PPC Origins – Jordon Meyer

Meet Jordon Meyer, Granular’s Founder, CEO, Treat Buyer, Floor Sweeper, Garbage Man and Sandwich Artist. Tune in to hear about the good old days of PPC and what has kept him in the field for over 15 years. Plus learn about the philosophy and inspiration behind Granular and the office culture.

Show Notes

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

  • How Jordon started Granular (1:11)
  • Why he got interested in PPC (12:58)
  • What the landscape was when he started (17:28)
  • Thoughts on automation (20:05)
  • Changes to the landscape since he started (22:22)
  • Prediction on future changes in PPC (25:51)
  • Is the end of the keyword near? (30:34)
  • His personal approach to account management (35:05)
  • Success with new platforms and rolling them out to clients (38:20)
  • Inspiration for the culture at Granular (42:56)

Episode Transcription

Narrator: 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 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. Once again, I am Chris Cesar, Senior Manager of Paid Media here at Granular, and we’re joined with a very special guest today, Jordon Meyer. Welcome.

Jordon: Thanks for having me, Chris. What a pleasure to be here.

Chris: So if anyone is unfamiliar with who Jordon is, he’s the big guy that writes all the paychecks. He’s our owner, our CEO, I guess what’s exactly your title, Jordon?

Jordon: Everything. Founder, President, CEO, garbage man, treat buyer, floor sweeper, you name it.

Chris: All right. Very cool. Well, thanks for taking the time to do this today. We’re excited to talk about how you got started in PPC.

Jordon: Absolutely.

Chris: So I guess just to kick things off, do you want to just sort of, give us a little background about yourself, how you I guess arrived at Granular or how you started Granular. And start from the beginning, and here we are today.

Jordon: Oh, man. All right. Get ready for a long story.

Chris: Great.

Jordon: Yes, so I started Granular in December 2014 as a solo employee, but before that, I was in the paid search space for about a decade. So I’ve been doing paid search since, Jeez, 2005, 2004. But professionally, I got my start right out of college. I worked for a travel company doing email and some light SEO work, some design work, things like that, that a lot of digital kind of producers did back in the day. But I really grabbed on to the SEO and paid search side of it. So that was a short contract job out of college.

Jordon: And then I went into an e-commerce role, where I was in charge of four pretty sizable e-commerce websites and had a small team under me. And that’s when I really got into paid search. I saw exactly what it did, and what it was capable of. And that grew into a passion of mine. And I was also kind of passionate about the agency space. I really wanted to break into that. So I quit that job and went to work for a local small boutique, but full service agency in Milwaukee.

Jordon: And I headed up paid search there, but I also still did some SEO work, some affiliate marketings, email marketing, again, it was still early days, so there weren’t a ton of just people specializing in one of those digital fields. But I knew again, paid search was my passion and what I was the best at. So I kind of saw the ceiling at that agency. So I went to bigger agency, also in town to work exclusively on paid search. And that was a really cool move for me because I got to work with larger e-commerce clients and really drive big revenue with big budgets, because it was a larger agency with larger clients.

Jordon: From there, I got sick of the agency space, which I say to all my employees listening now, you never will, it’s a wonderful thing, stay here. But I was curious to go in house. So I was looking around a little bit and then I got reached out to by a recruiter. And talked to them and it sounded like a wonderful opportunity. So I dropped everything and move up to Minneapolis to run paid search for Best Buy Corporate. I was there only a short while, really, seven, eight months. And I kind of bailed from there because leadership was in a pretty bad spot. If you look at history of when I worked there, there were scandal with the CEO and lots of just infighting within leadership. If you’re familiar with, office space is a very similar corporate structure with bosses on top of bosses on top of bosses and no one gets anything done.

Jordon: But the cool part of that job was I get to manage budgets, sometimes during the holiday, I was there, and I got to spend close to a million dollars a day, which is insane. And I was also put in charge of the three biggest accounts there. Because when you’re working on that size of paid search, you have multiple accounts within the same company. So we had like eight or nine accounts. I was in charge of the brands, I was in charge of personal electronics, and home electronics. And between those, personally I was managing close to a million dollars during holiday, which was insane.

