Fun Times Speaking At SMX East New York

Oct. 04

This past week, I spoke about Advanced PPC Bidding Strategies at SMX East, New York. It was so much fun. Today, I wanted to share my experience and some cool pictures.

My Speaking Opportunity: It’s All About Great Friendships

Ian and Leo SMX East

PPC Ian and Leo Polanowski (Head of Client Services, Americas – Yahoo!)

If you’ve been reading PPC Ian for a while, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of public speaking. Earlier this year, for example, I enjoyed being the Keynote Speaker At A Big YPO Event. When this SMX East opportunity presented itself, I just had to make it happen! It’s all about networking with the best and brightest in the industry. It’s all about giving back and Associating With Great People. Network in the right way (build real friendships and help others), and these great opportunities have a way of presenting themselves! I’m truly thankful for my friends in the industry who made this opportunity a reality.

My Experience Attending and Speaking At SMX East

Ian and Jay Speaking At SMX East

PPC Ian and Jay Stampfl Speaking At SMX East

The highlight of my trip to New York was speaking at SMX East. When it comes to public speaking, it’s all about preparation. I actually prepared my presentation a few months ago. To commemorate my 10-plus years in the industry, I decided to present 10 lessons learned on advanced PPC bidding strategies (actually there was an 11th tip too, a bonus one). While my presentation was prepared months ago, it’s all about adding value far above-and-beyond the words printed on the slides. As such, I spent a good amount of time the days leading up to my presentation practicing, writing down notes, and finalizing my presentation. I found that this last minute prep work truly adds value and makes for a stellar presentation.

And, it went flawlessly. I was part of an exciting panel with two other leaders in digital marketing: Jay Stampfl from 3Q Digital and Lauryan Feijen from iProspect. Our panel was moderated by Brad Geddes, another leader in digital marketing. I really enjoy panels because they offer the presenter the opportunity to collaborate and form great friendships. Also, they offer the audience a variety of different viewpoints on the same topic, which is always cool. All three of our presentations were really great, and the questions from the audience kept coming. Really fun times!

Aside from the speaking, the overall SMX East conference and New York experience was amazing. I stayed at the Sheraton New York Times Square. They treated me like a king. Times Square itself was really cool. I enjoyed meeting up with several friends during my trip, including Leo Polanowski (Head of Clients Services, Americas at Yahoo!) and Robby (one of my old friends, a veteran in our indsutry). I found the food in New York truly delicious, especially the the pizza. The weather was stellar (70s), and the week couldn’t have gone better. I left energized and excited about our industry! I also left feeling truly thankful that I have a boss and employer who supported me through the entire process. Thanks, SMX East, for the great opportunity and fun times!

Pictures From SMX East 2014 and My Trip To New York

SMX East Javits Center

Sheraton New York

New York Times Square

Sheraton New York View

New York Pizza

Images in this post © PPCIan.com

Acquisio Gives Back To The Kids

Sep. 28

I’m a tremendous fan of the digital marketing career path. Those of us who work hard in digital marketing are able to build truly exciting and rewarding careers. I’m also a tremendous fan of giving back. When you have built a rewarding career, you’re in the driver’s seat to give back. Nicole and I recently participated in (and donated money to) the 20th Annual Lupus 5k, for example.

Today, I wanted to highlight a company that has truly gone above-and-beyond, Acquisio. Each year, my good friend Marc Poirier, Co-Founder and EVP of Business Development, participates in the Make-A-Wish Foundation 48-Hour Ride. This year, Marc personally raised $10,945. In total, Acquisio raised $37,702. Simply amazing!

I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Marc and the entire Acquisio team. They are true leaders in our industry from a technology standpoint, and also a generosity standpoint. Their hard work will truly make a difference for the kids. Do you have any team charity events planned? No matter how big or small, no matter whether you are donating money or your time, every little bit counts! And, it’s a great vehicle for team building!

If you’d like to contribute to Marc Poirier’s Make-A-Wish campaign, you can still do so! I was actually a little bit late this time, and my donation went through just fine. Please consider donating to Make-A-Wish, make a difference in a kid’s life today!

