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7 Ps, 4 Cs, & Other Things You Need to Know



7 Ps, 4 Cs, & Other Things You Need to Know

The marketing mix is a system of interconnected elements used to bring products or services to the market and effectively communicate them to the target audience. This concept is often equated with the four Ps of marketing. However, there are also other popular marketing mix models.

You can create your custom marketing mix from scratch. But to build a sustainable business, you probably shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel in this area.

In this article, we’re going to cover the following:

Why is the marketing mix important?

Marketing a product or service can become overwhelming quite fast. There are just so many things to think about and no clear place to start.

But marketing mix models put things in the right order. They provide a sort of template that helps to zero in on things that really matter and lay the foundations for a successful marketing strategy.

Types of marketing mixes

The marketing mix and the four Ps of marketing are often used interchangeably. We need to start by noting this is not accurate. The four Ps of marketing are just a type of marketing mix (historically, it’s probably the oldest).

So without further ado, here are the key types of marketing mixes with some examples.

The four Ps of marketing

The four Ps of marketing is a marketing mix model proposed by Jerome McCarthy in 1960. The four components of the model are:

  • Product – What you sell.
  • Price – How much you sell it for.
  • Place – Where you sell it.
  • Promotion – How you get customers.

Let’s look at how this works in practice for a SaaS product like Ahrefs:

Element Explanation Example
Product The product or service you offer to the consumer. This category can mean anything a business offers to its clients (including ideas or experiences).  Ahrefs: an all-in-one SEO toolset.
Price The cost your clients pay for a product or service. Subscription-based, four tiers, starting from $99 (or $83 if paid annually). 
Place Where and how your customers can buy your product/service. Digital, direct distribution (SaaS).
Promotion The marketing tactics and channels you use to reach your target audience. Content marketing (main marketing tactic) and word of mouth.

Recommended reading: How to Implement the 4 Ps of Marketing 

The seven Ps and eight Ps of marketing

The seven Ps of marketing is a marketing mix model designed especially for service marketing and was proposed by Bernard Booms and Mary Bitner in 1981. The seven components of the model are: 

  • Product – What you sell.
  • Price – How much you sell it for.
  • Place – Where you sell it.
  • Promotion – How you get customers.
  • People – Who is involved in delivering your product.
  • Process – Procedures of delivering the product.
  • Physical evidence – Tangible elements of your service the customers will interact with.

In later years, the model was expanded by some marketing theorists. This resulted in the eighth P: performance, i.e., how you will measure your success.

Since the seven Ps and eight Ps of marketing are models designed for services, let’s see how a service like Uber can use this marketing mix to bring its brand to the market:

Element Explanation Example
Product The service you offer to the consumer.  Uber: ride-hailing, food delivery, and freight.
Price The cost your clients pay for the service.  -Rides: based on time and distance. Additional options for more comfort and riding with pets.
‑Delivery: service fee (typically around 15%, min. $3) and delivery fee (ranges from $0.49 to $7.99). Optional priority delivery.
‑Freight: based on data points like distance, day of the week, time of the day, weather, etc. Additional costs apply, e.g., layover, driver assist.
Place Where and how your customers can purchase your service.  Mainly through mobile apps; optionally through the website. 
Promotion The marketing tactics and channels you use to reach your target audience. PR, referral programs, and advertising. 
People People involved in delivering your product (including support).  Service is largely automated. But people are critical to the attractiveness of the services, i.e., drivers (driving experience, communication skills, etc.). Uber offers extensive online training and has experimented with performance review methods. 
Process The procedures by which the service is delivered. Self-service through apps and cashless payments. The algorithms process data and make this available to both parties (suppliers and clients).
Physical evidence Tangible elements of the offer.  UX design of the apps, driver experience, the comfort of the cars, and signage of the cars. 
Performance (P‑8) Success metrics. Some examples: app downloads, ride/delivery requests and cancellations, customer ratings, driver supply, and revenue.

The seven Cs of marketing (aka the compass model)

The seven Cs of marketing (also called the compass model) is a marketing mix model proposed by Koichi Shimizu in 1981. It is based on his earlier four Cs model (1973). Here are the seven components of the model:

  • Corporation – The company, i.e., the center of all decision-making.
  • Commodity – The product or service you’re offering.
  • Communication – How you reach your customers and how you get feedback from them.
  • Channel – The distribution channels of your product/service.
  • Cost – The overall cost to the consumer.
  • Consumer – Needs, security, education, and wants of the consumer.
  • Circumstances – Uncontrollable external factors: national/international, economic, social, and weather.

