Kenshoo Interview (Part 3 of 3)

Nov. 28

Hey Everyone,
Welcome to part three of my exclusive interview with Chad Baldwin, VP of Sales at Kenshoo, one of the best SEM platforms around! If you haven’t checked out part one or part two yet, I highly recommend doing so! Personally, these are some of my all time favorite posts on PPC Ian! Without further ado, I’m thrilled to continue this amazing interview with part three!

Kenshoo Logo

Ian: Chad, At this point, I’d like to transition to a few high level questions about the industry. First, I’d be curious about your perspective on the SEM industry. Where do you see us heading in the next several years?

Search Is The Operating System For The Information Age

Chad: Search continues to be the operating system for the information age. Understanding what someone wants is the cornerstone of all marketing. This is why Search is the anchor. I think that our definition is too limited today – basically, we characterize SEM as ads that are displayed after consumers type in a search box on Google, Yahoo, or MSN.

Search and intent-based marketing are becoming omnipresent though – re-targeting and cookie-exchanges mean that search intent data will follow the user around and be used to make ads more relevant. My hope is that this mechanism becomes more transparent to the user so that the value there can be more easily controlled.

Facebook and The Wisdom of Crowds

I think an interesting question is who defines what is relevant. Google has played a dominant role in this through advanced algorithms and the evolution of hypertext and semantic analysis. What Facebook is enabling with the like button actually paints quite a different story. Facebook is helping to re-organize the web based on a different principle – the wisdom of the crowds. A basic thumbs-up or thumbs-down. People are organizing the web for themselves. This is a very powerful idea. Put a social search engine on top of Facebook and you’ll start to see things get very interesting.

Ian: Chad, that’s really interesting stuff. Facebook is definitely a really hot topic right now. What is Kenshoo’s perspective on Facebook Ads?

Chad: I commented on this a little before, but our feeling is that the Social Web is here to stay. We’re very bullish on the opportunity here and already have a number of clients using Kenshoo Social to make money on Facebook ads. The targeting and creative capabilities will be unparalleled. There is lots to do here yet to make the ad platform sing, but Facebook is on a mission and we look forward helping drive their continued success.

Ian: Chad, at this point I must say I’m thoroughly impressed! I’d like to open it up and see if there’s anything else you’d like to share with PPC Ian readers?

A Question For Me: Direct Response Vs. Branding Campaigns

Chad: As a strategic thinker, Ian, with a good network of readers, I’d like to pose a question for the next round. With Kenshoo’s drive into multi-channel attribution, social (Facebook) and display, we’re seeing some very interesting evolution in terms of how marketers think about Direct Response campaigns vs. Brand Campaigns. I have been in a number of conversations predicting the full convergence of the two traditionally separate sets of objectives and tactics. What are your thoughts on this?

Ian: Chad, that is an awesome question and will definitely become the topic of an upcoming PPC Ian post! Chad, thanks so much for everything, this has been a true honor. I’m seriously impressed with Kenshoo and appreciate the interview! I know everyone reading PPC Ian will really enjoy it!

Chad: Thanks Ian. Appreciate the time to share some of what makes Kenshoo so special.

Evaluate Kenshoo For Your SEM Team Today

Ian: PPC Ian readers, regardless of your current situation (already own a platform vs. actively looking vs. more of a manual team), I highly encourage you to check out Kenshoo. As you probably know by now, I’m a huge fan. You’ll be amazed at what you see! If you’re interested in arranging a demo, you’ll want to reach out to the Kenshoo team via their website or by emailing info@kenshoo.com. Thanks so much for reading and if there’s any way in which I can help in your SEM automation decision making process, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. Last but not least, please make sure to check out part one and part two of my interview with Kenshoo’s Chad Baldwin.

Kenshoo Interview (Part 2 of 3)

Nov. 27

Hey Everyone,
Today, I’m thrilled to continue with part two of my exclusive Kenshoo interview with Chad Baldwin, VP of Sales. If you haven’t read Part One of the Kenshoo Interview With Chad Baldwin, I recommend checking that out first! Also, stay tuned, part three will be coming very soon! Update: Kenshoo Interview Part 3 of 3 is now live!

