As a potential client, it is in your best interest to know whether you’re about to hire a PPC dream team or just another run of the mill PPC management agency. From the other end of the spectrum, as a PPC Kingpin (or Director of PPC if you prefer) it is equally important to assemble your very own PPC dream team. In order to not only attract, but also retain clients it is in your best interest to surround yourself with the brightest and most hard working PPC’ers around.
Intelligence and hard working does not necessarily equate to big name, flashy free agents though. The building of a PPC dream team relies heavily on the “draft” and increasingly difficult player development. In addition, a skill set that goes beyond one single “position” is critical to the success of your client’s performance and the PPC dream team itself. As a result, here are some guidelines to assembling your own PPC dream team.
Assembling the Team
There are several ways that you can assemble the best PPC team around, with some having low risk, high reward.
The PPC Draft
Some of your best PPC specialists have not yet been discovered. Why? Because they are just graduating from college with degrees in marketing, communications or other highly relevant majors and have yet to truly set foot in the industry. Keep in mind that just a few years ago college courses hardly touched upon online marketing in their teachings. Now there are entire curriculums centered on internet marketing with emphases on PPC in some cases.
From a pure dollars and cents perspective, college draftees are typically low risk, high reward. They are just entering the job market and are therefore looking for a salary within reason. If you can turn them into a PPC all-star you’ve just added a cost-effective piece of your PPC dream team (until you give them the raise they deserve). Moneyball anyone?
We’re talking inter-department when it comes to trades. If you’re a full service internet marketing agency such as ours then there are fully capable internet marketers everywhere you look. They may not be PPC-savvy, but they know Google Analytics like the back of their hand and understand the web like Spiderman. All joking aside, these non-PPC’ers can fill in admirably should you need immediate assistance or shorten the PPC development program if they are switching teams full-time (i.e. SEO to PPC).
Have a lot of room in your salary cap? Then consider making a splash in free agency and skip most of the PPC development program by hiring a seasoned PPC veteran. With hiring a PPC veteran, in this case an agency PPC veteran, you are adding a key ingredient to your dream team mix: perspective.
Corporate cultures and processes are great for fostering company values, employee interactions and setting yourself apart from the competition; however they also can lead to having blinders on in regards to the best way of doing things. By hiring a PPC agency veteran, you are not only receiving a PPC specialist but also bringing in a different perspective on various PPC strategies and tactics that can lead to small or drastic changes in how you perform PPC management. Poking and prodding their brain until your heart’s content can have a dramatic impact on your PPC department’s performance.
We have a diverse group of PPC specialists in various roles. Despite these “specific” roles, each specialist encompasses various PPC player positions within themselves and the traits associated with those positions. When assembling your PPC dream team, these positional traits are key to developing a true dream team.
Play Calling Leader (QB)
A leader on and off the field, the PPC quarterback strives to help the team overcome any obstacle in its pursuit of glory (or conversions). This is accomplished by constantly learning new PPC plays and staying ahead of the curve when it comes to new AdWords ad extensions, behavioral changes or social engagement inclusions such as in display ads. In addition, the PPC quarterback is a leader off the field, fostering department team-building and interactions while eliminating or diffusing potential team-killing issues.
For those not familiar with football terms, offensive linemen are sometimes referred to as hogs because they are not afraid to get down and dirty when blocking their opponents. This is a key trait necessary within PPC dream teamers. Negative keyword research and data analysis can sometimes be tedious and seem hopeless in terms of completion, but a true PPC dream teamer isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty and dive right into a mound of data in hopes of finding the needle in the haystack. Furthermore, offensive linemen are some of the smartest players on any football team due to the necessity of them identifying the defense and adjusting their schemes accordingly. To assemble a PPC dream team, the players must be able to identify adjustments in competitor’s ads and strategies while developing the best PPC strategies and tactics to adapt to these changes with their own clients.
