’s interest and loyalty. You don’t have to be the kind of person who wants to punch someone in the face because your soccer team came in second, but really, it should annoy you to lose. That way when you log in and you only got 85 leads last week and you usually get 105, there’s something internal motivating you to whip that account back into shape. Thinking of the business you’re losing or the person who may yell at you for poor performance might motivate you a little, but it’s not going to be enough if you’re looking for real success. You’ve gotta want it just for the sake of the accomplishment.
Don’t be silly and think this isn’t important. We’re spending money to try to make more money. That’s what PPC is, and anyone who doesn’t think the idea of trying to increase ROI is inherently cool is going to lose interest in the whole PPC project, and soon.
I think people who are inexperienced with PPC are more likely to overlook this important factor than those of us who manage accounts. It’s a lot of spreadsheets and data analysis and there are lots of numbers. But that’s only the surface layer. What’s important is what you can DO with that data, and that requires the mental flexibility and creativity to see patterns and meaning within and then be able to translate that meaning into action. That’s a lot of abstract thinking, and we haven’t even discussed the traditionally “creative” parts of PPC, like understanding your audience and creating keywords, ad texts, and landing pages that will appeal to them. People who think in a strictly technical “x+y=z” way sometimes have difficulty with PPC management when things get complicated, because you need to have the intuition and flexibility to realize that sometimes x+y just equals x, or sometimes w.
This is a bit of a double-edged sword. Too much and it’s completely inefficient and can become an obsessive quest to make things technically perfect without considering ROI in terms of time or money. At the same time, the little voice inside your head saying, “Do it right if you’re going to do it” can be a great asset when you’re tired and sick of looking at 38236 rows of Excel spreadsheet. Having a teammate with an internal self-disciplinarian is handy, because it makes it easier to rely on the likelihood that when you ask them to complete a task, it’ll be done correctly.
I’m naturally risk-averse, so I wish this wasn’t true. But it is: even though PPC is more easily monitored and maybe more predictable than some other forms of advertising, if you really want to further your account’s success, you’re eventually going to have to do something that makes you uncomfortable. Launch an experiment. Turn a campaign off. Start running content ads. Whatever it is, it will freak you out. And this is the only way to really see what works and what doesn’t: try it for your account. People who aren’t willing to risk a little to find greater return won’t be able to help grow business, they can only maintain the status quo. Of course the caveat here is: you don’t want a PPC manager who turns on seven new campaigns and leaves the country for three weeks with it on autopilot. That’s why attention to detail and dedication to the account’s quality are characteristics that need to accompany this trait in a good account manager.
Here’s a general rule: it’s good if people give you more info than you want. You can always ask them for less if you’re getting too much, but someone who is hard to get information out of from the outset is probably not going to get easier to get information from in the future. If you want to be involved in understanding what’s going on with your PPC account, make sure your manager knows how to communicate clearly and frequently.
Anyone who isn’t a little bit excited when Google launches a new AdWords feature just won’t like managing a PPC account for long. You have to be the right kind of nerdy, and really be motivated both to continually learn and to think internet marketing is neat. A PPC manager with this characteristic will be able to keep your account current and take full advantage of new features and on top of upcoming changes, so you can stay ahead of the curve instead of developing a competitive disadvantage.
I know there are a hundred more characteristics that help contribute to success in PPC managers, but the above are some of those which are less apparently obvious, but have been threads that have run through successful account managers in our experience. If you have others, please share!
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