Welcome to Getting Granular

The podcast where digital marketing experts from the agency Granular talk about the latest trends, tried and true best practices, and share their unfiltered thoughts about the digital marketing industry. PPC Origins – Dee Medrano


From Fiji to Hawaii to Wisconsin? While we may question that decision, we are happy she is here! Dee Medrano steps into the booth to discuss her PPC past and personal approach to strategy and client management. Tune in and get to know Dee!


What you’ll learn in this episode of Getting Granular:

  • Why Dee moved from Hawaii to Wisconsin (:50)
  • How she got started in paid search (4:00)
  • What keeps her interested in the industry (6:05)
  • What she loves about digital and some pain points (7:15)
  • What was the PPC landscape when she started (8:58)
  • What she sees changing in the near future (11:45)
  • Personal approach to client management (13:35)
  • Dee’s specializations (19:20)
  • What she likes about Granular (24:10)


Narrator: Welcome to Getting Granular, the podcast for digital marketing experts from the agency Granular talk about the latest trends, tried and true best practices and share their unfiltered thoughts about the industry. Whether you’re here to learn how to grow your business, improve your digital skills, or just want to hear some Midwest PPC experts rant about digital media, you’ve come to the right place.

Chris: Thanks again for tuning into the Getting Granular podcast. I am Chris Caesar, a Senior Manager of paid media here at Granular. And I am joined today by Dee Medrano. Hi, Dee.

Dee: Hi, Chris. How’s it going?

Chris: I’m good. How are you?

Dee: Great.

Chris: Let’s just sort of kick things off right away. I guess, tell us a little bit about your background. Who is Dee?

Dee: Yeah. So, gosh, where do I begin? I think I would like to think of myself as an implant. I’m originally from Fiji, lived there for majority of my life and then moved to Hawaii and then decided that warmth and sun wasn’t good enough and I want it to be cold. So I moved to Wisconsin and have been here ever since. I went to college at Alverno, started a business in marketing, have been doing PPC for roughly almost four and a half years right now, and I love it.

Chris: From Hawaii to Wisconsin. Most people would tell you, you did that backwards.

Dee: Yeah. I think that’s just like the joy of things is doing life backwards and seeing what happens.

Chris: I know about you, but I would much rather be in Hawaii right now then … it’s like 20 degrees out right now, so.

Dee: Yeah, as I look out my window right now, I am regretting that decision in doing that. But I think to each their own, you live and you learn. I started a family here, so I think my roots have always been tied to Wisconsin and in some way or form. The people are awesome. The food is great. Despite the weather, I think, the cold days, it has its pros and its cons, but it’s still a great place to live, especially Milwaukee.

Chris: Awesome. Yeah. Well, hey, I’m glad you did decide that, because that means you’re here now. So I guess, what is your title here at Granular and what do you generally work with?

Dee: Yeah, so I am the paid media manager. I actually started at Granular during this whole pandemic. I started in March and I love it. It’s definitely been interesting. I haven’t met anyone or worked in the office with the team, so that’s been interesting, but I do anything pay-per-click from Google search to display, YouTube, Facebook, Bing, all of that. So I manage accounts for a variety of clients from B2B to B2C and I specialize in lead generation.

Chris: Very cool. So lead gen, I guess that sort of leads me to my next question is, what are the sort of types of industries that you worked in the past? Obviously lead gen I’m assuming is going to be a big part of that.

Dee: Yeah. Lead gen is definitely, I think, no matter what component and what channel you work in, lead generation is the bread and butter. My experience, I’ve worked in radio, I’m doing media buying to Facebook, organic all the way up to the paid side of things. So I’ve done a plethora of different verticals and I started in the industry during more traditional advertising, like billboards, radio, I started. And then with media buying where we would go out and purchase lists from a bunch of people and then we’d email them during that. Then I transitioned into paid media and I think that’s definitely when all these channels work in tandem together. It’s pretty great.

Chris: So how, I guess the next obvious question is, how did you start off in, how did you get into paid search?

Dee: So it was kind of a transition. So we had one of the top … my previous role, one of the national radio stations that we worked with, we are running radio ads through them. And then I worked with, at the time there was only one paid person on the team. So I worked with him to kind of synchronize our messaging with targeting the radio hosts, audiences and keywords that people would be looking for once they heard this radio commercial, and because there was a national station, it allowed me to kind of empathize and look to see, “What would I be searching for as a listener of this radio station?” And from there, it kind of sparked my interest in paid on the search side, looking at ads, looking at how we can use specific keywords and specific targeting to capture these audience through digital.

