I Ran In the 20th Annual Lupus 5K

Jun. 16

Just over a week ago, Nicole and I participated in the 20th Annual 5K Run and Walk For Lupus. Benefiting the Lupus Foundation of Northern California, this great event made an impact on those in need. It was our honor to participate in this particular event for the third time! Here’s a fun photo of PPC Ian after completing the 5K race:

PPC Ian Lupus 5K Run

Each year, the Lupus 5K is held West Valley College in Saratoga, CA. I particularly enjoy this event because of the beautiful setting, in the foothills of Saratoga. It’s a great course with rolling hills and plenty of nature/scenery.

For those who have been following me for a while, you may know that I’m into running quite a bit these days. I’m not a particularly fast runner, but I’m great with long distance and consistency. It’s such a great way to get in shape, clear your mind, and have some time to think. I have found that my running has increased my overall focus and energy. It’s amazing the business and life insights that hit you while running!

It’s equally fun to leverage running as a way to rally behind an important cause. These events are so much fun because they always bring together a top-notch community of winners. Busy professional who’s also looking to stay in shape and give back? Definitely consider some local charity runs this summer! Just remember to stay hydrated and practice.

Image in this post © PPCIan.com

London and Paris, A Vacation To Remember

Jun. 08

Recently, Nicole and I visited London and Paris, truly a journey to remember. I’m so lucky. My amazing wife had a special business opportunity in London, and I just had to tag along. We turned our journey into business and pleasure by extending our time in London, and also visiting Paris. Today, I want to take a moment to share my story and takeaways from this journey. In a nutshell, I loved it, and cannot wait to go back! in fact, this trip re-ignited my passion for travel and changed my travel outlook.

Ian and Nicole Lopuch In London

I’m going to divide this blog post into three sections:

  1. Our Time in London Before Adobe Summit (pleasure/holiday)
  2. Adobe Summit EMEA (business)
  3. Our Time in Paris After Adobe Summit (pleasure/holiday)

Also, you will find pictures throughout the post with a lot of them at the end. Thanks for reading!

Our Time In London

Let me start by saying I can take no credit for this trip. Nicole is the travel/Europe expert between the two of us. She booked everything, and crafted a vacation to remember. I am truly a lucky husband, I hit the jackpot! My half of the bargain: I’m taking us to Hawaii this summer.

Some highlights:

Barbacoa London

When we first arrived at London Heathrow, we took the Paddington Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station. I truly love the trains and public transportation in Europe, and thought the Paddington Express was first class. At Paddington Station, we picked up some neat Paddington Bear stuff. Paddington Bear is the coolest!

We then took a taxi to our hotel, Marriott Grosvenor Square. All I can say is, "Wow!" Definitely the nicest Marriott I have ever stayed in, and one of the nicest hotels overall that I have experienced. The location, amenities, culture, and overall vibe earns Marriott Grosvenor Square 5 stars in my book! Here’s the crazy thing: Everyone kept telling me, "Don’t expect the same amenities/luxuries in Europe as you’re accustomed to in the US." On this trip, the amenities exceeded my wildest expectations, thanks to Nicole booking everything top notch!

My favorite part of the overall trip was these first few "free days" in London. I learned that London is home to more billionaires than any other city in the world. I can certainly see why! We walked around Hyde Park, we went shopping at Harrods, we saw the Michael Jackson Thriller Live show, we went on a double decker bus, we shopped like crazy! As a lifelong Michael Jackson fan, the Thriller Show at Piccadilly Circus was especially fun. A group of amazing performers celebrated the life, legacy, and spirit of Michael Jackson. With so many fun shows to choose from, I hope to return soon to see another.

It’s not only about the big things, however. The small things made London special too. I’m talking about having Pret A Manger at every corner (We love you, Pret, please come to San Francisco), delighting in our daily dose of Costa Coffee, enjoying the language (English in the UK is so neat), admiring the architecture, and enjoying the people. I really enjoy gardening and respect a lush, beautiful garden. We experienced many of these in London. All of that rain (which I personally miss in the midst of our California drought) produces some truly lush gardens.

Adobe Summit EMEA

After a few wonderful days in Central London, we grabbed a taxi to Adobe Summit EMEA. This year’s Summit was at the London ExCeL Center, located near the Docklands. An interesting fact: This year’s EMEA Summit was larger than last year’s Utah Summit. Adobe, you rule!

