Embracing Change In Your Marketing Career

Oct. 19

I’m the biggest fan of the digital marketing career path around. In fact, that’s the precise reason I created PPC Ian nearly four years ago! PPC Ian is here to educate and empower those in the online marketing career path. Today, I wanted to write a quick post about embracing change in your marketing career. Change can come out of nowhere. Sometimes, it can catch you off guard with surprise. Sometimes, you may not look forward to change. Other times, you are the one planning the change, via exciting innovations, as an instigator of change and progress. Change is often exciting and fun. Learn to embrace and enjoy the excitement that comes with change and your career will flourish to new heights.

Change Ahead

Change creates so much opportunity for one’s career! There are two main reasons why:

  1. Change and innovation is at the core of a successful business. Only those enterprises that move quickly will remain #1 in their industry. Take it easy and remain complacent in your practices and your business will slowly (or sometimes quickly) go downhill. Push forward quickly and the sky is the limit.
  2. Not everyone is able to manage change. Change requires a unique perspective and attitude. It requires a true leader to embrace change with an open and fearless attitude. It takes an even greater leader to envision the future and lead others through change.

Today, I wanted to share a few types of change to expect in your digital marketing career. Prepare for these changes and you will thrive. Even better: Be an instigator of change and progress and the sky is the limit. One thing is for sure: Never have a closed mind. Always be open and willing to evaluate new opportunities, even if they do not seem intuitive right away.

Just a few changes to be ready to embrace:

  • Marketing campaign budgets – Be ready for increases or decreases, the beauty of paid media is the flexibility to throttle up and down.
  • New marketing platforms and technologies – Platforms are always changing. The top platform of yesterday is not always the top platform today. The top platform today is not always the top platform tomorrow.
  • New managers and leadership
  • Changes in responsibility
  • Search engine algorithm updates
  • Competitive changes on search engines
  • New office locations, new seating arrangements within your current office
  • Times of rapid growth and long hours, combined with incredible opportunity
  • Increased complexity, new technologies, new ways of marketing
  • Very timely requests, real time adaptive marketing
  • Changes in overall goals and targets
  • Changes in strategy and priorities
  • So much more!

Every day is an opportunity to learn and grow, and change within your marketing career supercharges your growth!

Image of Change Ahead © iStockPhoto – arcady_31

Small Agencies Rule

Sep. 14

I’m a huge fan of smaller SEM/Digital agencies. I’m good friends with several digital advertising professionals who decided to start their own agencies. They are absolutely thriving! I even considered myself a single-client agency of sorts in years past when working on a consulting project here and there, although it has been a long time. In my professional career, I have had the true pleasure of working with a multitude of agencies of all sizes.

Small SEM Agencies

Over the years, I have grown a true affinity for smaller agencies. You get an unparalleled level of attention and dedication. For a smaller agency, every single client truly matters. I especially respect those smaller agencies that embrace all of the advantages of being smaller while also offering many of the advantages of larger operations (technology, scale, and breadth of experience).

Is was not always easy in the past since technology can be expensive for a smaller operation. However, recent technologies such as Acquisio Dashboard Edition open tremendous doors for smaller agencies everywhere, those who may have a lean technology budget and/or want to expand their technology over time as their agency grows. Acquisio is the performance marketing platform of choice for agencies, so Dashboard Edition is a natural fit.

When my good friends at Acquisio offered me the honor of guest posting on the blog, I thought I’d do a fun post about small agencies. In particular, I offer suggestions on Starting and Growing Your Small SEM Agency. Make sure to head on over to Acquisio to check it out. Thanks, Acquisio, for the opportunity, you are the best!

Image © Acquisio.com

Fun Times Speaking At Google

Sep. 08

I absolutely love public speaking. I always get an incredible rush, especially when speaking to large audiences. It’s also a fun and amazing way to give back to the digital marketing industry, one of my core goals each and every year. I have featured quite a few of my speaking events here on PPC Ian over the years. Here are some of my favorites:

Recently, an amazing opportunity presented itself: I had the incredible honor of speaking to the Google AdWords Product Marketing team. It was a truly amazing experience, one of my favorite speaking opportunities. Formatted as a pure Q&A format, the Google team asked some truly great questions. I particularly enjoyed sharing my large, enterprise-level AdWords experience with Google, and hope my presentation helped spark some ideas in Google’s product marketing roadmap.

I also enjoyed staying after the presentation and forming friendships. It truly is all about your network and friendships, that’s how this unique opportunity presented itself. Matt and Google, I truly appreciate the opportunity, please let me know if I can ever be of assistance!