Chris: Very cool. So obviously it sounds like you have a very intriguing background, as everybody seems to have some sort of one off crazy story of how they got into it. I guess you seem to like it, you seem to enjoy what you do. So what was sort of that sticking point where you’re like, “You know what? This is something that I think I want to pursue on a longer term basis.”

Dee: I think it was the ever lasting change and challenges that happen within PPC. As you and I know in our industry, there’s one day it’s a new release a new beta that comes out and then the next day it’s a completely new policy that Facebook implements and there’s just this constant desire and this constant need to have our finger on the trigger to say like, we have to constantly know like what’s happening, how we can best serve our clients with the new information and the changes that are happening. And I think that really intrigued me, this need for understanding what’s what’s going on and learning.

Chris: I think this sort of, you already sort of half answered, but my next question as we lead forward here, what do you like about it? And I guess what we can also say to that side, what are some of those pain points that you just kind of, “Ar,” every day when you get this sort of notification.

Dee: Yeah, man, I think what people forget is digital is dealing with people on a different level, and I think that’s what I really love is building a strategy digitally to … So you’re having that relationship. You’re having that conversation with the client as they interact with your ad, as they interact with your landing page. You’re kind of this bridge between the searcher, the customer and the company. And you’re bringing these two people together to purchase something.

Dee: You’re like the middleman. Like a matchmaker, I would say. And it’s really cool to be that, that aid, that strategist that helps small businesses, that helps clients, helps customers understand what they’re looking for. It’s a great job. I really love it. And digital is not going anywhere. So I think the best part of that is you’re constantly growing and you’re constantly adapting, because if you’re not growing or changing, you’re dead, so it’s good to be alive.

Chris: Yes, definitely. So let’s take a trip back in the time machine, as we talk about how you got started, what did the PPC landscape sort of look like as you got that started?

Dee: It definitely has changed. As I mentioned before, the best part of our business is it’s always changing, but when I first started … and you know, it’s crazy is that four and a half years ago, it doesn’t seem that long, but how much things have changed. It’s kind of funny to me. Definitely there was no automation, everything was very manual. CPC, I think you had a lot more control of your accounts and how you were bidding. Even ads. Ads, they weren’t so dynamic where you put in a bunch of different headlines and descriptions and the algorithm just went out and found the best headline based off performance. It was very a manual process. And I think now Google is kind of taking away that manual component of it, which is a good thing and also a bad thing as well. But yeah, it was a lot different when I first started.

Chris: Yeah. I think that seems to be an ongoing theme of these interviews that we’ve been doing, is that everything was very manual and now automation has been kicking in, which again, I think sort of answers where we’re leading down here is, what’s been the biggest change or biggest few changes since you started working in paid media?

Dee: Well, besides all the automation and all that, the programmatic buying and all the different ad placements that you can do and video now getting a lot of focus. Besides all of that, for me, I think coming from in-house and being in an agency setting because this is the first time I’ve actually worked for an agency is definitely a new concept for me and a new beast to follow. So I think coupling all the changes that is going on in the industry with the professional change that I made, it’s kind of stewing and everything has to work together and we have to learn.

Chris: Yeah, definitely. Very cool. Very cool. So talked about the past, talked about what’s changed and now we’re in the present. So I guess there’s only one way to go here is, let’s look forward to the future.

Dee: Yeah. I mean, the year’s ending so we might as well.

Chris: 2021 planning.

Dee: Yeah. 2020 has been definitely a great year of change, so let’s see what’s going on for 2021.

Chris: Yes, very cool. So I guess looking at 2021, and even beyond there, if you want to look at 2025 or 2030 even, what do you sort of anticipate being the big changes in sort of, again, the outlook of the PPC landscape down the road?

Dee: The big changes. I think we can still rely on the algorithm and we can still look at all this different automations that’s happening. But I think the biggest change as us as humans is for us not to lose sight of who we are serving, what our purpose is and for us to question the recommendations and the different policies and all these new betas and things that we can test. Does this make sense? Do all the numbers and all this data points … we need to bring in that humanizing factor and those set of eyes that the algorithm doesn’t have to make sure that we are not only doing our work correctly, but it’s serving our clients and it’s serving at the end goal the customers, the client’s customers.

Chris: Doing a little bit of a pivot here. Let’s talk a little bit more specifically about you and how you work with people inside the company and work with your different clients. Can you sort of take me through what your personal approach is when someone comes on board and you, “Hey, we have a new account coming on board,” what’s sort of your process?

