I’m happy to report that I no longer work at Commerce360. I had a good time while it lasted, but it was time for something different.
And that something different is ClickEquations. We’ve re-branded Commerce360 as ClickEquations to focus on our advanced pay per click software. (Sorry, it was a little late for April Fool’s but I needed a dramatic intro :-) )
This is a bit of a personal post, which I almost never do, but worth reading if you care about paid search.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Back in 2007, I left Refinery (now G2 Philly, a division of Grey Interactive) to join Commerce360. At the time, I was still a full time web analyst with strategic aspirations.
Commerce360 was then focused on being the next generation of agency: a team of smart people optimizing across channels based with data driven decisions. I joined the team as an analyst on a course toward full time strategy.But, as I soon learned is the norm for startups (this is my first), we shifted focus entirely on paid search and SEO.
The Birth of ClickEquations
The vision of the company was always to have smart people supported by killer technology. Search is among the most data intensive channels out there, so it was the obvious place to start looking for a tool that could do the heavy lifting while we focused on strategy and optimization.
After surveying the market, we just couldn’t find anything good enough, including Omniture Search Center. Too much money had been spent building tools focused on a search engine-centric view of managing paid search instead of a customer and practitioner centric view. It was a completely flawed way of attacking the problem and even the “best” of what was on the market was an expensive and clumsy solution at best. So we hired a development team and began building our own tool: ClickEquations.
A Slight Career Detour
Search marketing is strategic, but it’s not the same as developing cross-channel strategy. Without a pure strategist role, I ended becoming a strange hybrid: part Strategic Account Manager (client relations), part multivariate tester, part guy-who-does-random-things.
When people ask why I got into advertising and marketing, I give them the same answer: Bewitched. I used to watch the show as a kid and was strangely fascinated with the ad lifestyle (portrayed as a sanitized and more kitsch version of today’s Mad Men). I figured it was 3 martini lunches and everyone got to do fun pitches all of the time, right?
Without nose twitching magic powers, Account Management is a fairly high pressure job. You’re the middle man between clients with high expectations (sometimes disproportionate to what they’re paying) and limited budgets and a services team with limited time and all of the pressure for results.
On the plus side, it’s a great way to learn a lot of businesses quickly, master contracts (write 20 contracts in 6 months and you pick up a few things) and practice the fine art of expectations management: “Yes, we can do that, but we’ll have to push this off and cut that down by 20%”.
I worked on SEO and paid search engagements with clients from startups to large corporations. Perhaps the most rewarding project for me was a multivariate testing engagement with Comcast.net, one of the most visited sites on the Internet in the US. It was my first opportunity to dive deeply into testing on a site with both large enough traffic to get statistically significant results from large, full factorial multivariate tests and with a client who trusted us to take most of our recommendations and make all of the pieces line up. More on this in a future post…
Back Home Again
The truth is, I never wanted to be an Account Manager. Every place I’ve worked has, at one time or another, positioned me in the role. While I took to it naturally, my heart wasn’t in it. I resumed the push for something broader and more strategic.
Fortunately, I work with a very supportive management team (thanks Lu!) and I’ve fully transitioned into the role of Marketing Manager for ClickEquations. Since December of last year, I’ve been in charge of all strategy and execution for online and offline marketing of the product.
Thought I couldn’t have planned it that way, my strange detour was probably the perfect training ground for my current position, because:
- I learned paid and organic search
- I proved myself to the executive team with our largest and most demanding clients (the kind we like as ClickEquations customers)
- I got a broad exposure to more business types (lead gen, international, etc.)
It’s the generalist role I was meant to be in: constantly changing, ridiculously demanding and highly competitive. I like to have my grubby hands on everything, which you can already see in our Learn section (free paid search resources) and the Reporting page (it’s my numbers nerd side leaking out).
What’s In It For You?
Well, the truth is I’ve been holding back on some of my better tips and tricks. I mean, I can’t give it all away for free, right?
Actually, no. Now that I’m no longer on the agency side and we’re focusing on the software, I’m now totally free to write about all of my favorite tricks and share some of the proprietary training and materials clients once had to pay for. So, you can look forward to that :-) Subscribe so you don’t miss any.
I’ve also got an exclusive, limited time offer for Digital Alex readers for ClickEquations.
ClickEquations: Paid Search Management Platform
I was recently up at Search Engine Strategies (SES) New York manning the ClickEquations booth. Let me tell you, if you ever need to master your elevator pitch, work at a trade show. When you have to explain your product to hundreds of people a day, you figure it out pretty quickly.
So here’s ClickEquations in a nutshell:
ClickEquations is a paid search management platform for large advertisers and agencies.
Who It’s Really For
If you’re spending $5,000 per month, ClickEquations is probably not for you. If you’re spending $500,000 month, you’re definitely in need of something better than AdWords Editor.
The difference is that the higher your spend, the more likely you’re:
- Really feeling the pain of having to manage campaigns through the engine interfaces. Yahoo, in particular, is very cumbersome and not intuitively designed
- Wasting money or leaving it on the table at an inhibitive rate, because you get a clear enough view of what’s really happening and where the opportunity lies
- Having trouble scaling your business or that of your clients because of the sheer logistics of managing large, complex campaigns
Stop Yapping: What’s The Offer?
Since this is my blog and I’m the Marketing Manager, I can make my own exclusive offer:
I will give anyone who spends $100K+/month on paid search and purchases ClickEquations 4 hours of personal consulting time (to talk about any aspect of online marketing you want) and help create a custom dashboard using ClickEquations Analyst, our unique Excel plugin.
So, check out ClickEquations and see if you like it. To start, just request a demo and enter “Alex Rocks” in the comments field (yes, I read them :-) ). If you have questions, you can email me directly: email@example.com.
Thanks for indulging me on this one very personal post. I’ll resume my regular “how to” style posts moving forward. Also, I microblog quite a bit over on Twitter, so follow me as DigitalAlex.