Kenshoo Logo

Ian: It’s really amazing how far the industry has come. Just a few years ago, SEM platforms did not exist. Now, I can confidently say that I’m more of a buy vs. build guy. In short, it’s a competitive market with a variety of great tools. What sets Kenshoo apart? Where does Kenshoo outshine the competition?

Chad: As in all healthy maturing markets, SEM is becoming verticalized and the first thing that any company needs to do is to understand their own needs and then look at solutions. There are the basics that everyone needs to do well. Reporting, campaign management, engine features – we have done the essentials really well. In Kenshoo, everything structured around natural workflows and intuitive design.

Kenshoo Accelerates From The Pack With Advanced Vertically-Targeted Features

Kenshoo really accelerates from the rest of the pack with more advanced features for targeted verticals. Sophisticated B2B, Finance and lead-focused companies love that our bid algorithm can work off direct CRM integration and decision based on lead-stage and downstream LTV. Multi-channel retailers appreciate our depth and breadth in inventory integration and strength in both national and local programs. Agency partners are driving us towards extensive cross-channel attribution capabilities and sophisticated modeling.

Having been in a number of leading companies in my career, I appreciate more and more that software is a marathon. A feature list is a snapshot in time, but it is the long race and the many legs throughout it that matter most. When I reflect on how we outshine the competition and what sets us apart, it’s easy to talk about some of the capabilities I’ve outlined above and say, "Wow, we rock in X, Y & Z…"

Kenshoo Hires The Best Minds and Most Passionate People In The Business

I think that the most important thing about Kenshoo is that we hire the best minds and most passionate people in the business. We have world class athletes that want to solve tomorrow’s problems. It is the character, passion and forward momentum of each employee in Kenshoo that sets us apart…for now and for the marathon. I am very proud to work within a company of such dedication and talent.

Ian: Chad, that’s great to hear! I’m an engineer and love companies with an engineering and analytical background. Could you talk a bit about Kenshoo’s team and your corporate culture.

Chad: Our strength is our people and our culture. The management team spends a lot of time thinking about this. Firstly, character flows from the top down. Meet Yoav, Alon, Nir. These guys are tremendous – each in his own right. They inspire a culture of respect, passion, collaboration, open and direct communication, stretching and questioning.

We’ve been fortunate to work with some wonderful companies like Zappos and Facebook and have learned much from the driving energy that is within culture. Below are a few observations and sayings I’ve heard repeated often within Kenshoo:

  • We love what we do and enjoy our customers. Kenshoo brings real meaning to the term "partner". We believe in our customers and dedicate ourselves to making them win. The level of our commitment around customer success is highly unique.
  • We want people to be themselves and share their talent. Kenshoo is not a place where you have to put on a different "face" when you get to work. There is much appreciation for the unique talent of an individual and we want that fostered. Be the best you and that is best for Kenshoo and our clients.
  • Face forward! Go tackle it. Whenever there is some challenge or issue in front of us, I always hear words that Yoav spoke to me the first week that I joined.
  • We support each other. We win or lose together. We hope to win … and we only lose if we’re not learning. There is a lot of respect inside of Kenshoo.
  • Creativity is simplicity.

You can probably tell that I am quite a fan of the family that is Kenshoo. We doubled in size last year and my deepest goal is to continue hiring the highest caliber of people around.

Ian: Sounds like a truly great place to work! By any chance are you hiring right now? If so, which positions are in the highest demand?

Kenshoo Is Hiring Aggressively – Submit Your Resume Today

Chad: We are certainly hiring – in all departments and in most every office. San Francisco, Chicago, NYC, London, Tel Aviv, Sydney, more. Postings are listed on our website and more to be posted soon. I think that every manager here feels that his/her open positions are the highest in demand.

Ian: That’s awesome! Readers, if you’d like to apply for a position at Kenshoo, please check out their website or simply send your cover letter and resume to jobs@ppcian.com and I’ll be happy to forward directly to Chad. I know Kenshoo is a true international company. Could you talk a bit about your global perspective. In which countries does Kenshoo have offices?

