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The Ullmann PPC Client Theorem

Published: August 20, 2012

Author: Todd Mintz

humanitarianI’ve never rewritten an old blog post before…until now. However, unless you’re one of the six people who read the original post on my personal blog, it will be new to you. Plus, my core point of the original remains unchanged even though my circumstances have changed greatly since I wrote it.
In her prime, Liv Ullmann was a total f****** fox. She was also one of the greatest actresses in the history of film; even off-screen, she was a remarkable woman who spent much of her life as a humanitarian ambassador. She has written a couple of books about her life and experiences…and while I was reading one of them, the following passage (about her missionary work) struck me as incredibly relevant to what I, as a Search Marketing Consultant, deal with on frequent basis:
“You know, we had a project for the development of crafts, and one of them was pottery. We were very enthusiastic. There was a Mexican professor in charge of the project who asked me to buy new modern equipment—you know, potter’s wheels.
“The people here already had experience in pottery. For centuries, they had made containers for water out of clay. But they used to put clay on a circular stone, and sitting on the floor, they moved the circular stone with their toes while they molded the clay into various forms.
“The European type of potter’s wheels arrived and we taught the people how to use them. They were very quick in learning and on the final day of the course, they thanked us and said:
“’We’re very grateful. And when you leave, we’ll put all your equipment in the corner of our huts and let it stay there. But when you have some important visitor from Mogadishu or New York, we’ll take them out and show that we can use them.’”
Taken as a group, PPC Associates account managers have engaged with a large number of clients. While we’re not omniscient, we have a system and process that, if implemented properly, will lead to optimized paid search performance and increased ROI for the companies that we work with. Our PPC methodology will significantly improve nearly all accounts that we touch, including (and sometimes especially) those formerly managed by other agencies.
However, the people who engage us to improve the paid search campaigns are frequently the biggest obstacles to their own success. We’ve seen people who, despite improved results, become (IMO) unnecessarily uncomfortable with one or more peripheral aspects of the process. Some stakeholders resist change because their sense of contribution is threatened when the bottom-line improvements aren’t directly authored by them. Problems also happen when certain necessary people view contributing to the paid search effort as “extra work” and “not important,” forgetting that doing everything possible to increase corporate revenue is what’s keeping them employed in the first place.
Frequently, the warning signs become apparent long before the fall. Deadlines get missed. People become too busy to make weekly meetings or answer emails. Budgets get cut despite positive ROI. Clients should realize that we’ve seen this all before and know something is going on well before they think we know.
Why does this happen? I’m not sure, really. Rational businesses should always follow the path towards revenue maximization….but not all businesses act rationally.
I think that some companies engage with “top” agencies because they feel they’re “supposed” to. However, true engagement requires commitment to the process of improvement, and that can’t be faked. Comfortable obsolescence sometimes pulls stronger than unfamiliar success…so I reckon.
liv ullman ppc theorem
Todd Mintz, Sr. Account Manager

1 S Wacker Drive
Suite 2250

Chicago, IL 60606(650) 539-4124


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