Since this is a framework that takes a lot of different physical factors into account, let’s see how the compass model can work for a hardware company like Tesla.

Element Explanation Example
Corporation In other words, the center of all decision-making.  Tesla
Commodity The product or service you offer to the consumer.  -Electric cars
‑Solar panels and solar roofs
Communication The marketing tactics and channels you use to reach your audience and facilitate two-way communication. -Live product launch events
‑Word of mouth
‑Strong media presence of Elon Musk
‑User forums
‑Test drive events
Channel The distribution channels of your product/service. -Direct distribution
‑Self-service purchasing via the website
‑Tesla physical stores
Cost The overall cost to the consumer (all costs, including product price, shipping, using the product, etc.).  -Car price before tax: $44,990 – $129,990
‑Electricity costs to charge the car (superchargers are free only for a selection of cars)
‑Costs to supply a home with renewable electricity (solar panels, wall connectors)
‑Car maintenance costs (regardless of warranty)
‑Optional extended warranty costs
Consumer Consumer needs, security, education, and wants.  -Needs: less impact on the environment, the prestige of owning an EV, and “car charging” convenience
‑Wants: one-stop-shop for everything EV-related, car performance, high-tech features, and sleek design
‑Security: safety features of the products and build quality
‑Education: guides for EV owners, forums, etc
Circumstances Uncontrollable external factors: national/international, economic, social, and weather.  -National: government incentives for buying electric cars, gasoline car restrictions, etc
‑Economic: increasing oil prices can increase demand for Tesla products, but they can also increase prices
‑Social: CEO’s image can greatly influence demand (and stock value); also, trend toward green energy will increase demand
‑Weather: colder months increase car energy consumption; solar panels and roofs need to withstand harsh weather; solar panels will produce less energy on cloudy days

The four Cs of marketing

The four Cs of marketing is a marketing mix model proposed by Bob Lauterborn in 1990. The four components of the model are:

  • Consumer – The needs and wants of the consumer.
  • Cost – The overall cost to the consumer.
  • Convenience – How you make your offering accessible.
  • Communication – How you establish two-way communication with the consumer.

For this example, we’re going to look at Huel, the nutritionally complete meal replacement product:

Element Explanation Example
Consumer (wants and needs) The needs and wants of the consumer.  Spend less time on meal prep and washing up, eat healthily, less food waste, eat more environmentally friendly and humane food, save money on eating out, simpler lifestyle, lose weight, and get fit. 
Cost (to satisfy) The overall cost to the consumer (all costs, including product price, shipping, using the product, etc.).  The core product (powder v3.0) sets the price of a meal from $2.21. There are almost no additional costs: delivery is free; also, product has a long shelf life, doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and requires only water to prepare (bottle and measuring scoop are free). 
Convenience (to buy) The distribution channels of your product/service. Direct distribution through the website. 
Communication Ways to facilitate two-way communication with the consumer. A strong presence on social media, an online forum for users (“Hueligans”), and product marketing addressing FAQs and misconceptions. 

These aren’t the only marketing mix models you will stumble upon. For example, I’ve also heard about the four Es of marketing, the SAVE model, and so on. But they are all more or less extensions or alterations of the types featured above.

Instead of flooding you with all of the possible marketing models, I’d like to share with you some insights on using the marketing mix.

Five tips on using the marketing mix

Here are five things worth keeping in mind when designing your marketing mix.

1. Practice designing the marketing mix on competitors first

Coming up with ideas for your marketing mix is easier if you reach out for some inspiration first. There’s hardly a better source of inspiration than other companies, especially your competitors. 

This way, you can learn two important things:

  1. You may likely find that other companies have similar problems. You can learn how they solve them, use the same solutions, or use your own remixed and improved solutions.
  2. This is a great exercise for understanding your competitors. After all, to win in the market, you just need to do better than them.

So just take one type of marketing mix and try to fill in the blanks with as many details as you can. You can repeat that for other companies too. After a couple of those, devising your mix won’t seem so daunting.