A Truly Global Search Engine Marketing Platform

Chad: We are a truly international company. We have primary offices in Tel-Aviv, San Francisco, Chicago, NYC, London, Sydney and satellite offices in Tokyo and Hong Kong. We are excited to open new offices in Europe later this summer. We have taken this approach to both ensure that we are close to our regional customers and can as well provide unparalleled global support to our multi-national clients.

Our product is also truly global. We support all major languages. We integrated with the major search engines in every country including Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia. Our system supports double-byte characters and all foreign currencies.

Ian: Now, I’ve got a hard question for you! With any SEM platform comes a fee. How do you structure your fees at Kenshoo? How do you compare to the competition? Any advice for folks looking at your platform and trying to rationalize the cost?

Chad: Our license is typically based on a percentage of media spend. The higher the media spend, the lower the percentage tier. We are a well-established leader and our pricing structure is competitive in the marketplace.

Kenshoo Has To Pay For Itself

In terms of pricing and cost justification, we work with customers to make sure that Kenshoo makes sense. We have to pay for ourselves, drive incremental revenue and lower operational costs. In the end, it all comes down to numbers and we have a great track record of driving results.

Ian: All of that makes complete sense. In my experience, great SEM tools can pay for themselves in a matter of months (or even sooner)! The cost savings and growth opportunities are astounding. Couple that with the fact that you’re creating a more robust infrastructure and you have a win-win situation. Chad, I’m sure you have an amazing list of clients these days. Could you discuss some of the industries that Kenshoo represents? Are you pretty well balanced or do you cater to some verticals more than others?

Chad: I am excited to say that Kenshoo is big enough at this point that we actually mirror the shape of the entire industry. I spent years as a product manager in SEM studying this market. It’s a real achievement to have earned such a nice blend of clients. Mirroring the industry, our top three verticals are retail (6 of the top 10 US retailers use Kenshoo), travel and financial services. We see growth in manufacturing, B2B and Education. We as well mirror how the industry is broken out between in-house management and agencies. At this point, we map to the industry breakdown in the US, EMEA driving results.

Ian: Kenshoo offers an interesting business model. You empower search marketers with an amazing platform while providing stellar service. Could you talk a bit about your account management team? How do they interact with clients on a day-to-day basis?

Chad: I think back to my earlier statement that our primary goal is to make a customer successful. We hire really talented and driven people. Our average number of years of experience in SEM is over 3 years. The Kenshoo platform provides tremendous power, focus and flexibility to a program… BUT you still need to know how to fly the plane. Just to be clear for the readers. Kenshoo is not an ad agency, but a focused technology provider. Our account management team ensures that the system is being used to its maximum potential to drive program goals.

Ian: Chad, amazing stuff! What an awesome interview! PPC Ian readers, if you haven’t checked out part one of my interview with Chad Baldwin, I highly recommend it! Also, please stay tuned – part three will be posted shortly! Update: Kenshoo Interview Part 3 of 3 is now live!

PPC Ian Hanging Out With Chad (2nd From Left) and the Kenshoo Team at SMX Advanced Seattle 2010

Kenshoo Team

Kenshoo logo © Kenshoo
Image of PPC Ian and the Kenshoo team © PPCIan.com

Kenshoo Interview: Chad Baldwin VP of Sales

Nov. 26

Hello PPC Ian readers,
Today is a tremendously exciting day! Following is one of the best posts on PPC Ian, in my opinion. I’m honored to interview Chad Baldwin, Vice President of Sales at Kenshoo. What is Kenshoo, you ask? It’s one of the leading search engine marketing platforms around. You may remember from my post about SEM automation and my video about pay per click technology build versus buy that I’m a huge fan of search marketing platforms. It makes perfect sense, I’m a Stanford CS grad after all. Moreover, it’s systems like these that have fueled the growth of my past companies, leading to amazing success! I’m going to tell you right out the gate that Kenshoo is one of my all time favorite technology platforms out there. If you’re in the market for an SEM platform (or even if you already own one), it’s imperative that you consider Kenshoo very seriously!