Adobe Summit EMEA Ian and Nicole

While Nicole was working, I had the pleasure of working too. I attended Summit and learned so much about the Adobe Marketing Cloud. I’ve been fortunate to experience some truly memorable and impactful conferences lately. Everything about Adobe Summit was first class.

More than anything, I enjoyed the people, both the presenters and the Adobe employees. The global perspective had an impact on me. I especially enjoyed hearing brands such as L’OCCITANE, Danone, and Accor present. I was so impressed with the Danone presentation that I actually purchased shares in Danone upon arriving home. (Full Disclosure: Long DANOY.) These companies truly have their eyes set on the future. I was equally impressed with the hospitality and general kind nature of Adobe’s EMEA team. I met with at least five Adobe employees 1:1 and learned so much.

The last night of Summit, we went back to Central London for dinner at Barbacoa, a recommendation from one of Nicole’s colleagues who lives in London. There are no ovens at Barbacoa, everything is prepared via a wood-burning fire. I experienced the best steak of my life. The setting was second to none with amazing views of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Our Time In Paris

Eiffel Tower

After Summit, we took the Eurostar train from London to Paris. I couldn’t believe it: Nearly 200 miles per hour, first class treatment via luxurious seats and a delightful meal on the train, and we’re in another country in less than two hours! Europe has it all figured out when it comes to transportation!

In Paris, Nicole booked us at K+K Hotel Cayre on St. Germain street. We had a top floor corner suite with views of the Eiffel Tower from our balcony. K+K went above and beyond. It’s a boutique hotel so you get a truly personalized level of service. The kind people at the front desk greet you by name, the breakfast buffet is amazing, the rooms cannot be matched. I give K+K my absolute top recommendation.

K+K Cayre Paris

K+K is also all about location. We walked to the Louvre, and saw the Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo. We walked to The Eiffel Tower and enjoyed a Smarties ice cream cone in the park while gazing up at the Tower. We walked to local French cafes and enjoyed watching people walk by.

We also enjoyed a river cruise/tour on the Seine River and shopping on the Champs Elysees. So much amazing architecture and culture in Paris, a truly remarkable city.

So there you have it: Europe vacation 2014. I brought a lot of Europe home with me: The culture, the friendships, the passion for walking and being fit/healthy, the overall global perspective. There is so much out there, and I truly cannot wait to visit again. We had an amazing vacation, and I’d truly recommend that anyone considering making the trip goes for it! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the photos below.

More Cool Pictures From Our Trip

Marriott Grosvenor Square

London Red Phone Booth

Thriller Live London

Adobe Summit PPC Ian

Adobe Summit EMEA 2014

Disclaimer: Not a licensed investment advisor. This is not investment advice. Just for entertainment purposes.
Full Disclosure: Long DANOY

All images in this post © PPCIan.com

What’s Going On In The World of PPC Ian?

Jun. 04

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on PPC Ian. I’m so incredibly excited to be blogging again. I wanted to take a moment to share some exciting updates so you know what’s going on in the world of PPC Ian. Also, I wanted to share some recent thoughts on life and business. First, a cool picture, from my recent London/Paris vacation:

Ian Lopuch In London

Let’s start with some fun updates. Why haven’t I been blogging as much?

  • My wife, Nicole, and I recently traveled to London and Paris. Nicole had business in London so I made sure to take advantage of this amazing opportunity and tag along. Above, you can see a cool picture of PPC Ian in London! I plan on doing an entire post about our journeys in Europe. We had the time of our lives, and experienced so much amazing culture. My London/Paris post is going to be a long one, reminiscent of some of my old Hawaii posts. (Side note: We visited Hawaii last summer, and I never blogged about it. So bummed out that I never wrote about that vacation, I’m going to make sure to blog about London/Paris soon.)
  • While in London, I attended Adobe Summit EMEA, one of the best digital marketing conferences I have ever experienced. There have been a lot of these lately. (Check out my post about AdWords Performance Forum 2014.)
  • I’ve been running, a lot. I’m slowly but surely getting back into great shape. My strategy of running right after work before I ever head home has been working wonders. I’m putting my tips about Great Ways To Exercise During The Workday into action, and even have a 5k run coming up soon. I’m a huge believer that exercise and a healthy lifestyle lifts one’s overall well-being.
  • I have been given a tremendous amount of responsibility at work. I do not think I have ever worked so hard in my entire career. It’s simply amazing, and I’m honored to be in such a fortunate and exciting position. My hard work is truly paying off. This has given me a little less time for other endeavors, such as updating this blog, but I’m determined to make just a little time for myself each and every day, and take my efficiency and productivity to a whole new level. With less time and more responsibility comes the need to work with great speed.