Recommended reading: How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis (Template Included) 

2. Always start with the product/service

Seeing the various elements inside the marketing mix models, you may be wondering where to start. Or in other words, what the foundation of the entire plan should be.

My advice: start with the value you are planning to deliver to your customers, i.e., your product or service. Reason: the importance of product-market fit.

Product-market fit is achieved by a company when it has confirmed signals that its product can satisfy an existing demand in a market with high potential. It’s arguably the single most important thing in building a sustainable business and is something that should precede any scaling up of the business.

When you’re leading with your product/service in your marketing mix, you’re aligning your marketing efforts with product-market fit.

This way, if you’re developing your marketing mix pre-market fit (i.e., before validating the idea of your product), the marketing mix will help you achieve product-market fit. And if you’re developing your marketing mix post-market fit, you’ll be building on the success of your product (more on this in the next section). 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can completely ignore the customers’ needs and wants and just put something on the market that fits your vision. In fact, the product-market fit is just as much about the idea for the product as it is about the people who will use it.

Take Ahrefs, for example. Before becoming a robust, all-in-one SEO toolset and hiring the first-ever person for marketing, we were testing the waters with one tool built just for backlink analysis. And because the product caught on, we were able to confidently focus our marketing efforts on product marketing.

Excerpt of Ahrefs' page in 2011, showing data on pages crawled and backlinks found

In 2011, Ahrefs was a tool for one thing only. Thanks to the product-market fit of that offering, we were confident in scaling everything up. What started as a backlink database is now an eight-figure ARR business.

Recommended reading: How to Achieve Product-Market Fit (5 Steps)

3. Coherence is key

Most effective marketing mixes are those that create a coherent system of interlinked elements.

This means that a viable strategy for devising marketing mixes is to build upon elements that are either the most certain or the strongest. This way, the consequent elements of the mix can reinforce themselves. Let me give you an example.

The strongest element in Ahrefs’ marketing mix is the product. Our product is designed to help marketers and business owners rank higher on search engines and get more traffic. From that P (product), we can derive another P (promotion). There are two opportunities for us (which we, of course, took):

  1. Lots of people are searching Google for solutions to problems our product solves.
  2. By showing that we can rank our content using our very own tools, we deliver a strong message about the utility of our product and the expertise of the people who develop it.
List of keywords with corresponding data such as KD, Volume, etc

Here, you can see some of the topics we talk about on our blog. Within them, there are hundreds of subtopics that can add to the monthly Traffic Potential (TP). Data via Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

For us, the obvious solution to that is content marketing, namely product-led content marketing designed to rank on Google. And by choosing a marketing tactic that works well with our product, we’ve strengthened the ties between those two Ps, allowing them to reinforce one another.

We decided to go even further than that. We chose to slice out portions of our products and release them for free. This way, our product becomes our promotion. It has proven to be an effective way to bring people from search engines to us:

Top Pages report results

The write-ups of our free tools are some of the pages that bring us the most organic traffic. Data via Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

4. Guess and test (where needed)

Market research should be the number one step to take in devising a marketing mix or any kind of marketing strategy. But this kind of research can be time consuming and expensive.

Instead, you can reach for agile market research methods. Make small bets or educated guesses based on information that is available to you and just test them. Then build upon that.

For example, instead of going in circles to search for a definitive, theoretical answer on how to price your product, you can use an agile market research tool like SurveyMonkey for price testing and get feedback from real people.

The same can be done for your product prototypes with the help of platforms like Loop11 or UserTesting.

Making educated guesses is also not completely unheard of in the world of business. After all, this is how Amazon famously started—with a single stat that the internet is growing 2,300% per year.

Founder Jeff Bezos used this information to make an educated guess that an online bookstore may likely be a viable business idea. He tested that idea, and the rest is history.

5. Review your marketing mix regularly

The factors that you build upon will eventually change. Some will change a year from now, some five years later, and others even longer than that.

To illustrate, here are the things that may change for the companies featured in our analyses of marketing mix types:

  • Ahrefs – Increasing demand for all-in-one marketing platforms
  • Huel – New studies of the detrimental effect of using sucralose (what Huel uses as a sweetener) long term
  • Uber – Outbreak of a pandemic, e.g., COVID-19
  • Tesla – Advances in hydrogen fuel and other types of alternative energy

And here’s an example of a company that made a game-changing switch after considering the circumstances: Netflix. Due to advancing web technology and increasing internet adoption, Netflix realized it made less and less sense to stick to renting movies on DVD by mail.