Dee: Well every client gets a questionnaire that they need to fill out and it kind of gives us like an insight of who they are and what their goals are and how we can help them. So definitely reviewing that, but I think part of my strategy is asking questions and digging deeper with the client, understanding what does it look like from start to finish? When a client is searching for a specific service, how does that look like once they click on the ad, go to the landing page and they give them their email address, what does that whole sales process look like? How long does it take a lead to bring back that ROI positive and just understanding like that mindset and empathizing with a client and building the trust.

Dee: I think building that in establishing that relationship of, “I’m not just here to find keywords and re target people, I’m here to truly understand …” I’m sorry, I have a cold. So bear with me as my voice goes out, but, “I’m here to understand what keeps you up at night, what keeps their potential clients up at night, and how can their product, their service provide the solution to their clientele and their customers?”

Dee: So I really want to establish that relationship, that trust, and asking questions. I think people just are very surface level with their answers that they give us, but truly understanding the why and what drives them I think is what I like to do and the personal approach that I take. I’m also a very organized person. So laying out what that plan looks like from ads to the audiences we’re targeting. And unfortunately right now with COVID and everything happening, people are on a strict budget and we want to get the most bang for our buck for our clients. So having them see that layout and see that framework and understand, “This is what we’re going to do with every single dollar that you put into ad spend,” kind of gives them a little peace of mind and understands that we are a team, that we are here to learn from each other and work towards that goal together. I think that’s kind of what I like to do when working with them.

Chris: And that’s, again, something that a lot of people harp on is just making sure that personal approach is there and you have that mutual trust where I may try something, and it may not work, but at the end of the day I was trying it because I thought it may benefit us. And that’s always the way that we want to be focusing on things.

Chris: So yeah, I 100% agree that that’s a … If, when things work out, that’s great, but they’re not always going to be going great. And again, just a matter of being open and honest, say, “Hey, I thought this was something that was going to go well. And that’s when you take a step back and just reevaluate and move forward based off of what you learned.”

Dee: Exactly. And I think that’s what’s great about our jobs is that we’re able to see the data points, make those inferences and hypothesis and the conclusion of what we did and be honest. I think that was like one of the big things that drove me to Granular is how honest everyone is. From my interview process they right away told me, if something’s not working for a client, we tried it and we can just share them with insights. We’re not going to try and hide it and make ourselves look better. It’s just, these are the facts. This is why we tried something and it didn’t work, but we’re going to own up to it,” which I think is very rare to find.

Chris: Sure, definitely. Yeah. And again, as we sort of dive into your personal approach, when you talk about your analytics and your reporting on a client’s return on investment, because they’re paying X amount of dollars and they obviously deserve to know where that’s going. I think what you just sort of mentioned leads into that too, of be upfront and honest about what has gone well. And like you said, what hasn’t. Really just comes back down to being honest across the board. Then you can’t get caught up in a lie if you’re being honest all the time.

Dee: Exactly. And that comes back to that communication of asking why, digging in deeper. Sometimes a lot of some people might not even know what their end goal is, whether it’s, do you want people to fill out a form? Or do you want people to watch a video? What is your goal as a company? So I think being honest, having that communication, digging in deeper, all kind of ties and go hand in hand.

Chris: Switching topics here a little bit, let’s talk about your specific specializations within PBC. Do you work primarily in any verticals that you have a lot of experience in, or are you just a little bit more of a general, “I can touch a little bit of everything.”

Dee: My specialization within lead gen is B2C and B2B. I think I can dabble in both of them. I enjoy doing both of them, but one thing that really speaks to me and I’m passionate about is understanding the user experience, whether it’s a B2B client, how can they find a distributor? How can they find where they can go and download a file? How does that look like for them? And a B2C, same concept. I think the user experience and making that life a little bit easier is definitely something that I’m passionate about and empathize with from the user’s perspective.

Chris: Excellent. So looking at those different verticals, do you have any specific specializations within those verticals? For example, I like to think of myself as sort of like a call tracking type of an expert. Is there anything like that that you’ve had extra special success with?

Dee: I would say that my specializations is definitely landing page testing, any AB type of testing ideas, looking at the overall user experience and finding ways to make it easier for them and easier for the company to get that return quicker. I also enjoy doing some competitor research, no looking at to see what’s going on in that industry landscape, and borrowing some of those ideas or finding the different strategies that competitors are using and how we can tailor that on the client side to improve their overall PPC plan.

Chris: Very cool. Yeah. I would say that competitive analysis is definitely not something I enjoy doing. So I guess that’s the whole reason that we have a diverse team is here, is I like to do some things and other people like do other things, and then we can always come down and find that common denominator of what we’d like to work on. So we can all find ourselves in that niche area.