Make-A-Wish

Maui 2014, It Was Amazing

Sep. 07

"At the Sheraton, they treat you like a King," one of my good friends from Stanford once said. Well, this has never been more true than at the Sheraton Maui at Black Rock. Nicole and I just got back from a fabulous 7-night vacation and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. We try to visit Hawaii every year, and this year’s vacation was one of the best. (We actually visited the Big Island of Hawaii last year for an amazing 7-night stay at the Marriott Waikaloa Village. Unfortunately, I was so busy at that time that I never got around to blogging about it. Not this time… It’s time to talk about incomparable Maui, Hawaii…)

Kaanapali Beach, Where It’s At

I love Kaanapali beach. A truly magnificent setting, Kaanapali beach is home to some of the best hotels on Maui. Kaanapali is special for a multitude of reasons:

Sheraton Maui Buffet

Breakfast Buffet at Sheraton Maui

  1. It’s quiet but also offers a lot to do, all within walking distance.
  2. The waters are calm enough for a novice/intermediate swimmer, but also offer some waves for more advanced swimmers (I really enjoyed boogieboarding last time I was on Kaanapali). You experience a diverse array of wave conditions spanning this incredibly long beach. Right near Black Rock, for example, waters are generally calm with amazing snorkeling. Further down, however, waves are large enough for boogieboarding and surfing.
  3. The hotels are literally right on the beach. The ocean is right at your fingertips. Nicole and I enjoyed a few pool and beach days. We’d get a cabana at the pool and rotate between going in the pool and the ocean. (Cabana days are a great way to relax, more on these later…)
  4. The beach boardwalk path allows you to walk the entire beach, connecting all the hotels and attractions. A stroll on this path never gets old. The scenery of the Island of Lanai (just across the water), the incomparable sunsets (unlike any sunset I have ever seen), or simply the waves crashing will truly make your day.
  5. For those that really love shopping (like Nicole and myself), Whaler’s Village Shopping Center is amazing. I enjoyed shopping at one of my favorite stores, Tory Richard. They also offer outstanding restaurants like Leilani’s (more on this later).
  6. For those that like earning loyalty points at their favorite hotel chain, you’ll find many major brands such as Sheraton (where we stayed this time), Westin (where we stayed last time), Marriott, Hyatt, and more. I was delighted to earn Starwood points while relaxing in paradise.
  7. There is so much here and so much to do, but it’s also incredibly relaxed and quiet. I mentioned this back in point number one but want to reiterate because that’s the true magic, in my opinion. And, given the number of hotels and attractions, it’s hard to believe, but incredibly true.

Highlighting Our Favorite Experiences This Time In Maui

As I get older, I have come to realize that it’s all about special experiences. Special moments spent on vacation with your loved ones are worth every last penny, and are the times in life that I truly cherish. Over the years, I have learned that these breaks are mandatory to recharge my batteries, and stay healthy. I encourage you to also take time for yourself! In the spirit of priceless memories, I want to transition into some of my favorite moments from our 2014 Maui, Hawaii vacation.

Cabana Days

PPC Ian Sheraton Maui Cabana

Maui Pool Cabana Day

The Pool at Sheraton Maui offers an array of cabanas for rent. Knowing that the sun in Hawaii is strong, cabanas offer shade while enjoying the pool and ocean. Not to mention, they offer a bit of privacy, better cushions/comfort, and come with great food and drink service. Nicole and I enjoyed two different cabanas on this vacation, one facing the pool and one facing the ocean. We really enjoyed these lazy days of resting at the cabana, swimming in the Sheraton’s "lazy river-style" pool, and enjoying the ocean. The Sheraton offers cool oversized drink containers that can be purchased and refilled with your favorite beverage. I enjoyed my fair share of lava flows, a delicious tropical mix of Pina Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri in one delicious drink. As incredibly busy marketing professionals, I feel like these days allowed us to recharge our batteries. Getting a healthy dose of UV rays was also very welcomed and refreshing.