KD overview of term "streaming services"

Did Netflix make the right choice to enter the streaming market? Just look at the volume trend of “streaming services,” and the answer becomes obvious. Data via Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Netflix's homepage. CTA on left; on right, a couple on the sofa laughing and having popcorn and wine

Netflix in 2005 was the “best way to rent movies” (on DVD). Source: Internet Archive.

By the way, here’s another highly successful transformation: Netflix’s decision to not only distribute content but also create content. That decision allowed it to triple its revenue.

When changes happen, it usually means that you need to tweak your mix and adapt to changes in the environment. The trick is not to get caught by surprise. So regularly review your mix.

Final thoughts

I deliberately skipped the broader historical overview of the origin of the marketing mix models. The reason is when it comes to this marketing theory, the fact that something is conceived later doesn’t make it better.

In fact, some marketers argue the original marketing mix, the four Ps of marketing, is still the best one. Well, we won’t go into that too much. But now that you know the different models, you may be wondering which best suits your business.

My advice: start with the four Ps. Because your success or failure is likely going to be dependent on a) the market fit of the product or service, b) the adequacy of the price in the context of market conditions and benefits of your offering, c) whether there’s inconvenient/faulty distribution, and d) whether there are wrong marketing strategies or ineffective tactics. All of those concerns are addressed in the four Ps.

The basic four Ps are embedded in other types of marketing mixes. So you can treat the additional elements of other types as extensions as you move along. But in essence, what you really need to nail is the product, price, place, and promotion.

Got questions or comments? Ping me on Twitter.

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Google’s AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny




Google's AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

Google’s rollout of AI-generated overviews in US search results is taking a disastrous turn, with mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, BBC, and CNBC reporting on numerous inaccuracies and bizarre responses.

On social media, users are sharing endless examples of the feature’s nonsensical and sometimes dangerous output.

From recommending non-toxic glue on pizza to suggesting that eating rocks provides nutritional benefits, the blunders would be amusing if they weren’t so alarming.

Mainstream Media Coverage

As reported by The New York Times, Google’s AI overviews struggle with basic facts, claiming that Barack Obama was the first Muslim president of the United States and stating that Andrew Jackson graduated from college in 2005.

These errors undermine trust in Google’s search engine, which more than two billion people rely on for authoritative information worldwide.

Manual Removal & System Refinements

As reported by The Verge, Google is now scrambling to remove the bizarre AI-generated responses and improve its systems manually.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company is taking “swift action” to remove problematic responses and using the examples to refine its AI overview feature.

Google’s Rush To AI Integration

The flawed rollout of AI overviews isn’t an isolated incident for Google.

As CNBC notes in its report, Google made several missteps in a rush to integrate AI into its products.

In February, Google was forced to pause its Gemini chatbot after it generated inaccurate images of historical figures and refused to depict white people in most instances.

Before that, the company’s Bard chatbot faced ridicule for sharing incorrect information about outer space, leading to a $100 billion drop in Google’s market value.

Despite these setbacks, industry experts cited by The New York Times suggest that Google has little choice but to continue advancing AI integration to remain competitive.

However, the challenges of taming large language models, which ingest false information and satirical posts, are now more apparent.

The Debate Over AI In Search

The controversy surrounding AI overviews adds fuel to the debate over the risks and limitations of AI.

While the technology holds potential, these missteps remind everyone that more testing is needed before unleashing it on the public.

The BBC notes that Google’s rivals face similar backlash over their attempts to cram more AI tools into their consumer-facing products.

The UK’s data watchdog is investigating Microsoft after it announced a feature that would take continuous screenshots of users’ online activity.

At the same time, actress Scarlett Johansson criticized OpenAI for using a voice likened to her own without permission.

What This Means For Websites & SEO Professionals

Mainstream media coverage of Google’s erroneous AI overviews brings the issue of declining search quality to public attention.

As the company works to address inaccuracies, the incident serves as a cautionary tale for the entire industry.

Important takeaway: Prioritize responsible use of AI technology to ensure the benefits outweigh its risks.