With my recent European travels and responsibility at work, many exciting thoughts and theories have been running through my mind. Here are some of my high level thoughts and priorities:

  • There is so much cool stuff out there. It had been quite some time since I have had the opportunity to visit London and Paris. This vacation truly opened my eyes, and re-ignited my passion for travel. I’m looking forward to future opportunities to travel to exciting places.
  • Work time and personal time is a blur. I’m basically working days, nights, and weekends. Fortunately, I do what I love, leading an amazing team of professionals and helping others (through the practice of Customer Acquisition Marketing). That said, it’s easy to get bogged down in the work and forget about yourself. I’m consciously trying to set time aside to exercise, write, and get personal stuff done. Modern-day tech jobs are very different than traditional employment. I’m extending a very flexible work environment to myself and my team, understanding that personal stuff needs to be blended in throughout the day during breaks. I’m looking at things more as a continuum as compared to work time vs. personal time.
  • When you’re really busy, don’t forget about the people. I have personally caught myself from time-to-time keeping conversations very short/frank to optimize time. I’m all about time-optimization and productivity. However, people are the one place where you do not want to cut corners. It’s all about relationships and people. For that reason, and because I love helping others, I’m trying to be more productive while maintaining my high level of priority on the friendships and partnerships that truly matter.
  • It’s ok to say “no”, you can’t do everything. Focus in on the people and opportunities that matter the most. Say “no” to the rest. Invest where you are doing good and/or where you will see returns in the future.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted here at PPC Ian, so I truly appreciate all of you who are still reading and hanging around! Your support means so much, and I’m wishing you all the best.

Image of Ian Lopuch in London © PPCIan.com

Elevating Your Search and Social Programs

May. 09

There’s been a clear theme in our industry: Everything is connected! When you’re running solid PPC and SEO programs in tandem, 1 + 1 = 3. There is a multiplier effect, especially when the intersections are managed thoughtfully. While most subscribe to the network effect of PPC and SEO, I wanted to share another network effect today, the one between Search and Social. Long story short: If you manage Search but aren’t involved in your Social program (or vice versa), you are leaving some serious opportunity on the table. It’s time to get involved!

Kenshoo Search and Social Guide

To illustrate this point, I’d like to share Kenshoo’s latest free whitepaper, The Kenshoo Guide To Search and Social Intersections. I just finished reading this free 18-page whitepaper and it’s awesome, a must-read. (If you’ve been reading PPC Ian for a while, you know I’m a fan of whitepapers and always enjoy sharing my favorite ones here. They provide such an easy and leveraged way to bring bright new ideas to your organization.)

So, what did I learn in Kenshoo’s new whitepaper? Some highlights:

  • The four largest reasons why Search and Social are the next channels that should be integrated at any organization. Kenshoo makes it very clear and helps provide rationale you can leverage at your own company, as you pitch the idea.
  • The ways in with Search and Social complement each other. (Digging into the PPC Ian vaults, I also recommend checking out my review of Kenshoo’s prior whitepaper, Facebook Advertising Boosts Paid Search Performance. This is another great read, with clear evidence on how Facebook Ads assist the PPC channel.)
  • So you’ve decided to integrate Search and Social… Well, what does that look like? Kenshoo provides specific examples of Search signals for Social and Social Signals for Search. It’s a two-way street and you can clearly see how each channel complements the other. You’ll take away tactical insights on things you can do right now to amplify those synergies.
  • Channel integrations can present challenges. I enjoyed learning about potential challenges and also solutions for those challenges.
  • Kenshoo brings it home with advice on adding value to the rest of the marketing plan. We’re mid-year, but that doesn’t mean your marketing plan cannot change, especially as you plan for Q4 (retail vertical, anyone?). Now is the time to lock down your plan, and see how a Search and Social integration project could add substantial value to your plan.

With the weekend approaching, make sure to take some time for education and reflection. Read a whitepaper each weekend, such as this one, and you will be a superstar at your company, full of new ideas each and every week!

Image of The Kenshoo Guide to Search and Social Intersections © Kenshoo

AdWords Performance Forum (APF) 2014 Ruled

Apr. 27

Digital marketing is the career path that never gets boring. This past week, I had the honor and pleasure of attending Google’s exclusive AdWords Performance Forum (APF) 2014. For those who have been reading PPC Ian for a while, you may remember that I blogged about AdWords Performance Forum 2013 last year. Last year’s APF was truly amazing, at the W Hotel in San Francisco. This year, in my opinion, Google outdid themselves. They pulled out all stops and delivered a conference that was the best I have experienced in my career. Today, I’m thrilled to share my personal experience at APF 2014. I’m also thrilled to share many photos throughout this post taken at the event!

