PPC Origins - Jordon Meyer
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 – 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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Jordon: It was a big deal.
Chris: Well, all right. What do you know?
Chris: No, that’s very interesting. So I guess even talking with SEOs versus PPCs, going back to that whole, everybody razzing each other, I think at the end of the day, we all still sort of have the same goal of improving our customers’ businesses in however we best can. So I guess, looking into how you got into the whole PPC space, what sort of got you first interested in it, and what made you want to stick with it?
Jordon: For sure. Summer of junior year, in college, I actually got a job with an entrepreneur who was in the real estate business, but he was really cutting edge and ahead of the tech curve, and he had this like side business, which I guess you could call an agency, but it wasn’t really where he would make websites and do marketing for really small businesses. So he hired me, and at the time, it was like, oh, my goodness, I’m making like $14 an hour, this is amazing, I’m rich. Because every other job in the summer, I would make a minimum wage. I was in a degree that taught me web design and development, and taught me a lot of digital kind of authoring stuff. So I was definitely tech focused. But I didn’t know really what SEO was, they didn’t teach you that, what you name the page titles matters and what you put in the description, the meta description matters.
Jordon: So I got this job. And the guy really showed me the ropes. He was in the SEO before anyone else I knew. So he had like tech books and DVDs and how to do this stuff. So I just absorbed all that. And he taught me SEO back in like 2004. And that really set the path of where I went after that. I still stuck with some web design and development, but the SEO and the PPC part, really cool because really, the psychology of it, you’re kind of gaming the system to think that Google is gamified is really what made me interested in it. It’s all about rank, right? I mean, I’m competitive in nature. And if you can move your website listing above a competitor, what’s better than that?
Jordon: So that’s what really interested me in that, not enough coffee today. And with SEO, that was cool. And I think the same thing goes for paid search, because it’s still competitive, but you’re kind of paying for the where you rank. But the psychology part of getting someone to click, I think is really interesting with putting the right keywords in the ad copy and making the call to action compelling, and using up as much real estate as you can on the ad, things like that are still really competitive at the core.
Jordon: And that’s what really drew me to it. And that’s really why I wanted to stick with it. I think the other thing is just seeing the impact of doing this right. You can be in your own little game of gamifying this stuff and having fun, but at the end of the day, like you said, you’re doing this for a reason, right? You’re going to make this company get found, you’re going to drive clients or customers to them, you’re going to make them money at the end of the day. And how cool is that, that when in your little paid search spreadsheet world, making some tweaks, you were able to influence and grow this business, it’s a pretty amazing thing.
Chris: I 100% agree with that. Even recently sitting in client meetings of, we did these three things and look at the return we’re getting now, we’re making money. So I think we pretty much all agree that the excitement of seeing, being able to tell your client, I made you more money and then saying, oh, this is great, I love making more money, and then seeing… There’s sort of same reaction behind that of how excited you are for them. 100%, that’s a great thing to always be seeing.
Chris: So you mentioned a little bit already, when you first started, you weren’t using shopping ads, and there were no, there were only broad match keywords, which again, as somebody who’s been doing this for like six, seven years, that still seems crazy to me. But to walk it back to day one, or the first year, I guess what did the PPC landscapes look like when you first started?
Jordon: Definitely in the early days, I got started a little bit after some of the G’s, if they listen to this, grandpa’s of the industry, I can’t say that but, like Avinash, although he’s doing analytics and little bit SEO. I mean, he was just kind of making a name for himself back in the day. Dave Szetela. I got started after those guys, obviously, but it was still a small enough community where, I’ve got saved emails from both of those guys. It was a really small community back then, it’s certainly grown. But the crazy thing is some of the wild things to think back, there was no paid social, no shopping ads, no broad match modified, which-
Jordon: It is going away now, which is really crazy to see it full circle. No automation, no automated bidding, no dynamic ads, it was great. I loved it. It’s pure. It’s manual. It’s like a car, right? If you got an automatic versus a manual, there’s just something different there with that manual field. Heavier steering, that’s what old PPC felt like. Today it’s a little bit more automated, and we try to keep it a little more manual around here than most people.