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New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App




New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

A keynote at Google’s Marketing Live event showed a new AI-powered visual search results that feature advertisements that engage users within the context of an AI-Assisted search, blurring the line between AI-generated search results and advertisements.

Google Lens is a truly helpful app but it becomes unconventional where it blurs the line between an assistant helping users and being led to a shopping cart. This new way of engaging potential customers with AI is so far out there that the presenter doesn’t even call it advertising, he doesn’t even use the word.

Visual Search Traffic Opportunity?

Google’s Group Product Manager Sylvanus Bent, begins the presentation with an overview of the next version of Google Lens visual search that will be useful for surfacing information and for help finding where to buy them.

Sylvanus explained how it will be an opportunity for websites to receive traffic from this new way to search.

“…whether you’re snapping a photo with lens or circling to search something on your social feed, visual search unlocks new ways to explore whatever catches your eye, and we recently announced a newly redesigned results page for Visual search.

Soon, instead of just visual matches, you’ll see a wide range of results, from images to video, web links, and facts about the knowledge graph. It gets people the helpful information they need and creates new opportunities for sites to be discovered.”

It’s hard to say whether or not this will bring search traffic to websites and what the quality of that traffic will be. Will they stick around to read an article? Will they engage with a product review?

Visual Search Results

Sylvanus shares a hypothetical example of someone at an airport baggage claim who falls in like with someone else’s bag. He explains that all the person needs to do is snap a photo of the luggage bag and Google Lens will take them directly to shopping options.

He explains:

“No words, no problem. Just open Lens, take a quick picture and immediately you’ll see options to purchase.

And for the first time, shopping ads will appear at the very top of the results on linked searches, where a business can offer what a consumer is looking for.

This will help them easily purchase something that catches their eye.”

These are image-heavy shopping ads at the top of the search results and as annoying as that may be it’s nowhere near the “next level” advertising that is coming to Google’s search ads where Google presents a paid promotion within the context of an AI Assistant.

Interactive Search Shopping

Sylvanus next describes an AI-powered form advertising that happens directly within search. But he doesn’t call it advertising. He doesn’t even use the word advertising. He suggests this new form of AI search experience is more than offer, saying that, “it’s an experience.”

He’s right to not use the word advertisement because what he describes goes far beyond advertising and blurs the boundaries between search and advertising within the context of AI-powered suggestions, paid suggestions.

Sylvanus explains how this new form of shopping experience works:

“And next, imagine a world where every search ad is more than an offer. It’s an experience. It’s a new way for you to engage more directly with your customers. And we’re exploring search ads with AI powered recommendations across different verticals. So I want to show you an example that’s going live soon and you’ll see even more when we get to shopping.”

He uses the example of someone who needs to store their furniture for a few months and who turns to Google to find short term storage. What he describes is a query for local short term storage that turns into a “dynamic ad experience” that leads the searcher into throwing packing supplies into their shopping cart.

He narrated how it works:

“You search for short term storage and you see an ad for extra space storage. Now you can click into a new dynamic ad experience.

You can select and upload photos of the different rooms in your house, showing how much furniture you have, and then extra space storage with help from Google, AI generates a description of all your belongings for you to verify. You get a recommendation for the right size and type of storage unit and even how much packing supplies you need to get the job done. Then you just go to the website to complete the transaction.

And this is taking the definition of a helpful ad to the next level. It does everything but physically pick up your stuff and move it, and that is cool.”

Step 1: Search For Short Term Storage

1716722762 15 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows an advertisement that when clicked takes the user to what looks like an AI-assisted search but is really an interactive advertisement.

Step 2: Upload Photos For “AI Assistance”

1716722762 242 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above image is a screenshot of an advertisement that is presented in the context of AI-assisted search.  Masking an advertisement within a different context is the same principal behind an advertorial where an advertisement is hidden in the form of an article. The phrases “Let AI do the heavy lifting” and “AI-powered recommendations” create the context of AI-search that masks the true context of an advertisement.

Step 3: Images Chosen For Uploading

1716722762 187 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows how a user uploads an image to the AI-powered advertisement within the context of an AI-powered search app.

The Word “App” Masks That This Is An Ad

Screenshot of interactive advertisement for that identifies itself as an app with the words

Above is a screenshot of how a user uploads a photo to the AI-powered interactive advertisement within the context of a visual search engine, using the word “app” to further the illusion that the user is interacting with an app and not an advertisement.