Dee: That’s very true.

Chris: So as we sort of talk about the team and how all the different things that we’re good at variously, I guess, what is it that brought you to Granular in the first place?

Dee: Yeah, so one of my friends and used to be, or my coworkers now, Emily, she knew I was looking for a position and with a new position and she kind of forced me and she said, “This is right up your alley. You should definitely apply. It’s in Milwaukee. It’s not that far from where you live,” and I applied for it. And I just kind of thought I was a little crazy doing it during the start a pandemic, but I wanted to take a leap of faith, and I’m glad that I did that. And it’s kind of like full circle because, Emily, her position got terminated, and she actually got a job here. So it was kind of like, she pushed me to apply at Granular, and at the end, she also got a job at Granular. So it was kind of a cool thing that happened.

Chris: I’m glad you gave Emily credit for that, because in her questioning about how she found out about this place, she said that she would actually told you to apply first. So I’m glad you gave her credit, otherwise she would not be too happy with it.

Dee: Yeah. Now her head’s going to be bigger than ever thinking about that, but no, in all seriousness, it’s definitely, I’ve never worked in like the agency space before. I’ve done everything in house. So it was something new and I’m glad that I did it, and I’m glad that Emily kind of pushed me to do something different, and here we are today.

Chris: Very cool. So that’s sort of interesting that you’ve never worked in an agency before. I know that a lot of people jumped from agency to agency a lot of the time. So people, most of the people who work here have worked at least one other agency in the past. So I guess this is going to be a unique respect coming from you of, what is it that you like about working here at Granular that may be different from while everyone’s perspectives may be from other agencies, what do you like that’s different from working at an in-house place?

Dee: Oh, man. There’s tons of things that I really enjoy about working at Granular. I think some of them include the ability to work in multiple industries and different platforms. I, for one have had very minimal experience working on LinkedIn, and Granular has opened that for me. I actually enjoy working on LinkedIn now and learning that, learning from that new platform. And what’s great is we have tons of people in all their different niche verticals that they’re experts in. So I’m able to learn from a LinkedIn expert and ask questions and become an expert myself with working with someone who is an expert in that vertical space.

Dee: I also really like the ability to think of a strategy yourself. I don’t want to say that you are able to do whatever you want to do, because that’s not the case, but you have the creative freedom to think of a campaign from start to finish and work with your client to establish that strategy.

Dee: It’s not some higher up VP. Like Jordon is not in my meeting telling me, “Well, you know what, Dee, you need to do this and you need to do that.” They trust my expertise. They trust my experience. And there’s this huge trust factor that I think not a lot of companies have. I also, as I mentioned, I started during a pandemic, and I have a four and a five-year-old, and kindergarten and 4-K was closed down completely.

Dee: And just having them … I’m completely new to this company, and I’m new to the agency space, but having them trust me and tell me, “You know what? We’re going to help you. We’ll work with your work hours. You don’t have to worry about it. Family comes first.” I think really speaks volumes of the company, who they are as a company to put that trust in me as a brand new employee. And I think I’m forever grateful for that, that they’ve done that for me.

Dee: Also, there’s definitely a lot of great parks. Once a month we get a care package that they send over. There’s always these little treats. We had a trick or treating in the office. They had pumpkin carvings for us that we were able to do. So there’s so many perks at working with Granular. And although I haven’t worked in the office with everyone, I definitely feel welcomed. I feel like I can say what I want to say to people and build that relationship and that team building virtually. So that’s been really cool for me.

Chris: Yeah. That’s very cool. A lot of meaningful thought behind that response.

Dee: My other one’s weren’t?

Chris: No, usually the go-to answer there is we have great snacks.

Dee: Oh, I have experienced the snacks and it has been awesome.

Chris: Yeah. I’ll tell you, that was definitely a perk, but also a hindrance of crap. There’s all these snacks in front of me now. I got to learn self-control too?

Dee: Yeah. The sweatpants that you got it doesn’t fit anymore.

Chris: That’s the beauty of sweatpants is they stretch. All right, Dee. Well, as we wrap things up, I just wanted to say, thanks again for joining us. It was great having you. Great to meet you. So, thanks.

Dee: You’re welcome. Thanks, Chris, for having me. And maybe one of these days we’ll be in the office together and we can have snacks.

Chris: Oh, geez. Great. Well, thanks, Dee. Thanks for listening to the Getting Granular podcast. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any PPC tips, tricks for news in the digital marketing world. This is your host, Chris Caesar. Thanks for Getting Granular with us today.