PPC Ian Speaking At Google

Speaking At Google

Are Junior Level PPC Jobs Disappearing?

Aug. 16

I recently wrote a post about SEM Automation and PPC Careers. An amazing PPC Ian reader (ppcKnight) was wondering in particular if all these amazing automation platforms, those built in-house and those available to purchase, are actually taking away from career opportunities? I shared some of my thoughts on the topic in that post, in particular why I think automation is actually helping build careers in digital marketing. Today, I wanted to answer a follow-up question from another PPC Ian reader (and friend), in response to that post. Sid wonders in particular if those more junior level jobs are becoming irrelevant due to automation. Thanks, Sid for reading and for the inspiration, I really like your question and I’m honored to answer with my 2 cents on the topic!

What About Junior Level Jobs In SEM? Are They Going Away?

Get Your Dream Job

Hi Ian,
It’s always very nice to read your blog. Of course, adopting the automation within the SEM will certainly help a company to scale or ramp up the campaigns and diversify your skills and driving new initiatives. However, the automation will eradicate entry level jobs within the SEM industry, what do you think? One has to be an expert level to work on the bid management tools like: Marin or Kenshoo or should gain superior knowledge before rubbing hands with the tools. What has been your experience like once you’ve executed the automation? Can you share what kind of jobs were created once the automation was deployed?

Moving forward, companies would like to automate the digital process be it SEM or display network through integrating demand side platform. I look forward to hearing for your thoughts on this.


The Argument In Favor of Junior Level Jobs

Siddharth, thanks again for the question. Here are some of the core reasons I think junior and intermediate level jobs in SEM are here to stay.

  • Certain projects require manual execution. One great example is writing customized ad copy. Another is executing upon an account restructure. While the strategy behind the ad copy approach and the strategy behind the account reorganization may be derived as a team effort (with leadership from more senior team members), there is a clear need for more junior and intermediate level marketers to execute upon the strategy. Many of the SEM accounts in existence today are the result of years and years of different managers. In short, many could use a good reorganization, creating a multitude of manual work.
  • It’s impossible to automate everything. A large number of second and third tier search engines do not offer APIs. For the foreseeable future, I see a more junior/intermediate role in managing/optimizing second tier search engines. It’s incredibly valuable, leveraged work, but requires massive time and attention. With more and more marketing dollars flowing online, marketers need to explore all opportunities including second and third tier engines. Someone needs to manage them.
  • Human interaction cannot be automated. Certain aspects of PPC require frequent human interaction and follow-up. While overall relationship management with search engines is a more strategic, senior role, various day-to-day aspects of the relationship are perfect for someone newer to the PPC career path. For example: Policing your trademark. Even though automated systems exist to locate the offenders, an employee needs to follow up with search engines, websites, and the internal legal team to appropriately address trademark offenses. They never stop, creating an unending queue of work.
  • Someone needs to take notes and document meetings. The plethora of opportunities in digital marketing is unparalleled. I have found it challenging at times to keep everything organized because we move at such a quick pace. Senior leaders on the team can rely on newer team members to document meetings and send out notes.
  • What about testing new keywords and ads? These are two projects at the core of search marketing that will never go away. Automation and platforms make all of this easier, but cannot fully automate it. Why? The best ads have never been created. The best keywords have no search volume because they take advantage of future trends. Start showing up before the trend hits and you will be a true winner. While the more junior team member will work with a more senior team member on the strategy, the process of deploying the keywords and ads is a great project for someone newer to paid search.
  • Great digital marketing platforms are not just for experts. When it comes to build vs. buy decisions on SEM automation, I’m a fan of buying. Why? In house platforms are rarely pretty. They are rarely easy to use for junior team members. However, when you buy a platform, you’re buying not only an amazing back end technology, but also an easy to use front end interface, complete with tutorials and documentation. There is no reason junior employees cannot leverage these platforms, of course with some guidance and supervision from a more senior level team member.
  • As an overall trend, more money is flowing online. With increased money being spent on digital marketing, there is more work. I feel it each and every week – more and more to do, more and more opportunities! With more work, the only way to scale is to hire, expand, and delegate. A well-functioning team requires members of all levels. As digital marketing professionals, we are all stretched for time. I see no end in sight for junior, intermediate, and advanced digital marketing professionals!

Agree, disagree, thoughts? Please write in with your opinions!

Will Automation Destroy Your PPC Career?