Upload Process Masks The Advertising Context

Screenshot of interactive advertisement that uses the context of an AI Assistant to mask that this is an advertisement

The phrase “Generative AI is experimental” contributes to the illusion that this is an AI-assisted search.

Step 4: Upload Confirmation

1716722762 395 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

In step 4 the “app” advertisement is for confirming that the AI correctly identified the furniture that needs to be put into storage.

Step 5: AI “Recommendations”

1716722762 588 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows “AI recommendations” that look like search results.

The Recommendations Are Ad Units

1716722762 751 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Those recommendations are actually ad units that when clicked takes the user to the “Extra Space Storage” shopping website.

Step 6: Searcher Visits Advertiser Website

1716722762 929 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Blurring The Boundaries

What the Google keynote speaker describes is the integration of paid product suggestions into an AI assisted search. This kind of advertising is so far out there that the Googler doesn’t even call it advertising and rightfully so because what this does is blur the line between AI assisted search and advertising. At what point does a helpful AI search become just a platform for using AI to offer paid suggestions?

Watch The Keynote At The 32 Minute Mark

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Ljupco Smokovski

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How Do I Get A Job With A PPC Agency




Conversion Tracking In PPC Campaigns

This month’s “Ask A PPC” question is particularly significant because the job market has been quite volatile.

“How do I get a job with a PPC agency when I have only worked in-house. What experience would they want?” – Karl Toronto

It’s understandable that people want to know which skills employers seek when hiring for a PPC team. There can be a disparity between what people think they need and what the market actually demands.

We’ll delve into some data and commentary to explain why various traits are valued.

It’s crucial to understand that the ideal candidates will be versatile and have an aptitude for all aspects of digital marketing.

However, no one can excel at everything, so leveraging your strengths or preferences is beneficial.

Ensure that you’re securing the best role for yourself while the company hiring you finds the best fit for them.

Here Are The Essential Skills

  • Analytics.
  • Creativity.
  • Ad network knowledge.
  • Willingness to test/learn.
  • Culture fit.

Discrepancy Between Market Demands And Perceived Needs

I conducted a poll on my LinkedIn to gauge the skills desired by current employers and practitioners.

Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Analytical skills emerged as the most sought-after trait. Employers seek individuals who can interpret numbers and discern the story behind them.

However, relying solely on analytical prowess may overlook the importance of creativity.

Creative skills are vital in today’s ad networks, especially emphasizing visual content like videos and campaign types that force visual content (Performace Max/Demand Gen). Neglecting creativity can hinder a company’s branding efforts.

Unexpectedly, ad network skills and cultural fit were deemed far less critical than analytical skills. Brands should prioritize team cohesion for long-term success, yet this aspect is often undervalued.

The disparity between job descriptions and actual skill requirements contributes to the difficulty in the job market.

Agencies that hire for how PPC used to work will be left wanting. Practitioners who only focus on popular skills instead of needed ones will be made obsolete by the privacy-first era obscuring data and AI owning creative.

Analytical Skills

Analytical abilities involve knowing where to find relevant data sources and understanding how they contribute to success.

While PPC historically relied on measurable outcomes, the landscape is evolving, necessitating adaptability in data analysis. Technical proficiency and strategic acumen are crucial for navigating different data sources.

These include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
  • Ecommerce platforms.
  • Content management platforms (CMS).

Empathy for various ad channels improves your candidacy, and knowing how to work with post-click data will give you an edge over those who can only work with ad platform data.

While being highly technical isn’t required, having empathy for coding and scripts will give you a better chance to stay current with evolving data mechanics (especially as APIs become even more important for accessing data blocked by privacy-first regulations).

Here are some takes from PPC experts on why analytics is the most important:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn comment by Georgi Zayakov, who describes himself as analytical Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A LinkedIn post by Kathryn B., a paid media specialist at a PPC agencyScreenshot from LinkedIn, April 2024
Screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Nikolaos B., discussing how marketers must become data-savvyScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024


Creativity is essential for crafting compelling ad content, yet many PPC agencies struggle in this area.

Clients are often tasked with providing creative materials due to cost or complexity constraints.