Kenshoo Logo

The team and story behind this company are amazing and the company has been growing at an unparalleled pace. Over the years, I have been very fortunate to build a personal bond with the team over at Kenshoo. Without further ado, let’s jump into this exciting interview! Today’s interview is part one of three, I’ll be posting parts two and three over the coming days! Update: Kenshoo Interview Part 2 of 3 and Kenshoo Interview Part 3 of 3 are now live!

Welcome, Chad Baldwin, VP of Sales at Kenshoo

Ian: Chad, thank you so much for doing the interview! It’s a true honor and I know this will become one of the most interesting posts on PPC Ian!

Chad: I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you.

Ian: Let’s first start with your personal background. How did you get started in this industry? When did you join Kenshoo?


Kenshoo Team San Francisco

Kenshoo Team - San Francisco Office


Chad: I started at J. Walter Thompson after college as the third employee of JWT Digital. I was into the Internet early and was lit about it. There I was an account exec, a producer, a coder, a designer – whatever needed to be done to get a site and an ad campaigns out. I launched some big sites and at one point owned California’s division of tourism which made the top 10 sites in the country. Pretty fun and dynamic.

After JWT, I decided to go to a direct marketing firm (Miller/Kadanoff) for a few years and learn about driving leads and direct sales on the internet. There I worked with Cisco, Netscape and Oracle and learned the value of databases, segmentation, targeting and leads.

Later, I joined Buzzsaw.com, an online project management start-up to lead the development of their website. Buzzsaw was acquired by Autodesk and I was drafted into the role of Product Manager. I loved analyzing needs and developing solutions with Engineers. I spent 5 years in product management in that early SaaS business.

Google Is The Operating System For The Free World

I was always attracted back to my roots in advertising and was fascinated by Google and Search. I remember thinking… Google is the operating system for the free world. I’ve got to figure out how to tap into the potential. I came up with a business plan to create an optimization system… and then went to Coremetrics to see if they were thinking of building out this area. I spent over two years there with a tiger team building Coremetrics Search. It was a great experience and got me steeped in multi-channel attribution and a deep understanding of online retail.

Kenshoo’s First US Employee

I was a 120% fan of search and was beginning to see a bigger picture where advertising and merchandising would become one. I thought to start a company focused on media-mix modeling against multi-channel attribution data. I was getting things together when Kenshoo, an Israeli start-up funded by Sequoia Capital, reached out to me and I got to meet Yoav Izhar the CEO. Yoav is quite a charismatic individual. Someone I could follow up a hill. I joined as the first employee in the US to build out the business here. Evolved to become head of North American sales. We started with one client and have grown dramatically since.

Ian: That is a really amazing story. As a career-minded individual within the SEM space, your personal career is one that I have been following closely! In short, I’m inspired. Now, let’s talk about Kenshoo! For those new to your platform, could you please give a little background? How did Kenshoo get started?

Chad: Kenshoo was founded by two engineers in Israel – Alon Sheafer and Nir Cohen. Alon is visionary and an artist. He has an eye for elegant design and a strong desire to know about all pieces behind something and how to improve it. Nir is a brilliant engineer – quite someone to meet and know. He’s totally Zen about his craft with a keen ability to understand many points of view and synthesize a direction. Once a problem is studied, he is discerning; an execution machine.

Alon and Nir first started working together to create a new type of Comparison Shopping Engine called Bazman. They built this tremendous crawling technology to scrape website content. They became practiced in the art of SEM – driving traffic to their site and generating revenue as an affiliate.

Dynamic Ads, AdGroups, and Keywords

After trying many technologies for SEM, they decided to build their own. This new system dynamically created ads, adgroups and keywords based upon a single SKU pulled from a website and could automatically deep-link the ad back to the page the content came from.

While working on their start-up, they met Yoav Izhar, an experienced entrepreneur and tremendous leader. Yoav assessed the technology, partnered with Alon and Nir and started building the business.

As Kenshoo grew, the opportunity to become a unique SEM provider became clearer and clearer. After putting up a lot of their own money to boot-strap the technology, they went to Arts Alliance and Sequoia Capital to accelerate the growth of the company. The rest is still being written.

Ian: Chad, that’s a truly impressive history. What are some of the main features and selling points of Kenshoo? Where does the platform really shine?

