Editor’s Note: “Meet a Media Planner” is our ongoing series of Q&As where we find out what’s on the minds of media and search planners at agencies across the country. Today we’d like to introduce Mike Nelson, a senior manager of client services at PPC Associates in San Francisco,California. Mike joined the PPC Associates team in the autumn of 2009. He helps tend to the search needs of big clients in legal services and social networking while mentoring other team members. Although he hasn’t officially added the word “guru” to his title, his work in establishing the organization’s standard operating procedures and best practices around search marketing seem reason enough to give him that moniker.
Yahoo! Ad Blog: Are there any new trends or technologies in search that you find particularly exciting right now?
Mike Nelson: I think tracking improvements will be the big thing moving forward. It’s really important for the modern marketer to effectively attribute things across devices and channels. And by figuring out the cross-device question, they’ll be able to justify spend on mobile media like in-app advertising, and mobile search and display. This means that today’s marketers have to be skilled in both mathematics and analytics.
YAB: Is tracking one of the biggest concerns for your clients, too?
YAB: Given that you have a multi-faceted job that touches on client service and staff development, what do you find most satisfying about what you do?
MN:I really like to focus on growing PPC Associates as a company. I enjoy passing my knowledge to the other team members so they can use that information to help grow their clients’ accounts. I also like working on the search process standards, because I think it’s something PPC Associates can use from top to bottom. One of our single greatest selling points is that we’ve had so many different experiences. We’ve been involved with a lot of different clients and a lot of different accounts. I get to help make sure all the account managers learn from all these situations.
YAB: What do you think is most surprising for the people you mentor?
MN: I think the fact that they don’t have to be salesmen. The product kind of speaks for itself, and the ROI speaks for itself too. As an agency, if we do things the right way, our business model can be very sustainable and we can be transparent with the client. We can justify our monthly fees to clients and know that we’re bringing value to them.
YAB:Do you have a favorite search campaign you’ve worked on?
MN: I have a favorite type of account: I like helping start-up companies. I get really excited when we have a start-up come on board in a soft vertical, and we do a really good job for them – and then all of a sudden, they’re making $50+ million a year in revenue. It’s nice to have those tremendous success stories.
YAB: How do you explain what you do to your family? Do they get what you do?
MN: My job is kind of 24/7, but I try to preserve the separation between work and family. When they ask me what I do, I just tell them I write the ads on search engines, and they say, “Do people ever click on those?” That’s sort of the standard response, and I say, “Well, according to the billions of dollars in search engine revenue, yeah, I think they do!”
YAB:What do you do to de-stress from the 24/7 aspect of the job?
MN: I love to play golf. I always walk the course; I never take a cart. That gives me time to think about what I’m doing at work, in my personal life and just kind of relax. My wife and I also like to travel. But we keep it simple – anything to get away from the big-city grind.
YAB: Are there any dream trips you and your wife have in mind to do someday?
MN: Anything tropical, mid-70s, and by the beach would be the perfect trip for us!