5 % marketing instructions from a B2B growth Marketer


As a primarily organic marketer, working for an ad tech brand has been one of the most amazing phases of my career.

When I joined Optmyzr a little over two years ago, I had no idea that I would learn so much about PPC advertising in such a short time.

Between our clients, my colleagues, and the paid search community that has welcomed me with open arms, I’ve been more involved in PPC in the last two years than in the rest of my career combined.

Like any smart marketer, I listened carefully and took notes.

Between that and managing my own campaigns, I’ve amassed a relative wealth of PPC knowledge.

These are the five most important lessons from my time leading marketing for a PPC ad tech startup brand.

1. Treat your ad budget like an investment budget

Walled gardens, monopolies, platforms—whatever you call them, the various places companies can advertise aren’t known for collaborating well.

Despite low data visibility and shifting controls, true multi-channel advertising isn’t really a viable approach.

But just because each platform’s campaigns are separate, it’s not a good idea to rely entirely or excessively on a single ad platform:

  • New features (such as Google’s changes for maximum performance and keyword match type) it can wipe out your entire advertising program.
  • You are missing out on potential customers who block/ignore ads on your platform or don’t use it at all.
  • External influences such as market economics and regulatory changes can do anything from raising costs to making the entire platform moot.

Between platform-side automation and an increasingly demanding online audience, it’s important to spice up your PPC mix if you haven’t already.

2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew

In an effort to spread your budget across multiple channels, don’t rush to the other extreme and invest in too many different ones.

Not only will you end up with campaigns that don’t have enough money behind them, but you risk putting too much pressure on your team.

Since I joined Optmyzr as the first marketing hire, we have grown our team at a rate that is healthy for our level of revenue.

No one on the team is expected to work 60 hour weeks, have 10 different channels, or otherwise push their physical and mental limits.

Accordingly, we approached advertising (and marketing in general) with the understanding that we did not have the same power as a heavily funded organization.

For example, if your entire marketing team consists of three people, it’s not wise to advertise on half a dozen channels.

You’ll compromise your testing and campaign efforts, neglecting the additional costs of other marketing needs.

Internal teams should start by testing everything, then switch to a 1-2-1 approach:

  • 1 primary platform that gives you the best results and requires a larger portion of your budget (eg Google Ads across multiple inventory types).
  • 2 secondary platforms for a niche audience or goals (eg YouTube to grow your video audience and Twitter to grow your mailing list).
  • 1 experimental platform for testing new ideas (e.g. Instagram Stories advertising).

Then as you grow your team, tile each level from top to bottom.

3. Branding is important, even with PPC

I know a lot of PPC experts think otherwise, but I’ve always been a fan search term brands for a few reasons:

  • Already some level of purpose to your product.
  • Ask for space which your competitors cannot now.
  • A place to try different offers and messages.

Branded search traffic is cheap, easy to get and allows you to take advantage of a range of business opportunities.

I’ve used branded terms to drive traffic spikes after high-profile events, tailor offers to specific queries (such as those involving “ratings” or “prices”), and lower customer acquisition costs by shortening the time between discovery and conversion.

4. Focus on offer, targeting and creative in that order

I earned my marketing credentials as a creative (specifically a copywriter with an art director partner), so I’ve always placed a high value on well-designed ads.

But the more I worked as a strategist, the more I realized that supply has an advantage.

Offers include aspects of messaging and positioning and most often manifest as text – be it headlines, dialogue or voice.

This is what allows you to occupy a specific place in the minds of your ideal customers and consider your unique strengths rather than the weaknesses of your competitors.

As for the creatives themselves, the longer I work in marketing, the less I expect ads to follow brand guidelines or even look like ads.

Customers become defensive the moment they feel they’re being sold to, so pattern breaks can be positively disarming.

I’ve seen unconventional ad formats like customer testimonial videos win battles that “on brand” photos couldn’t.

Without a solid offer and precise targeting, even the most amazing creatives will struggle to convert.

In my experience, these three things are easier said than done, but essential to PPC success.

Great deals can still succeed with mediocre ads, complicated account structures, and less than perfect targeting.

With weak offers presented as attractive ads in well-built accounts and campaigns, this is rarely the case.

5. Advertising is more than Google and Meta

Both platforms offer a level of reach and diversity that is hard for most advertisers to ignore.

Google’s inventory includes search, email, YouTube, and other most visited websites; Meta’s network includes some of the world’s most popular apps on Facebook and Instagram.

In addition to these two networks, there is a whole world of advertising possibilities:

  • Microsoft Ads offers a lot of visibility and control that advertisers are missing from Google.
  • Amazon is a marketplace you can’t just ignore if you sell a physical product at retail.
  • TikTok and Snapchat are great ways to reach younger audiences.
  • Spotify lets you play with audio in a way that few other digital channels allow.
  • Sponsoring a newsletter or community offers consistently higher user intent even if they are not exclusively PPC advertising.

A few years ago I was on a team that was advertising to a limited market on one channel.

When we exhausted the audience available on this platform, all future leads were people who had converted in the past or were labeled closed-lost.

Switching to another channel meant starting work from scratch and learning the nuances of a completely new advertising platform, while at the same time ensuring the quantity and quality of potential customers far below expectations.

The single most valuable feature in PPC and marketing

Sometimes I think back to what digital marketing and PPC advertising looked like in 2010 when I started my career and realize that no one back then could have predicted what it looks like today.

Almost all best practices—many of which were focused on achieving goals and nothing else—have given way to those more focused on automation, user experience, and accessibility.

If you had told me in 2012 that I would one day frown upon blogging, I would have laughed.

Given how quickly our industry is changing, flexibility is the most important trait to cultivate.

Being tied to a single advertising platform, format, technique, strategy or mindset can stagnate your progress as a marketer without even realizing it.

Then one day you realize that everything around you has changed and everyone but you turned the playing field in their favor.

In all my conversations with PPC strategists and account managers—agency and in-house—this may be the one piece of advice I hear consistently and repeatedly: adapt or be replaced.

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Featured image: NFstock/Shutterstock


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