Kenshoo Drives Incremental Revenue

Chad: Kenshoo is awesome software. It’s built by search marketing engineers and the most robust system on the market today. There are many features in the software, but before diving into the detail, I think that the first measure of a system’s value is how much incremental revenue it can help a company drive.

There are many "dials" to refine a search program and we have a stellar track record of driving incremental volume and hitting efficiency targets. A few focal areas that are driving tremendous results for our clients:

Realtime Campaigns – In retail, travel and other long-tail businesses, Kenshoo is helping to automatically build out the tail by tying into backend merchandising and inventory systems to dynamically create campaigns. This drives higher relevancy, stronger coordination, and higher conversion rates. We’ve also seen time savings of up to 80%. This is a foundational aspect of Kenshoo’s software and helping to facilitate complete integration of merchandising and advertising.

Massive Campaign Management – We have focused on how to easily manage larger and larger programs. Customers tell us that they really love Advanced Search – a way to find any aspect of a campaign based on any criteria and do anything to it.

Bid Algorithm – The sophistication of our math is constantly growing. We have a team of PhDs and, with every release, the algorithm becomes more sophisticated and nimble. We have filed a number of patents and believe that our newest seasonality work is unparalleled.

Data Scoring & Reprocessing – This past year we have delved heavily into processing downstream and offline data. Financial Services customers and lead-focused B2B companies have helped us uncover more sophisticated ways of measuring value along the conversion lifecycle. We integrated with a number of data firms to make this easier for clients.

Ian: What are some of the newest and most exciting Kenshoo features? What’s been added in the last year?

Chad: There’s a lot that has moved forward with Kenshoo in the last year. I would say that I’m excited about four main areas:

Local – Kenshoo has been blazing a new trail in how search can be optimized on the local level. I think that what this team is doing now is a guide to what will be standard practice in years to come. How can the word "Porsche" be worth the same about of money in rural Michigan as it is in San Francisco? I think we will know in the next few years that location-location-location is also critical in search. The future of well-run search programs is more and more granular campaigns with robust mass management and optimization. I’m excited to see the next generation of innovation coming out of the Local team at Kenshoo.

Facebook Is Becoming The Operating System For A Personalized Web

Facebook – I’m really excited about our Kenshoo Social product. We are pushing lots of investment into this area and are very bullish on opportunities with Facebook. Facebook is becoming the operating system for a personalized web and going to create an environment with the most targeted advertisements around.

Kenshoo Universal Channel – Kenshoo now can manage multi-channel attribution data. We developed and launched a really elegant system that allows us to capture the click and cost data together. We’ve developed an open XML format for attribution data and are excited to bring this idea of open standards to the marketing optimization market.

Kenshoo is Blazing Trails With Its Forthcoming Desktop Editor

Kenshoo Desktop Editor – We are taking the most robust technology in the market and we’re also making it the easiest. With our new Desktop Editor, any Search Marketer can start day one and know how to fly the plane. Our editor scales to over 20x what Adwords Editor can do in volume and works across Google, Yahoo! and MSN. It’s in Beta now. So watch out world… it’s coming soon.

Ian: You probably know where the next question is going… What’s in Kenshoo’s future? Where are you guys heading? Any new features on the roadmap that you can discuss?

Chad: I wish I could talk about our futures as we have lots of exciting stuff in the pipeline, but working on a team comprised of many former members of the Israeli Defense Force, I’ve learned that keeping our plans close to the chest is part of competitive advantage.

We have much in store for the market. Kenshoo has established its leadership position in search and we are now looking to expand our footprint and bring additional value to our channels. We are undergirding our entire platform to understand customer value within a multi-channel environment – and to be able to optimize. You will see more expansion with Local and Facebook. You’ll also see a few surprises from us in the near future. Innovation (and late nights) is in our genes.

Ian: Wow! Chad, I can’t thank you enough. This is truly amazing stuff! Everyone, this is part one of a three part interview. Stay tuned, parts two and three will be posted in the coming days! Update: Kenshoo Interview Part 2 of 3 and Kenshoo Interview Part 3 of 3 are now live! Make sure to check it out! Don’t forget to check out Kenshoo. Also, if you’re interested in a job at Kenshoo, they are hiring aggressively. Please don’t hesitate to email me your resume and cover letter and jobs@ppcian.com and I’ll forward over to Chad directly.

