Paid search marketing (PPC): it’s time to do it properly

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I was prompted to post this time by an article I read on Econsultancy. The article, Is your PPC Agency Underperforming? Some Warning signs, highlights some of the things you should watch out for. Certainly these would make me suspicious, but I think you need to go deeper than that.

Now don’t take this as a sales pitch because it’s not. However, what is interesting is that we at The Black Hole have recognised that it was time to get back to marketing basics in PPC. As I’ve said many times on here, online marketing is marketing.

My experience is that more often than not there is very little marketing involved in how PPC is provided. Because PPC grew through the initial successes of technical people operating in a very immature and target rich environment, many of the suppliers don’t have a marketing background. They have never worked with a marketing test and learn methodology that we as marketers have by “instinct”.

Similarly it’s wrong to think of PPC as a media buy. I think that many times media buying is given a bad rap, and that the knowledge and skill that goes into is is not recognised by all clients. That being said though, PPC is not a media buy.

When buying media you have a defined target customer that you are trying to deliver your message to. You have already been through the process of understanding the cutomer’s position on the customer journey in the creation of the message. The media buyers job is to take the message and then find the right channel to put it into.

With PPC the job of the PPC marketer is to consider where the customer is on the customer journey and not only choose the channel (the keyword) but also what needs to said. PPC “media buying” is media buying and strategic planning.

Now for many years PPC agencies have grown with either this technical or media background. We believe that with PPC being under the greatest pressure it ever has, and with it being asked to deliver more and more, continued success comes from being smarter with your PPC, working and applying marketing principles harder to find the value. That’s what we found that the market needed. This Econsultancy article would seem to suggest the same.

That’s why we created Forensic PPC – not PPC on a whole new level as we first thought. But actually PPC as it should be done, as one of our search marketing managers pointed out. PPC marketing needs more marketing – we think we can help!

I’d be interested to know what you think.

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On 11 September 2009

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