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Marketing morsels from: Luke Alley

Published: October 5, 2012

Author: Molly Shotwell

PPC Associates continues its popular interview series with some of digital marketing’s brightest stars. Today’s marketing morsels come courtesy of Luke Alley, Director of PPC at Utah-based Avalaunch Media. Luke has worked in many verticals including financial, travel, real estate, legal, and health care. When he’s not doing PPC he loves spending time with his wife Mary and son Max, playing tennis or golf, or watching sports. 
luke alleyName: Luke Alley
Title: Director of PPC
Company: Avalaunch Media
What’s the first metric you check when you start work for the day? The number of new emails I received overnight. (This question reminds me that I need to unsubscribe from several email lists!) Seriously, though, when I look at my PPC accounts, it depends on the goal for each account. Some are CPC. Some are ROAS. Others are just plain old CTR.
What’s one metric you rarely bother to check? All metrics have a time and place, so it’s hard to say that I don’t “bother to check” one. Depending on the stage or age of your account, you will use some metrics more than others. If I had to pick one that I check less often than others, it would fall in the Competitive Metrics category. The one I worry about least would be relative CTR, simply because I’m going to be optimizing my ads no matter how I stack up against the competition. That said, the metric is still useful for identifying underperforming areas in the account.
If you had 10 million dollars to invest and you could invest in Google or Facebook stock, which would you pick, and why? Facebook. They are young and continue to grow a larger and larger user base and ad platform. As they develop their advertising platform, the demographic and psychographic information will become more useful, and ads will become even more effective. Also, companies are just starting to figure out how to use Facebook properly. All this combines for awesome growth in the near future. I also see a “bubble” with Google AdWords. They are making a lot of changes to SERPs lately that are giving PPC ads much more attention like sitelinks, extended headlines, and showing 7 organic results instead of 10. This is great in the short term for me as a PPC manager, but I think in the long run, it will drive users away.
What do you think will be the most important marketing platform in 10 years? One that I am not familiar with! Consumers’ habits are changing so much, and technology is being developed so quickly, that what we know now will be probably be irrelevant in just a few years. Who would have thought five years ago that tablets would have been as big as they are today?
What’s your favorite advertising campaign (e.g. Betty White Super Bowl ad, Got Milk billboard, etc.)? Mike ’n Ike! They started crossing out the name Mike or Ike on the boxes and on billboards, and it made me wonder if one of them had been canned or if they were changing the name. I started talking about it with my wife while driving or at the movies; before I knew it, they were at the front of my mind. I thought it was genius. A very subtle way to get people recalling their brand.
What are the three most important qualities of a good account manager?
1. Honesty – this is a trait that you can’t teach, unlike Excel or PPC in general. It encompasses many other traits also. If a manager does not have it, he/she can hurt business very quickly.
2. Love of data – making decisions based on data will help an account succeed fast! If a manger doesn’t like looking at it, he/she is likely making decisions based on other incomplete facts.
3. Creativity and ability to think outside the box- can I put that as one quality? Trying something new and different can make a campaign really take off. I loved the ad from a PPC company with the headline “Don’t Use PPC” and then, in line 1, “Until Your Try Us.” It was different but got my attention from the first day I saw it.
If anything keeps me up at night worrying about my company, it’s… What will Avalaunch Media do when we are better known for PPC than for our Content Marketing?? (Just kidding, Matt, Dave, and Andy!) Really, expanding and scaling my division has been on my mind a lot as we’ve had some great growth this year.
What’s the one marketing lesson you wish you had learned earlier? Become a pro at data analysis, Excel, and statistics. If I knew I was going to be looking at data as much as I am now, I would have paid attention more in college. Knowing these things is invaluable.
If you could invest in one marketing technology company, which would it be and why? I really like what Neil Patel is doing over at Crazy Egg. Website analytics are only getting bigger, and they have a very useful and innovative way at looking at heat maps, eye tracking, and click tracking.
In three words or fewer: the future of SEM is…? Bright and changing.

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