Images in this post © Kenshoo

My eBay Partner Network Earnings Rock

Nov. 21

Hey everyone! As you may have noticed, I have been updating PPC Ian a little less frequently lately. It’s not that I’ve been slacking off, it’s just that I’ve been super busy. As you may remember from my 2010 goals, I set the goal to develop six new websites this year. Well, I’m actually on pace now to develop 75 plus. The best part of it? All 75 plus sites are amazing and deliver substantial value to the Internet. How is this possible? Stay tuned, I will be writing a post all about this in the coming months!

PPC Ian still remains a priority and I’m hoping to boost my post frequency going forward now that things are cooling down a bit. I’m particularly excited about today’s post about my October and November eBay Partner Network (EPN) earnings. You may recall that I posted about my Volatile eBay Partner Network Earnings not that long ago, back in early October. Well, the volatility continues, but this time in my favor!

My eBay Partner Network Earnings Skyrocket

It’s really funny! Just as I posted about my volatile EPN earnings in early October, things really started looking up. October was a strong month (compared to prior months) and I ended up earning $500.46. The crazy part of this is the earnings all came in during the first few weeks of October and then started tapering off like crazy. By the end of October, I was only earning a few bucks per day. So, the volatility was still there, it was just working in my favor a bit more. Want to see my earnings in October? Check out the first graph at the end of this post!

November has been even better than October. I’ve pulled in a solid $846.59 so far this month! While the month is not over, I do see my earnings tapering off just like October. Check out the second graph below, the month started really strong and then started getting weaker over time. The click volume has been somewhat consistent, and it’s really my EPC (earnings per click) that has been dropping over time. I’m definitely happy with my results in November and am hoping to break through the $1,000 mark, but definitely could be a challenge if I get back to that few bucks per day level. Again, make sure to check out the second graph at the end of this post to see a detailed view of my earnings.

eBay Partner Network Takeaways

My excitement for the eBay Partner Network is really taking off and I’d like to close out today with a few of my takeaways from this case study:

  1. People love posts about earnings! My last post about my Volatile eBay Earnings got 14 comments and was even featured on the ever popular blog Make Money On The Internet by Chris Guthrie, one of my favorite blogs!
  2. Don’t give up on eBay. When I wrote my last post about my volatile eBay earnings, I was definitely de-motivated with my earnings trends on eBay. While the volatility is still there, I’m now making some good money from it! These last few months tell me that it’s all about the long term and that seemingly permanent trends can and will change!
  3. It’s all about profit and not revenue. The numbers shared in this post are pure margin. The sites on which I run the eBay Partner Network get all of their traffic organically (read: no PPC). That’s a bit ironic on blog called PPC Ian, but I’ll be the first guy to tell you that PPC does not make sense in all business cases. The sites on which I run EPN are information sites. I have found the slow passive income SEO strategy ideal for these types of sites. The net effect: I’m able to pocket all of my EPN earnings! This looks even sweeter when you combine this passive income strategy with a full time job. It looks even sweeter still when you factor in passive income from Google AdSense, Commission Junction, ClickBank, and other affiliate programs. I’m going to be writing a post very soon about my overall passive income strategy and how I plan to retire rich from leveraging multiple income streams.
  4. eBay Still Pays On Conversions. About a year ago, eBay moved to their new Quality Click Pricing model where they smooth out commissions and pay on clicks (and not conversions). However, based on my experience, eBay is still paying on conversions, they’re just smoothing it out over clicks a bit more than in the past. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s just something to be aware of. When you drive conversions, you will see a spike in earnings like me. I’m hoping with the holiday shopping season approaching that my EPN earnings skyrocket as more people convert!

