#PPCFright2014 Day 9: 7 Deadly Sins of PPC Management

You’ve been careful – watching for Zombies and things that go bump in the night. You’re prepared to survive a PPC horror story should one arise but what if you’re in one already and you just haven’t realized it yet? You’ve been on the lookout for stranger danger and you know better than to keep your back to a window, so how could this happen?  Sometimes it’s not the people you don’t know, it’s the people you do.  (Cue the music!)

Image By Joby Cummings

Image By Joby Cummings

Below are the 7 Deadly Sins of PPC Management and they don’t call ‘em deadly for nothin’.  These seven traits can wreak havoc on performance and relationships alike. If you sense that your agency may be guilty of one or more of these traits, it may be time to have a chat about the future.

Lust – an intense desire.

At some point in every marketer’s life, we are faced with what seems like an awesome opportunity with only one catch: we don’t have the experience required.  With that opportunity comes a fork in the road.  The path to the right (also known as the “right path”) is to tell the truth and provide a plan to compensate for the lack of experience, hoping that the prospective client will concede. The path to the left is to blur the truth, or flat out lie, believing that the opportunity is within reach if the prospect hears what they want to hear.

Setting false expectations will only lead to frustration.  The honest person may not always get the business but when they do, they can feel much more comfortable about being transparent and, odds are, the client will, too.

Gluttonyover-consumption to the point of waste.

As marketers, it’s our job to feed the sales funnel with consumers who are ready to buy. Sometimes, we find ourselves in a position to determine whether we want more volume or lower CPAs.  Generally, the CPA can increase slightly in the interest of volume but there are a lot of internal factors (margin, inventory, etc).

With every marketing campaign, there’s a point of diminishing return.  A good agency will work with clients to ensure that they are getting the most bang for their buck without hitting that point.  For instance, If the call center is swamped and can’t possibly close any additional leads, then the marketing dollars might be moved to a tactic that will elicit form fills or e-mail responses.  If the sales team is completely and holistically swamped, it might be time to circle up with all teams to discuss process.

The key here is making sure that marketing dollars are resulting in sales. Otherwise, they are simply going to waste.

Greed – excessive desire and pursuit of material possessions, especially by means of trickery, or manipulation of authority.

Unfortunately, greed can be applied to PPC management in many ways.  From a technical sense, we’ve all seen the sneaky tactics used to either generate sales for a customer, or worse, pad the pocket of the managing consultant. Generally, it’s easy to spot someone that is purposefully disregarding policy and the search engines have really beefed up their systems to detect and shut down these occurrences.

The “right and wrongs” of account management might seem a little more hazy but they shouldn’t.  Percent of spend agreements are meant to be mutually beneficial for the client and the agency. Sometimes they go awry when the agency can’t see past the dollar signs. A good agency keeps the client’s goals in mind, even if that means pausing things that aren’t working and decreasing spend when it’s in the client’s best interest (see Gluttony!).

Sloth – failure to do things one should do.

The great thing about digital marketing is that we have the power to make real-time changes coupled with tons of performance data. Needless to say, it’s not good when things start to become stagnant.

With automated rules, enhanced CPCs, and various other settings to assist in campaign management, it’s no surprise that some campaigns don’t get the attention they deserve.  Still, there’s no substitute for hands-on management.

Wrath –  rage, anger and spite.

“Wrath” is most often seen in an agency scorned.  It stinks to lose a client, it really does. Still, unless you want to guarantee that you’ll never work with them again (or anyone they know), it’s probably best not to be childish, rude, or otherwise difficult.  It’s not fun to onboard a client who’s having trouble getting their MCC out of the hands of their previous agency and I can only imagine the stress the business must feel in these situations.

Envylike greed and lust, characterized by an insatiable desire. Obsessing over “competitors”.

It’s good to have an agency that actively tests messaging, channels, settings, keywords and the whole nine yards.   Even if the budget isn’t currently available for expansion, it’s always good to have ideas.  A problem occurs when your agency seems more preoccupied with the channels that are handled by another agency than the ones that they are responsible for. This can be tricky because some agencies have multiple specialties and may genuinely be trying to help.  You should be concerned if it begins to feel like your agency’s goals revolve around the conquest of more channels in order to increase management fees as opposed to performance.

Pridearrogance, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others.

The digital marketing landscape is ever-changing. That’s why we love it, right? The constant flow of changes requires professionals to be agile and flexible, leaving no room for arrogance. There’s no shortage of resources for a person to stay up to date, as long as they are humble enough to take advantage of them.

Do you have more examples to add to the list? Leave them in the comments! Check back tomorrow for Day 10 of our 13 Days of PPC Fright #PPCFright2014!