Surfing Goat Dairy Farm

Surfing Goat Dairy Maui

Ian and Nicole at Surfing Goat Dairy Farm

We have seen so many amazing things on Maui over the years. Each time, we search for new and special attractions. One of this year’s favorites was Surfing Goat Dairy. Maui (and the Hawaiian Islands in general) attract some of the best farmers around. Not only are the conditions pristine for farming, but the talent is unparalleled. This year, we were captivated by this boutique goat dairy farm. We especially enjoyed feeding the goats and sampling the goat cheese. Our tour guide was really great and even took a picture of us with a cute baby goat in our lap, too cool!

Ocean Vodka Tour

Have you enjoyed Vodka on Hawaiian Airlines? Chances are you have had Ocean Vodka, the official vodka of the airline. While this Vodka producer has been around a while, they only started doing tours a few years back. I was incredibly impressed with the vodka (delicious), the facility, and more than anything the vision. Ocean Vodka was started by the son of a long-time construction family on Maui. He had a unique vision: Create the best vodka around from hand-harvested cane sugar, while leveraging his family’s construction background in building a world-class facility. He found a way to create a special product, build a dazzling facility/operation, incorporate his entire family into the business (even his mom was working there), and achieve true success. These are the types of businesses that impress me the most; Ones that develop top-notch products, and live the dream while doing it.

Dinner At Leilani’s and their Hula Pie

Leilanis Maui Hawaii

Dinner at Leilani’s Maui

The food on Maui is unparalleled. Nicole and I enjoyed dining out at a variety of restaurants. We enjoyed following Yelp which took us to Paia Fish Market in the surfer town of Paia. We enjoyed casual dining at the Sheraton pool while watching the sun set. We enjoyed Kimo’s, an old favorite in downtown Lahaina. We enjoyed the lavish breakfast buffet each morning, offering everything you could ever hope for. Most of all, we enjoyed Leilani’s, a staple of Whaler’s Village. The fish at Leilani’s was so good we want back twice! Tip for those going: Bring back your receipt from the first night and you may be eligible for a free Hula Pie, one of the best deserts I have ever had. The fish and fresh fruit/vegetables on Hawaii are the best in the world, in my opinion.

Chilling In The Ocean

I recently wrote a blog post about the calming power of running called Running Is Clarity. Well, there is an equally calming force out there, the ocean. I enjoyed swimming in the ocean at the end of many days. I’d go out, swim around, tread water for a bit, and see the sights. All the hotels on Kaanapali beach look so incredible from the ocean. It’s so calming in the ocean, and a wonderful way to relax and unwind. If I lived in Hawaii you’d probably find me starting and/or ending each day with some chilling and thinking out in the ocean.

The Road To Hana

There were so many delightful highlights on this year’s Maui trip that I could go on for a long time. However, I’ll continue with just one more, The Road To Hana. if you’ve been to Maui or heard about Maui, you’ve probably heard about The Road To Hana. It’s famous! This incredible road is truly windy and breathtaking. You better bring your best driving skills to The Road To Hana, as its very windy, with many one-lane bridges. We had so much fun seeing the picturesque landscape, stopping to hike and see the sights, and enjoying the beautiful nature that is Maui. We especially enjoyed stopping to hike to waterfalls, and also exploring a beautiful tropical botanical garden.

Sheraton vs. Westin, Two Special Kaanapali Beach Hotels

PPC Ian Banyan Tree Maui

Chilling At The Banyan Tree In Lahaina

Are you thinking about taking a trip to Kaanapali beach? Are you a fan of Starwood properties but unsure which to choose? Having stayed at both the Westin and the Sheraton, I’m here to say that you really can’t go wrong with either, although we slightly prefer the Sheraton. They are both tremendous properties. The Westin offers a super fun waterside (it’s really fast and tall), the Westin name, a central location towards the middle of Kaanapali, proximity to Whalers Village (it’s literally right next door), cool birds (especially flamingos) right in the lobby, and more. However, it’s more of a high rise feel, rooms seem smaller, and self-parking can be incredibly competitive. The Sheraton (the original/first hotel built on Kaanapali) offers a relaxed lower rise feel, very expansive grounds, the best beach on all of Kaanapali, an open feel to the buildings, better/newer rooms, and location near picturesque Black Rock. I only have two areas where the Sheraton could improve: We didn’t get a preview of our hotel bill under the door the night before checkout and they didn’t restock the bottled water in our room. Overall, we slightly prefer the Sheraton, and hope to visit again very soon. Please note that Starwood also offers the Westin Villas further up the coastline (you need a shuttle to get there), but we have not yet visited (other than for dinner) so I’m unable to compare the Villas in this post, but hope to visit one day in the future.