Aug. 04

I’m a huge fan of digital marketing automation. I have written extensively about SEM automation here and all of my favorite platforms. One of loyal readers, ppcKnight, wrote in with a super interesting question. (Thank you ppcKnight for reading and for the question, you rule!) I have pasted ppcKnight’s full question below, and here’s the main punchline: Will automation eliminate careers in digital marketing? Today, I will respond to ppcKnight’s question. Preview: I’ll share why automation is absolutely critical. It enhances and grows careers in digital marketing.

Will SEM Automation Eliminate My Career?

Production Automation

Hi Ian, remember me? Long time ago I asked some questions about work-life balance in PPC and you gave some brilliant answers! I now have a new, very important question, and would appreciate to hear your thoughts on that.

I am still at the same company (client side) and am the global PPC Manager. My role is less technical and more… marketing. Recently, our tech guys helped the Director of Online Marketing automate everything (you surely have heard about AdWords API etc) thereby making 80% of the PPC team redundant. That was a lot!

I have heard of slightly similar stories in other client-side PPC departments/teams – If this trend continues, will in-house/client-side PPC become extinct as a career? If not, how can a PPC professional be more valuable than automation, especially in-house/client-side?

Would really really appreciate to hear your thoughts on this, especially because I love my job, I love PPC, but I don’t want to be replaced by a machine…

My 2 Cents On Digital Marketing Automation and Digital Marketing Careers

I’m here to say that SEM automation absolutely does not eliminate careers in digital marketing. In fact, it enhances them! Here’s why:

  • Digital marketing is getting more and more complex by the day! Digital marketing professionals are doing even more than before, with no end in sight. Many digital marketing professionals are expanding from Google AdWords and Bing Ads to manage new programs such as Facebook, LinkedIn, display advertising, retargeting, and so more. Many digital marketers are taking control of new programs, including the customer experience. I, for one, love utilizing ion interactive for building incredibly sophisticated landing page experiences. Many digital marketing professionals are venturing into other closely related marketing channels such as email marketing and even direct mail. Many digital marketers are testing new beta opportunities on Google AdWords and Bing Ads, expanding the sophistication of their core programs. The only way to scale, in my opinion, is via automation. Automate as much as possible so you can focus on new initiatives and new complexities. Automation is your key to career growth.
  • Advertising dollars are shifting online at a rapid pace. Competition in many/most categories is increasing with little relief in site. The only way to keep your edge? Innovation! Marketers are being challenged to push the limits of digital advertising. I’m a huge proponent of automation because it offers precision and scale. Let computers do the manual stuff so you can focus on clever new strategies to outsmart your competition. As marketers we are judged on performance. Automation is your friend in hitting your numbers and goals.
  • Humans are incredibly smart and creative. As marketers we deserve to be thinking about marketing strategy. I’m talking about truly knowing the customer and crafting amazing campaigns. This vision becomes so much more possible with great automation. Automate the routine, manual tasks so you can focus on the higher level strategy. While automation may change the day-to-day of many online marketers (less manual, repetitive work), those same marketers will now be focused on new, more exciting challenges. Automation grows careers and allows marketers to push our industry forward with new strategies.
  • Automation requires incredibly intelligent marketers to set up and manage the system. Many savvy marketers are integrating automation deeply into their organizations. They’re starting to import CRM data into their bid management platform so the automation can bid even more efficiently. Such integration requires a truly seasoned marketer, one who can work cross-functionally throughout their organization. There are always more opportunities to integrate. There are always increased opportunities to leverage automation in new ways. Platforms are always releasing new features that will help you and your company scale. Exciting work for digital marketing professionals, especially those that can manage the technology platforms, has no end in sight!
  • Automation helps grow teams. I have managed digital marketing programs at four large companies during my career in online advertising. In all four cases, we implemented and grew our automation. In all four cases, we actually ended up expanding our teams as automation grew. Why? Complex programs need amazing teams. As programs grow, companies make more money. With more money, comes more responsibility and more future opportunity. There’s no better way to tap into that opportunity than to hire world class marketers. As someone who has embraced automation for ten years, I have never seen automation actually shrink a digital marketing team. It’s always the other way around!

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but just a few of the top reasons why careers in SEM and digital advertising are here to stay. In my opinion, technology and automation increase the need for talented individuals. What do you think? How has automation impacted your team and digital marketing program? Do you leverage a digital marketing technology platform? If not, make sure to start auditioning right away, you will be super impressed!

Image of Production Automation © iStockPhoto – ralex3D