How long have you been working in PPC?
Since around 1999 on the goto.com platform. After around 2001-2002, Yahoo search marketing and Google quickly grew into our main PPC work. Now LinkedIn is growing fast for us as a client platform.
How did you get started in PPC?
I had a web design firm and charged for traffic as part of the hosting and retainer fees. I marked up the traffic costs to clients and then optimized my own PPC expenses with software (running on my office PC 24×7) My software would bid adjust every 15 minutes or so.
In the meantime, we did SEO work for the client to improve the organic traffic mix.
If you went to college, what did you study? If not college, do you have any other degrees or certifications?
Computer Science. I have a BS degree with a minor in Math.
What was your first job that involved PPC?
Site Creations, Inc… my own site design firm, and PPC was offered starting around 1999. I started this after leaving the Silicon Valley where I was a software engineering manager. I moved to Lexington, KY where my wife was recruited to manage firmware development teams at Lexmark (the printer company.)
What is your current position and how long have you been in it?
Owner of the agency – Buzzmaven. I started it in 1998 and have been doing this since. My wife Heather is my business partner now.
What kinds of things do you currently handle or manage in PPC?
Has your career path had any hiccups or nontraditional aspects that you’d like to share?
A nontraditional thing at the time? We moved from the heart of the Silicon Valley to Lexington, KY in 1997 where I was working remotely full time for valley firms as a s/w engineering manager and then clients as the web took off. I think this was really strange to many people (especially those who know little about Lexington!) but in the past couple of years, many others are thinking about doing similar kinds of moves as remote work becomes normalized… all these years later! . It worked out great for me and my family. I think you’re going to see a lot more of this.
What are you most proud of in your PPC career?
Having multi billion dollar companies to seek our tiny agency regularly for help. I’m flattered to have such a high level of influence and to be so immersed in lots of interesting businesses.
What, if anything, do you wish you could “do over” in your PPC career?
I would have spawned a multi-location specialty PPC agency for franchises and developed software to manage those on a performance basis. There was a window of opportunity in the late 2000s for this. I don’t think it could be done now.
Also… I think I should have been a heavier user of phone tracking software earlier. Lots of PPC traffic turned into phone calls that we didn’t get credit for.
If you could give advice to someone either considering or just starting out in PPC, what would that be?
Become an analytics expert and deep dive into the economics of business – online and offline. Even many medium large business owners are clueless about the economics of digital marketing. Many never consider opportunity costs of poor digital marketing.
Also, learn a lot about UX design and CRO. If the engagement after the click doesn’t happen, your PPC capabilities will never truly shine.
Are you interested in speaking opportunities? If so, what topics are your jam?
Yes. B2B digital marketing at enterprise level. LinkedIn is becoming a bigger part of our day.. We also spend a lot of time in audience development.. ABM is starting to become part of digital marketing and we predict working more and more with account-based strategies.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I cherish the friendships I’ve developed in SEO and PPC all of these years. So many awesome people are in this industry. I hope that conferences will start up again soon so I can see everyone again.
Where can people find you to connect (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)?