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Marketing morsels from: Jeff Allen

Published: November 16, 2012

Author: Molly Shotwell

Our interview series of the industry’s best continues with insights from Hanapin Marketing‘s Jeff Allen, who has worked in Internet marketing since May of 2000. Jeff is the leading contributor to the PPCHero.com blog, works with accounts that range from mid-sized businesses to billion-dollar global conglomerates, and has spoken at SES, Hero Conf, SMX, and the Acquisio User Summit.
Jeff Allen Hanapin MarketingName: Jeff Allen
Title: Account Director
Company: Hanapin Marketing
What’s the first metric you check when you start work for the day? For ecommerce clients, the first metrics I check when I come in are return on ad spend and then total revenue. For lead generation clients, the first things I check are back-end lead to appointment rates (if available) or overall lead volume. I am personally a bit obsessed with results, so I’ll usually check that first thing and dig in if any of the metrics are out of tolerance. Then I’ll do the same before I leave for the day.
What’s one metric you rarely bother to check? I rarely look at cost per click, unless something is off. This probably seems pretty odd, but the reason is that in the end, my clients only matter about the end result. So if my CPC is high but I am bringing in the right sales or leads, it doesn’t really matter.
If you had 10 million dollars to invest and you could invest in Google or Facebook stock, which would you pick, and why? I would pick Google because I prefer to invest on a value basis and Facebook is overvalued for the actual revenue and profit they have. Although, Google isn’t probably a much better pick for similar reasons.
What do you think will be the most important marketing platform in 10
years? I think the most important platform hasn’t been developed yet but will be primarily focused on behavioral and interest targeting – like remarketing and Topics and ICM campaigns are in Google now.
What’s your favorite advertising campaign (e.g. Betty White Super Bowl ad, Got Milk billboard, etc.)?  My favorite marketing campaign ever was the Quiznos Sub singing mice (or whatever they were). I mean, it was horrible. So horrible that you had to applaud someone for having the audacity to try it!
What are the three most important qualities of a good account manager? Thick skin. An account manager is going to fail, especially at an agency where you might have 5-7 accounts you are working on. At some point, something is bound to go wrong. It may be as simple as adapting to a new Google roll-out, and it may be something big like a mistake being made within an account. It’s going to happen, but good account managers can dust themselves off quickly and ALWAYS have a plan for what to do when things go bad.
If anything keeps me up at night worrying about my company, it’s… Taking care of our employees. Agency life can be hard. Sometimes account managers have to work long, stressful weeks and that’s what stresses me out. Hanapin has some great perks and ways we try to take the pressure off, but at the end of the day our ability to hire, cultivate, and retain world-class talent is our competitive advantage, and it’s the one thing that keeps me up at night.
What’s the one marketing lesson you wish you had learned earlier? The product matters. Good marketing can make up for a mediocre product but not a plain bad product. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life trying to hit goals for products that I didn’t believe in and that the market didn’t adopt.
If you could invest in one marketing technology company, which would it be and why? Acquisio. They already have a phenomenal product, and it’s only about to get better with V2.
In three words or fewer: the future of SEM is…? Bright and changing.

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