Jordon: But I’ll sound old and say those good old days. And the craziest thing that I remember when I worked at the first agency, there’s a thing called sponsored listings, and I think it was on Yahoo, it could have been another network, but I think it was on Yahoo. And when you did a search on the SERP, Search Engine Result Page, you have your listings of 15 results or whatever, there would be an ad in there, and it would be invisible. It was legit looking like a organic listing and it was a beautiful thing because you just kind of gave them a monthly budget and they would give you sponsored listings. And it was really wild. It went away fairly quickly after I got into it, but it’s pretty crazy to think how a Cloak and Dagger it was back in the day.
Chris: I guess just sort of thinking out loud with all the new changes that Google and Facebook etc, are all rolling out with their, “Oh, let us do all the automation for you.” I wonder if the fact that everything started off so manual has sort of an effect on why people are so hesitant to change just because, this is how I started, I was always used to doing it this way. Let me keep doing it this way, as opposed to trusting these platforms to, “know better than you” based on their millions of signals every minute, that sometimes will bring better results and sometimes won’t.
Jordon: That’s totally a big reason, Chris. I mean, you got a lot of people that are just unwilling to change. But I would say, once you move beyond that initial reaction, there’s actually reasoning that people like me have that may, I would say, are a little more logical of why we’re against some of the automation. And one of those being that automated bidding, for example, is really just Google bidding against itself over and over again.
Jordon: And that just seems unethical, to be honest. You used to be able to control, look, I’m going to bid 10 cents on this, Google is not going to pay a cent more than that, because that’s my bid. And now if you put 10 cents in, it says, “We think you’re going to like this click a little more, so we’re actually going to charge you 15 or 20 cents.” You cool with that, because you have to be. And they’re doing the same thing to your competitor. So now instead of me bidding 10 cents, and my competitor bidding nine, we’re both bidding 15, 20, 25 cents, and then they’re throwing all these new guys in there that are clicking the automate button. And it’s just skyrocketing cost per click. And that’s the fundamental issue that I have with letting automation run wild. And that could be a whole other podcast, it should be another podcast, let’s write that down.
Chris: Sign it up, we’re ready to rock and roll. Because, I was ready to dig, dive into this rabbit hole too, and then realize we may be here for like four hours if we just keep going into different rabbit holes. So stay tuned, everybody that’s upcoming soon. So I guess, looking at what the landscape looked like when you first got into it. Again, we sort of touched on how the automation has developed. But I mean, what else is there that’s really been a little bit different from when you started to now?
Jordon: I mean, so much has changed. I would say, if you’re looking at bigger buckets to throw the change into, it’s automation, it’s measurement. And I would say one of the bigger things is actual regulation. And I might be jumping ahead a little bit. But I think regulation and people becoming aware of what cookies are and how you’re tracked on the internet. And I say people loosely, but because most people don’t care. But when it gets into the government, and now Congress cares about it, that’s when these big companies, that’s when Google and Facebook and Bing, or Microsoft, have to start caring about it.
Jordon: So I think that’s really changed a lot. As far as looking at how companies are progressing, it’s super interesting to see that the huge range of sophistication. Working in this field for 15 or 16 years now, I’ve worked with literally hundreds of companies. And I’ve taken over hundreds of accounts. And it amazes me that an account that I literally just looked at yesterday for an audit has basic architecture bidding ad copy issues that I saw 15 years ago. The progression of sophistication, is really interesting to see that a lot of companies are still really, really far behind on their paid search efforts.
Jordon: And on the flip side, there’s people doing just super advanced things with dynamic ad creation and dynamic landing pages and good attribution models and things like that. But the spectrum seems to be continuing to spread. So even today we’ll see people that are doing things that are 10 years old, that’s what’s really kind of interesting about what has changed, your question. For some, a lot of companies like, not much, you jump into an account, it looks old, which is really interesting.