Thanks for reading! Do you enjoy Hawaii? Any unique experiences in Maui?

Want to read about some of our other Hawaii adventures? Make sure to check out some of these blog posts:

More Pictures From Maui, Hawaii

Sugar Cane Maui

Ian and Nicole Maui

PPC Ian Sheraton Maui

PPC Ian Maui Hawaii Tropical Plantation

Maui Sheraton Beach

Maui Hawaii Waterfall

Maui Hawaii Sunset

All images in this this post © PPCIan.com

Running Is Clarity

Aug. 25

If you’ve been reading PPC Ian for a while, you probably know that I enjoy running. You’ll find me running a good 10-12 miles per week. From time-to-time, I enjoy participating in 5K charity races (I’ve even done a 10K and half marathon too). I’m not very fast, but I sure have endurance. More than anything, I enjoy running after a long day of work. For the busy business professional with a demanding schedule and hectic life, running brings clarity.

RunnersI’m here to encourage you to get out there and run! Do you find yourself so busy at work that it’s difficult to take a step back and think strategy? I’m not talking about business strategy here. I’m talking about your life. I’m talking about your future. I’m talking about building your dream life. Thinking about your future requires clarity. It requires slowing everything down. Running brings that clarity and slows the world down.

Some other reasons I recommend running:

  • You get to listen to your favorite music while running, as loud as you’d like! And, you know PPC Ian enjoys bumping that rap music while running (and blogging).
  • Running is an investment in your health, and there is nothing more important than your health. Your health is your longevity. Your health is your energy. Your health is your ticket to living a long life, providing for your family, and getting the most out of your workday.
  • Running helps you sleep better at night. After a long run, I’m so exhausted that I cannot wait to get a solid night’s sleep. Most of us digital marketing professionals probably don’t have problems sleeping anyways (since we work such long hours) but the extra solid sleep is definitely nice.
  • Running is a sport for winners. I cannot tell you how many awesome, amazing people I have encountered at various charity races. Running brings out the best of the best, the real leaders and positive winners.
  • Running is something you can do almost anywhere: Before work, after work, on vacation, during business travel. Running is almost always possible.
  • Running eliminates stress. Difficult workday? Get out there and run your stress away.

Next time you are looking to slow things down and experience clarity, get out there and run as fast and as far as you can!

Image of runners © iStockPhoto – petrelos

Associate With Great People

Aug. 17

Who do you associate with? Is your inner circle uplifting your life and career? Are they pushing you forward and challenging your mind? If your answer is “yes”, you are on a great path. Associating with great people, and great digital marketers, will push your own potential to the maximum.

However, what if that is not the case? What if you’ve got a few bad apples around? They could be in your business/professional life or personal life. If you’re not associating with great people, your progress could be stagnated or, even worse, reversed. While most professionals in digital marketing are great, I have run across a few bad apples over the years.

Today, I’m thrilled to share some tips on how to Associate With Great Digital Marketers. To read my tips, you’ll want to click the previous link and head on over to my friends at 3Q Digital, one of the top digital marketing agencies around. If you’ve been a PPC Ian reader for a while, you may know that I have the honor of guest posting over at 3Q Digital from time-to-time. I’m a tremendous fan of 3Q Digital and hope you enjoy reading today’s guest post. Above and beyond the world of digital marketing, I hope today’s tips help provide food for thought around your overall business and life strategy!

3Q Digital Guest Post Associate Great People

Image in this post © 3Q Digital