You’ll get a competitive edge if you have these skills:

  • Video Editing: With the rise of PMax, as well as many ad networks leaning heavily into connected TV, having video editing chops will be a huge asset for any team. If you’re not comfortable using conventional editing tools, AI tools like Descript are a great way to take on those tasks.
  • Graphic Design: No matter the ad network your potential employer is hiring for, you will need some ability to design static images. Whether you use stock photos or AI-generated images or come up with the creative yourself, the days of purely text ads are over. Tools like Canva can help bridge the gap for less technical designers, but don’t discount ad network AI.
  • Content Creation: While the first two categories leaned toward visual content, written content is still important (i.e., most ad formats include some text). Having the ability to understand how diverse audiences prefer to be addressed while respecting the specific requirements of each format is a great skill to hone.

While some roles may prioritize analytics or ad network knowledge, emphasizing creative abilities can distinguish you during the hiring process.

Here are some experts who value creativity:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Erik PetersonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a Linkedin post by Amy HebdonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Ad Network Knowledge

Ad network expertise is valuable, but adaptability is paramount as platforms evolve rapidly.

Some agencies will have specialists, while others hire folks they expect to be passable at every network they service. It’s important to understand what workflow will enable you to succeed.

If you’re happy working with all platforms, then don’t shy away from it. However, if you do better in focusing on one aspect of PPC, that’s totally valid. Just know it might limit your ability to get hired into smaller “familyesque” agencies.

Understanding auction dynamics and bidding strategies is crucial.

Many of us who entered the industry when manual bidding was more popular have an unfair advantage over those who came in during the Smart Bidding era (i.e., anything from 2020).

This is because manual bidding requires you to think about the mechanics of each ad platform’s auction and how you could use those mechanics to your advantage in building account structure.

Knowing what to track and allocating appropriate budgets are key considerations.

Understanding that some networks require more conversions than others to run (e.g., Meta Ads’ 50 in a 7-day period vs. Google Ads’ 15 in a 30-day period) should influence what you choose to track, as well as how you report the data.

Additionally, if you are under or over budget, you’ll set yourself up to fail. Knowing which channels require a big investment upfront and what the breaking point for each network is (either on underspending or spending too much) is critical.

Awareness of potential pitfalls, such as false positives or negatives, enhances campaign effectiveness. For example, it’s important to know how to check if automatically applying recommendations is on and what tasks it’s on for.

It’s worth noting that none of the experts who chimed in on the poll made a clear case for ad network knowledge specifically.

Willingness To Test

Success in PPC requires openness to experimentation and a willingness to adapt. While this wasn’t one of the criteria in the poll, it was one of the most popular traits experts look for in hiring.

Perfectionism can hinder progress in a fast-changing environment. Testing new ideas and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth are essential.

While analytical skills aid in test design, empathy and creativity are equally vital for devising effective experiments.

Here is an expert who favors a willingness to test:

Screenshot of a social media post by Mike RhodesScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Cultural Fit

Cultural alignment with an agency fosters productivity and job satisfaction. However, you can only achieve that by being honest with yourself about what you want and the mechanics of how you work.

Agencies demand intense effort and collaboration, making compatibility with colleagues crucial.

Anyone looking to make the shift from in-house to agency needs to be prepared for a much faster pace of work and a lot more agency.

Open communication with leadership regarding preferred management and learning styles will ensure a positive working relationship.

Respect for peers and a supportive atmosphere contribute to a fulfilling work environment.

Here are a few thoughts on cultural fit from polled experts:

The image shows a LinkedIn post by David Zebrout containing text discussing the importance of integrating PPC network knowledge with intertimed optimizations in generating profitable growth.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
LinkedIn post by Lisa Erschbamer discussing the importance of cultural fit and individual personality in team dynamics for effective performance at a PPC Agency.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Aaron Davies discussing the importance of cultural fit, individual skills, and team communication in marketing for a PPC agency. The post has reactions and a question comment by NavahScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Final Thoughts

Navigating the current job market can be challenging, but understanding industry needs and honing relevant skills increases your chances of success.

Balancing technical proficiency with creativity and cultural fit is essential for thriving in a PPC role. By aligning with market demands and showcasing your strengths, you can secure rewarding opportunities in the field.

Have a question you’d like us to address? Fill out the form!

More resources:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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