Chris: And I think that sort of plays into to you talking about doing an audit, there have been times where I’ve audited an account and, it’s, you’re doing this really old thing, and, they may come back with, “Well, this working.” And this is why it worked really well for all of us five years ago, too. And that always comes back to, how can we make it better? And then I guess, just continuing to evolve in the processes that all these platforms and different experts across the industry come up with, that’s really, always the end goal is to always find ways to improve things. So we talked about the past and sort of the present. So obviously, what’s the next step there? What’s the future? So I guess, what do you foresee as the future of the PPC landscape looking like?
Jordon: I mean, I think, things are going to continue to evolve. And it feels like they’re speeding up, nowadays, with all the government regulation right now. I think we’re at kind of a pivotal moment in the paid search ecosystem or timeline, where things are rapidly changing. And Google has always been really great at being years ahead of the curve. They’re really future tellers, and we only see a snippet of it, the public only sees a tiny fraction of it. I think, because we’re a partner agency, and we know so many people at Google, we see a little bit more. And we’ve seen their behavior over and over again, so we can kind of see what’s coming down the pipeline.
Jordon: But I think, the end of the cookie, the traditional cookie is near, the end of the keyword is probably within the next five years. And this is on Google. I think everything’s kind of moving towards this audience, bidding in this persona, really looking at kind of secret, unlabeled signals that don’t give out PII, personal identifiable information. So it’s kind of anonymous, but on the back end, Google still kind of putting the advertiser in front of the right group. I really think it’s more group focused in the future. And I think that’s unfortunate, because we were at a point within the last few years of being so precise, with getting in front of a couple people with ads, it was really amazing.
Jordon: And I feel like, because of regulation, because of lawsuits, because of threats of policy and privacy laws, Google sees this, and they’re intentionally proactively making some moves to divest and protect themselves from legal implications. And that is taking control away from the advertisers, unfortunately. So that’s the gloom side of it.
Jordon: The positive side is there’s a lot more advertising channels, there’s a lot more eyes on the internet than there were yesterday. So with that, as an agency, we’re able to piece together, we advertise on like 24 paid platforms today, which is crazy, right? Like name something other than Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Bing. Well, there’s 19 others that we advertise on. And that’s growing.
Jordon: So as all these new social channels come out, new video channels, new apps, those are all harvesting loads of data and tons of user signals. And by using multiple channels, and combining some of those signals with a central data source of truth, like Google Analytics or another analytics platform, we can leverage that and really bring it back to the good old days of targeting individuals on a more granular level, and we made it like 20 minutes before saying granular.
Chris: I do my best to always not make that pun, and then I sort of like bite my lip when I accidentally make it. So I think we’ve all made it enough times in our data to just sort of acknowledge it and move on, that happened.
Jordon: You can’t avoid it.
Chris: No, as Granular’s resident, Facebook and Reddit and other platform experts, I think the growing number of channels is something that’s really interesting. But then, I guess to look at things that way, a lot of the times on those platforms, we’re not bidding based on keywords, which I think that when you mentioned the end of the keyword, that’s something that really intrigues me as, when we’re looking at Google or Microsoft ads, it’s all keyword driven. So we’re starting and ending with the keyword, essentially, to put it into most simplicity sake.
Chris: So I guess, how do you foresee that evolving? If they were to get rid of the keyword, just solely based on the fact of, is it I give you my website and indicate what I want people to do on the website, and you find people for me? Or is it going to be more of, I’m going to add more of this interest based targeting where, as people opt out of that type of tracking, that type of data may become less readily available for these platforms?
Jordon: I mean, I think we see some of the progression already with Google. And their local service ads, you basically sign up and tell them you’re a plumber, and they start sending you leads. It’s really hands off, it’s really easy, you just give them money and they give you leads, for better or worse. And the searches that show up in that, I’m sure are just ludicrous. I’m sure it’s a waste of money. But at the end of the day, I’m sure there’s a lot of wasted spend, in the traditional sense, when we would go into an account, look at keywords and the search query report, we find a lot of wasted spend, and we fix that. But the way Google and Facebook have moved towards kind of audience and guessing the intent of, or I would say, predicting the intent, because they’re that good, of the user, they’re fully away from the keyword.