There you have it! If you have been observing lower earnings on eBay Partner Network, I encourage you to hang in there like me. Don’t forget to check out the graphs of my October and November (month to date) earnings below…

My October and November (MTD) eBay Partner Network Earnings

PPC Ian eBay Partner Network Earnings October 2010

PPC Ian eBay Partner Network Earnings November 2010

Pay Per Click Budgeting Tips

Nov. 14

It’s Q4 and time to start thinking about 2011. If you’re at a large company, there’s no doubt that the financial budgeting process is in effect (or at least will be very soon). I really enjoy budgeting and forecasting: It’s the ideal time to start thinking about the big picture and all the amazing initiatives you and your team will accomplish during the next fiscal year. Also, it’s the perfect time to start securing the budget you need to accomplish your goals in 2011. I’ve been through the budgeting process many times and today would like to share some great ideas for 2011 strategic initiatives.

Initiative 1: Implement PPC Automation Software

Looking To The Future

Are you managing your campaigns manually? If so, that’s great! Why am I so excited? It’s easy: There’s a huge amount of upside on the table for you. Implement a paid search platform in 2011 and you’ll uncover major efficiencies, save time, make your team more productive, make more money via automated bidding, and much more!

I’m a huge fan of paid search software (but I bet you already knew that by now), and recommend checking out my FREE 12 page whitepaper about selecting the right paid search automation platform. Once you’re done with that, I highly recommend checking out the plethora of amazing platforms out there including Acquisio, WordStream, and Marin Software. I also discuss a few other amazing platforms in my post about SEM software. Finding the right SEM platform for your organization is a long and exciting journey. It’s also an endeavor which requires budget and buy-in during the budgeting process. Secure the budget for your SEM platform now, during budgeting season.

Initiative 2: Expand Your Team

Online marketing is growing rapidly. Many large companies are finally transferring budget from offline to online. What does this mean for you and the pay per click career path? Nothing but upside! However, it also means increased work. I’m here to say that no matter how much technology you have in place, it’s fundamental to have a team in place. It’s during the budgeting process that you can secure budget to hire additional resources in 2011. Get your request in there and start working with your recruiter as soon as it’s approved, it can take time to find the perfect match for your team!

Initiative 3: Think Big About Acquisitions

We’re in very interesting times. Cash is abundant for many successful companies, but cash definitely is not king with today’s ultra-low interest rates. Wouldn’t it be great if you could help your organization put all that cash to use? You can! Think big in terms of acquisitions. Any competitors in the PPC marketplace that stand out as particularly amazing? Why not buy them up, especially if they have an amazing SEO presence as well.

Initiative 4: Invest In The Yahoo! Microsoft Search Alliance

When it comes to pay per click search engine marketing, it’s all about leverage. Now that Yahoo! and Microsoft have joined forces, leverage is plentiful. It’s my firm belief that the Search Alliance will take online marketing to new heights. The innovation and opportunities will be unparalleled. My advice? Budget for at least one full time person managing your Unified Marketplace accounts!

Initiative 5: Invest In Landing Pages

Back in 2004, PPC was just like printing money! The marketplace lacked a lot of competition and it was easy to grow by simply adding keywords, refining ad copy, and exploring new channels such as contextual advertising. These days, however, things are quite different. Competition is abundant and the tricks of PPC are not enough on their own to put you in the lead, consistently. The difficult part of this all? It’s the pay per click campaign managers that own the numbers! This is why it’s so very important to secure resources NOW for landing pages. Landing pages are something that will most likely require resources from your design and engineering teams. If you can secure those resources for 2011, you’re definitely setting yourself and your company up for success!

Initiative 6: Don’t Forget About The Basics

To close out, I’d like to highlight that the basics of PPC are still absolutely fundamental. All this other stuff is great, but it won’t get you far if you don’t have a solid foundation in place. Start planning for some major keyword generation, ad copy testing, bidding refinement, campaign deployment, match type testing, negative keyword generation, beta testing, campaign monitoring, and more!

The best part of this PPC budgeting process: You have real world numbers that you can leverage for your projections. Do your best to accurately forecast the results of your PPC initiatives and you’ll be surprised just how accurate your budget turns out! And, don’t forget to set aside at least 20 or more hours for budgeting, it takes a lot of time.

Image of man looking to the future © iStockPhoto – olaser