Jordon: So that gave me just huge experience. And in e-commerce and another, I just love e-commerce. So they didn’t have shopping ads before I got there. So I introduced them to shopping ads. And me and my counterpart there, we kind of spearheaded that initiative, and it took like six months to get up and running on shopping, because we had to put together a bunch of use cases and case studies on why Best Buy should do shopping ads, and why it’s not a waste of time and how the return will look. So that was insane that we even had to go through so much red tape just to do something that’s so normal these days.

Jordon: I also had to put together a bunch of reasoning and sit through a bunch of meetings on why we should use broad match modified, because that was new at the time. And up until then they only use broad. So the red tape just really suffocated me and I had to get out a lot with the leadership. So that’s the… This is such a long story, Chris, you still good?

Chris: I’m still here. I was just going to cut it when you mentioned office space. And just make sure, a spoiler alert, if anybody hasn’t seen the 20 year old movie, but you didn’t like the burn down the building or anything. Did you?

Jordon: No, I didn’t. And I didn’t have a stapler. So jump cut back to leaving Best Buy, I was at the inaugural event of Minnesota search organization. And it was standing room all day, it was a really impressive turnout for the first meeting. And that was just around trying to get every paid search and SEO together in an organization and a nonprofit to share best practices and ideas and it’s still going to this day, and it’s really cool.

Jordon: But anyways, I was in the back standing. And I was standing next to this SEO guy and we’re razzing each other because that’s what paid search and SEO people do. “Oh, you got to pay for the traffic, sell me more snake oil.” So we got along. And long story short, he told me about a job opening, and I applied and moved on to a university up there to head up there paid search, and I was actually brought in to fire their agency. And they were using a huge agency out of Chicago, one of the big guys. And they were charging like 30 to $40,000 a month, just in management fees. And part of the interview process is I audited the account. And I found they were paying like $500 for a click.

Jordon: They had tons of conflicting negatives, they had all their geo targeting messed up. And is a really easy case to show, first of all, hire me, second of all, fire these guys. So I was brought on, fired those guys. We created the beautiful X graph of lowering cost and increasing enrollment, and had a lot of success there. But again, I was kind of on my own little island of being a paid search expert in a big marketing organization. Because it was a for-profit college. So it was more marketing driven than student driven.

Jordon: And I decided to jump to another higher role and went to a college called Globe University. And it was actually a kind of a parent company of six college brands. So I headed up paid search there and then quickly rose up to head up all digital, which meant I had a team of four or five paid search experts. I had a team of three SEOs under me, I had a team of two reporting analysts and then a team of six content writers and two web designers.

Jordon: So we did a lot of good stuff there. And so that’s where I was in the later 2012, ’13 area. Since 2012, so since I was at Best Buy, I had people started to reach out to me asking to help with paid search on their side. And since I was corporate, there was no conflict of interest. So I was taking on some smaller clients on the side, basically selling my nights and weekends. So between 2011, or ’12 to 2014, I was actually starting to sell all my nights and weekends, doing paid search consulting. And it happened to be a number of clients in Wisconsin, and in Milwaukee, because I had a reputation here.

Jordon: So I started to get a little bit more savvy for the business side, started to get a little more burnt out on the corporate side. And thought that, look, I think I have enough business here to maybe replace my salary at this corporate job and just go full time. And I already created the brand Granular, because when you’re in corporate meetings, literally like eight hours a day, the word granular just kept coming up like 1000s of times a day. “You have to get more granular.” So I thought, hey, that’s a pretty good brand name. And it was available. And today we own the registered trademark of that, which is pretty cool.

Jordon: So 2014, I told my CMO, I said, hey, look, I’m going to start my own thing. And the trouble is, I got to sell my house here first and love if you get as flexible and they said, “Well, we want as much time as you can give us.” So I actually had like a three or four months runway, three or four month notice that I gave the university and household and then we moved down here right away and started Granular officially, December, 2014. And that is the longest story ever.

Chris: I mean, in your notes, you used put you’re a Subway sandwich artist, I was looking forward to hearing more about that.

Jordon: Well, if we wanted to go all the way back to my first job.

Chris: Back when I was 16.

Jordon: My first job, back when they cut the bread in the triangle, Chris. I don’t know if you’re old enough to know it was cut differently.

Chris: I don’t even think I knew that ever.