Jordon: So I would say, look, we’re going to hold on to the keyword as long as possible, we’re going to use the match types as strictly as possible. And we’re going to continue to win and gain market share for our clients. I mean, that’s what getting Granular is all about. I mean, we make good better. But for the people just getting into this or the less sophisticated advertisers out there and less sophisticated agencies, they’re going to set up these smart shopping campaigns, they’re going to set up these smart display campaigns, and really lean on automation. And they’ll do fine. But that’s what Google wants. And that’s what kind of everybody wants. They want less active management, they just want clients to enter a budget and be okay with it, because they’re getting some leads, and they’re getting some traffic. It’s kind of crazy.
Chris: Interesting and scary at the same time.
Jordon: But as far as our job security goes, I mean, given that there are 30 advertising platforms, and you got to figure out how to use those, how to measure those, sort of put the messaging on them and track them, how to allocate budget, there’s so much complexity. I would say there’s more complexity now than there ever has been. So using kind of senior level consultants, all the employees here, is going to be needed. I think, beyond if the keyword does go away, and let’s listen to this in five years and see where we’re at. We’re still going to be doing crazy amounts of good work for our clients.
Chris: Definitely. I think that you guys sort of agree with that too, where I don’t want to say the worst accounts that I’ve audited or taken over but the most simply set up accounts are the ones that, it was, you have a business owner or a marketing manager overseas, 30 different things of like, “Oh, I was told I need to be advertising on Google. So I set this up, and it was I threw my one keyword in there. And then I just let it go.” And we’re just guessing that we’re getting things to come from it.
Jordon: It’s all named campaign one, campaign two.
Chris: All right. What’s in campaign? You got to click into and figure it out.
Chris: Definitely. I think that really speaks volumes to, like you said, there’s always going to be a need for a specialist to run those kinds of accounts. Especially because if you’re doing that on Google and then you try it on Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn, and Reddit, or any of the other channels, that’s where it’s just become, you’re just spending 10s of 1000s of dollars and you don’t realize if you’re actually getting any return on that.
Chris: Very cool. So sort of switching topics a little bit, talking… I honestly don’t even know if you run any accounts yourself, being a paid media manager. But you definitely work with every single one of our clients. So I guess, if you want to talk about your sort of personal approach to how you deal with different types of clients as they come in, this, obviously is going to be a little bit different to somebody who manages accounts, day to day in and day out, you’re a little bit more of a higher level interaction with them. So I guess if you talk about an intake process where, meeting you, meeting the team, I mean how you sort of manage that day to day communication with all of our clients.
Jordon: Good save, Chris. Maybe could have edited the questions for the owner but that’s okay.
Chris: I definitely read through this outline before I send it to you, right?
Jordon: I managed the Granular advertising account. And would it pass an audit by our team? No, it’s ugly, and it’s terrible, and it’s outdated. But I do stay hands on as much as I can.
Chris: I’m glad you said that because I wasn’t going to. But I agree.
Jordon: But as some people care only about the leads that are generated, so I’m still happy with the performance. But, I mean, everyone that they comes to us, all new clients and prospects. A lot of people talk about seeing our ads everywhere. While you guys really know how to target me, your ads, or follow me around on a free platform. That’s me, I personally take pride in managing all those accounts. And the beauty of running an agency is, we get access to a lot of new advertising channels, and I test those out on ourselves before we push them to any clients. So, we were on Quora before anybody, we were doing a lot of YouTube stuff before a lot of clients, testing out programmatic ads, and testing out a lot of different mediums in the paid search world, on ourselves.
