We have a stellar line up for SEJ Summit London, which is now mere weeks away, on May 12th. I have been interviewing several of the speakers and am proud to showcase this interview with Jim Banks, who is the Global Head of Biddable Media at Cheapflights. Jim’s presentation is titled, PPC Best Practices: Getting to Your Bottom 10%. Jim and I discuss PPC and digital marketing in more detail below.
We still have a small number of FREE tickets available for our inaugural London marketing event, held at the awesome new Ham Yard Hotel. The SEJ Summit series is possible courtesy of our partner, Searchmetrics. Their “search experience optimization” makes digital marketing better, faster, and more profitable.
Here’s my interview with Jim:
1. You moved from working at a digital marketing agency, BlueGlass, to working in-house at Cheapflights. Can you share two major ways the strategy is different at an agency versus working in-house?
When you work in-house you are privy to a lot of the internal mechanisms of the business, when you work at an agency you only have the single point of entry into the business.
Agency-side you have to juggle the delivery of great results and work under more pressure than you do as part of an in-house team.
At Cheapflights we handle all our biddable activity internally but we use agencies for aspects of our ideation, production, and outreach for other channels within the business.
2. Cheapflights is a global company. What is the top struggle for a global brand in PPC?
Understanding some of the localized idiosyncrasies and traffic mixes that exist from country to country. In some countries the traffic cost is extremely low, but the user engagement is different too, so knowing what those differences are and what to do as a result keep us on our toes.
3. You also work as an advisor for startup companies. What most excites you about working with startups, and what is the top piece of advice you would offer someone who wants to found a startup?
I love the raw enthusiasm and seeing ideas come to life. Challenging start-up owners to make decisions and playing the devil’s advocate is very exciting. My advice to someone thinking of starting something is not to wait until the moment is right, it will never be right. I carry some fortune cookies with me at all times and one of them says if you risk nothing then you risk everything, and starting and growing a business is a risk many are frightened to take, for fear of failing. Every successful entrepreneur fails many times, they just have the resilience to pick themselves up and go right back to it and learn from whatever knocked them down.
4. Your SEJ Summit speech will cover PPC best practices. What are the top three most common mistakes you see companies make in regards to PPC?
Biggest mistakes (of many) are :
- Allowing their strategy to be dictated to by their competitors.
- Being too aggressive when they shouldn’t be and not aggressive enough when they should.
- Relying too heavily on bid management tools to “run” their campaigns.
5. Your presentation will also discuss how most companies’ lead funnels are too wide at the top and too narrow at the bottom. What are the negative implications of trying too hard to convert too many leads?
You can win the battle, but lose the war. Getting a new customer on board should allow you forge a relationship with them longer-term, but if your acquisition strategy or follow-up activity is too pushy they might remove themselves from your list and you have to go back to finding new customers once more. Retention should be a big focus for businesses. If you have high churn on email subscribers, then your effective acquisition cost per list member increases exponentially.
6. One of my favorite things about our industry is things are constantly changing. How do you stay current?
That is so true, and is likely to remain true for the foreseeable future. Each new change presents opportunity and a threat. To stay current, I spend a lot of time reading the S1 filings of soon to be publicly traded companies and the quarterly filings of already established companies. I look for words of opportunity, threat, and risk and because they are publicly traded, which means they have to be completely upfront and accurate.
I also follow a lot of the key industry pundits, like the writers at SEJ on Google+, Twitter, Facebook. I’ve created a lot of Twitter Lists, Google+ circles, and set up notifications for the people who keep themselves ahead of the curve.
Lastly, I use good old-fashioned Google Alerts to do a lot of the heavy lifting, I have set up plenty of alerts to notify me of what is happening.
Once a story breaks we can then see if it is an opportunity or a threat and if action needs to be taken to combat it.
Google in particular will keep us all on our toes with the speed at which they launch new product and features for existing product.
Monitoring stories on Google is definitely a commitment. Thanks for the insight Jim!
Don’t forget, you can request your free ticket for our SEJ Summit London, taking place May 12th at The Ham Yard. You can also come see us in Silicon Valley, NYC, and Atlanta later this year.
Featured image via Shutterstock