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay: An Incomparable Setting

It all starts with the setting. This year Google decided to host the event at the incomparable Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. As someone based out of the Silicon Valley, I have experienced the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay before, and it’s one of my favorite hotels. This time, however, I experienced it like never before. Google placed me in an ocean front suite, provided amazing food and beverages, set up some of the coolest networking events ever, and made it a true pleasure. I especially appreciated the fact that I could walk right outside of my hotel room and go for a morning jog along the beautiful beach. (Side note: 2014 is the year that PPC Ian truly integrates exercise into his daily routine, no matter what!) Google truly appreciates their largest advertisers, and the choice in venue made that incredibly apparent. It was so easy for me since the drive to/from the Ritz was beautiful and scenic, especially with my convertible top down. This is the good life.

Google Self-Driving Car

AdWords Performance Forum: Google Pulled Out All Stops

Have you ever been to a conference where 20+ new Google products are released? Have you ever been to a conference where the seating is so comfortable that you never get tired of the event? (I could not believe the comfort. Google had us sitting in leather chairs/sofas that each had their own little swiveling table with power cords to any device you’d want to charge.) Have you ever been to a conference where everyone who attends gets a free Android tablet, and not the cheap one either, the 32 GB model? Have you ever been to an event where the networking feels like the "who’s who" of digital marketing? I could go on and on, Google pulled out all stops. I literally could not stop sharing my business card and writing notes the entire time. When you look at the networking benefits, the planning/roadmap benefits, and the simple fact that I went away energized and motivated, you really cannot beat this opportunity.

AdWords Performance Forum 2014 Tablet

My Personal Highlight: PPC Ian is Featured at APF 2014

I’m not going to get in to the specifics of my particular lessons at this event. A lot of it was NDA-only so I’m unfortunately not able to share. That said, if you have a Google Account Management team, make sure to stay in close contact. Ask them about the AdWords Performance Forum. See if they’re able to share the roadmap and product announcements. Google has always been such an amazing partner who "gets it". Ask and you very well may receive! Even if you don’t have a dedicated team, follow the Google blogs closely. There is some truly amazing stuff on the way.

PPC Ian AdWords Performance Forum

Now, one thing I am able to share is the fact that PPC Ian got featured! I really couldn’t believe this. My team and I had worked with Google on a really cool case study, all about the brand impact of Display Advertising. In one of their sessions about Display, Google featured our case. Additionally, they had a screenshot of PPC Ian on the big screen and even gave me a shout out. I was humbled and in a state of disbelief. How cool is that? PPC Ian has really made the big time now. Google actually used my blog to make a point. The very man who has branded himself as PPC Ian (PPC stands for "pay per click") is now an incredible fan of Display Advertising, so much of a fan that he’s doing case studies with Google. This makes a point or two about the current state of Display Advertising on Google and how amazing it is. It’s Brad Bender (Director, Product Management at Google) that put me on the big screen, and I truly thank you Brad!

Matt Lawson: The Industry Leader and Guru Behind The Event

Ian Lopuch and Matt Lawson

Matt Lawson and Ian Lopuch

Who’s been reading PPC Ian for 4+ years? For those long time supporters, you may recall that I did an interview with Matt Lawson a few years back. Matt is now the Director, Search Ads Marketing at Google and was responsible for AdWords Performance Forum 2014.

I had the true pleasure of spending time with my old friend and witnessing first hand his masterpiece: Strategizing and executing upon the best digital marketing event I have ever attended. Matt is a true leader in our industry and I wanted to take this opportunity to personally say "thank you". It was my honor to attend. It was my honor to do the case study with your team. I look forward to many more future events like this one, and am always here to help in any way I can. Google has hired the best-of-the-best with industry veteran and leader, Matt Lawson.

I’m Officially Energized and Motivated Thanks To Google

Do you get a rush from public speaking? AdWords Performance Forum certainly provided that opportunity with the ability to ask questions to Product Managers and leaders at Google, in front of an audience of hundreds. I got a few fun questions in there. Combining this amazing opportunity with everything discussed above, I left the conference energized and more motivated than ever before. Our industry is going places, and Google is leading the way. Thanks, Google, for an amazing experience and I hope to see you again at AdWords Performance Forum 2015!

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

Images in this post © PPCIan.com