The Tenacious Middle Linebacker
With the PPC quarterback and PPC hog we have two positional traits that identify obstacles and strategize ways to overcome them. The tenacious middle linebacker takes these obstacles head-on with a fury that does not rest until the obstacle is no longer an obstacle. He or she cuts through anything that gets in their way with the sole objective of tackling the obstacle and resolving it as fast as possible.
Sometimes a victory needs style points, which is where the PPC kicker comes in. He or she adds a little extra to a PPC report or increases communication with the client to help them feel much more confident in the fact that you are working hard for their benefit. At the end of the day, the kicker may be the determining factor between retaining a client and losing a client because of their efforts to go the extra mile in customer satisfaction. Just remember, never take a kicker early in the PPC draft.
Beyond the traditional marketing skill set necessary to PPC, a higher level set of skills are necessary to creating the PPC dream team.
Every team fails without leadership. Every member of the PPC dream is a leader in their own right, whether it is the designated project manager or specialist for a particular client or a leader in the PPC thought leadership space. PPC dream teamers must be at the forefront of everything relating to PPC and therefore must be leaders of the PPC industry, whether they are recognized as such or not.
PPC is not rocket science; however it is pretty darn close considering the math skills involved. Let’s face the facts, your average Joe cannot do PPC management. It takes a special breed to manage PPC and do it well. Intelligence and the ability to constantly expand your own knowledge base are critical to excelling in the constantly changing PPC landscape. Without these traits, you team has no chance of surviving.
When speaking about PPC athleticism, I am not referring to any PPC specialist’s specific skills in managing an account. Rather, I am referring to the ability to adapt better than anyone else to curveballs that may be thrown their way such as competitors bidding on their client’s branded terms or a press release slamming their client’s products or services. It takes a true athlete to overcome significant obstacles such as these, which are happening at a greater rate with the growing impact of review sites and increasing overall competition online. If a PPC specialist can take obstacles such as these and somehow spin them into opportunities, than you have one heck of a dream teamer.
Speed kills. Whether it is adjusting to a trend in search behavior or a competitor now offering free shipping, speed can mitigate the impact these changes have on performance. In addition, the time it takes to respond to a client’s email or phone call has a significant impact on the relationship between your team and the client. The faster you respond, the more they feel like you are treating them as your most important client. Speed can be the differentiating factor between success and failure from a performance perspective and retaining clients from a business development viewpoint.
“There is no ‘I’ in team” as John Lavin mentioned in a previous post regarding hiring a PPC management company. This is especially true for the PPC dream team. No one player is above the team and the success or failures achieved by one should be shared by all. If one PPC specialist fails to deliver expected results, so long as they are within reason and identified at the beginning, fault should not fall solely on the shoulders of the individual but rather the entire team’s. There was not enough communication or reviewing or knowledge sharing that could have had a significant impact on performance. At the end of the day, if the PPC dream team does not succeed as a team than they will fail as individuals resulting in the loss of clients and ultimately jobs. Finding individuals that live by this thinking will elevate your PPC department to dream team status.
“That thing” is whatever drives an individual to be the best whether it is money, personal satisfaction or the drive to be the best PPC’er around. Everyone differs in their driving force, but anyone that lacks a driving force should not even be considered for your PPC dream team. We don’t mindlessly flip burgers in PPC, we make the internet a better place by trying to help users answer questions and find what they’re looking for with highly relevant content specific to their queries. If that doesn’t excite you than you will never be a PPC dream teamer.
Every team has weaknesses so by no means am I saying our PPC team is the perfect dream team. In fact, the more I write the more I’m inclined to think of the PPC dream team as an abstract goal: something to strive for but never able to achieve. It’s like having a 100% click through rate, 100% conversion rate and 0% bounce rate. You will never be able to achieve these statistics but that’s why we’re in this business, to try our hardest at achieving those goals.
What skills do you look for when striving to build a PPC dream team?
What are your thoughts on the concept and feasibility of actually achieving PPC dream team status?
I’d love to hear everyone’s insights on the development of your team and the traits you look for when adding new players.