Our interview series of the industry’s best continues with Joseph Kerschbaum, runner-up in our inaugural Most Influential SEM tournament, lover of vanilla beer, and co-author of “Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing – An Hour A day.” (Also, maker of news…keep your eye out for today’s press release!)

joe kerschbaum

What’s the first metric you check when you start work for the day? This depends on the account! However, I think in general I check Conversions / Conversion Rate / Cost-per-Conversion first.

What’s one metric you rarely bother to check? I look at all stats in AdWords/Bing regularly. However, I find that in Google Analytics, when managing PPC campaigns, I don’t look at frequency or recency very often.

If you had 10 million dollars to invest and you could invest in Google or Facebook stock, which would you pick, and why? Google. They have a proven track record for success. I think the “Facebook IPO debacle” was just hype. They’re a strong, stable company and they’ll be around for a long time. To this point, Google has just demonstrated a more versatile approach.

What do you think will be the most important marketing platform in 10 years? If Google can continue to evolve, they’ll maintain their dominance. However, when I think about December of 2002, many folks may have answered that Yahoo! was the dominant force. Things change very rapidly. Heck, about five years ago, not many people would have had Facebook on their radar (though they probably thought about MySpace!). The answer to this question probably hasn’t even been invented yet.

What’s your favorite advertising campaign (e.g. Betty White Super Bowl ad, Got Milk billboard, etc.)? This changes all the time. Off the top of my head, I still like the Darth Vader Volkswagen commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl last year. First and foremost, I’m a certified Star Wars nerd, so this hit close to home for me. However, I think this was a charming ad and it really captured people’s attention without being shocking, annoying, or overtly sexual. Also, I’ve actually liked the Google+ campaign over the past year or so. The campaign focuses on the human side of the platform: connecting with friends, family, etc. Sure, hardly anyone I know is on Google+, but I still liked the ads.

What are the three most important qualities of a good account manager?

1. Detail-oriented

2. Results-focused

3. Creatively driven

If anything keeps me up at night worrying about my company, it’s… I sleep so little that really nothing keeps me awake at night. I more-or-less pass out for a short nap each night. But if anything were to cause me strife, it would be campaign performance. We’re laser-focused on results, so when I know a campaign is struggling (for any reason), that usually weighs on my mind.

What’s the one marketing lesson you wish you had learned earlier? Communication is mission-critical. No matter what happens in an account (good or bad), if you don’t communicate clearly, something major is going to get missed. Missed things can cause cracks in relationships.

If you could invest in one marketing technology company, which would it be and why? This is a tough one to answer. There are a lot of great companies doing some really interesting things right now. Honestly, I don’t have a great answer so I’ll abstain.

In three words or fewer: the future of SEM is…? Getting Great Results. Honestly, it’s impossible to say any one thing is the “future of SEM.” The industry is evolving too quickly. However, no matter what comes and goes, there is one truth that will never fade: get great results.


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