Jordon: So that’s how involved I am with running media accounts as far as getting involved with client accounts, I’ll definitely jump in once in a while. And I feel like my style these days is old school. So typically, I’m giving you guys old school advice on how to control things more, make sure that if you’re bidding on the brand it’s manual CPC, and not automated, and not trying to maximize impressions. You’re owning the brand, that’s a really basic campaign. Or I’m talking about budget management styles, and really higher level strategy around managing accounts and managing multiple channels at once. That’s how I get involved with all of our accounts nowadays, I’m not necessarily managing day to day stuff.
Chris: Excellent. So, again you sort of mentioned how we always test out all these different platforms before we roll them out to clients. I guess, have there been any that you found to have been, especially successful? Or is there something that, “I found this works really well for this type of vertical.” And what would you sort of say has been, what you’ve found to be the most successful in the way that you’ve tried different things?
Jordon: Sure. I think, structure of old school keyword search campaigns, restructuring those into really precise structures, has really helped. That’s a really tried and true method of improving account. If we take over a large account that’s fairly messy if it has a lot of history, there’s a lot of good things that I can find from a data standpoint that leads me to suggestions on new architecture for the campaign. So it’s really down to basics, is some of the best stuff that I’ve found for clients coming on board. Just how to improve quality score, how to improve all those major KPIs that lead to a lower cost per click and a lower cost per acquisition. As far as channels that we’ve had success with over the last year, I’d say, we’ve really jumped into programmatic pretty hard. And I think we have had good success there. Certainly outperforming clients past programmatic experiences. And that’s primarily because we’re just more transparent about stuff than most people. So, their cost is lower with us.
Jordon: But we’ve got some really cool reach. I think that’s the neat thing about our cord cutting, and the absolute explosion of streaming is we’ve got all this inventory now that we can digitally buy and programmatically buy and get smaller advertising budgets on what feels like a national stage. A lot of our connected TV advertisers, for example, couldn’t afford to be on TV just a year or two ago. And now they’re showing their ad in people’s living rooms. And I think that’s a really cool, newer channel that I’m proud of.
Chris: Very cool. I guess to take that a step further, do you find that there are any specific verticals that, I guess programmatic specifically works well for? Or is it more of a, if you have the budget and the correct goals, that’s really pretty much across the board work for you?
Jordon: I’d say across the board from a vertical standpoint. I mean, we’ve had really good success with ECOM, we’ve had really good success with higher ed. It really depends on the message that we’re delivering, it depends on the budget and investment and other channels, because programmatic is not going to directly drive leads, it’s going to generate awareness and help drive people down that funnel into the awareness and consideration phase. And so that’s why it’s dynamic and can be successful, it’s kind of every vertical. But I would say that you got to have budget to support, lower funnel initiatives like search and shopping, or lead gen on LinkedIn, things like that, also need to be supported, you can’t just run connected TV and hope that the cash register rings.
Chris: Definitely. And that’s a conversation that I’ve had on a few occasions recently as well, so, no disagreement for me there. Cool. So I guess, pivoting a little bit once more, before we wrap things up, bringing it all back to being a Granular specifically. What brought you to Granular, we sort of heard that story. And this is sort of where we have a conversation about the culture here of Granular.
Chris: Obviously what people like about it is going to be a little bit different for everyone. But you being the leader here, you’re the one that sort of sets the culture. So I guess if you want to touch a little about what you try to do to to make a good culture, I haven’t had anybody complain about, “I hate the culture here, everybody sucks.” But, I can honestly say this is one of the jobs that I most enjoyed working at, and that I’ve ever had. So I guess, do you want to touch a little bit more on what you’ve done to make sure that you set a positive culture? And then what has developed out of that, that you must enjoy?
Jordon: Sure. Don’t go anywhere Chris, I love having you here.
Chris: I don’t plan on it.
Jordon: So culture is huge with me. And it’s been something that I’ve been intentional about my entire career. That’s observing, that’s being part of, that’s trying to improve culture from other places I’ve worked. And I just looked back at my bookshelf because I have the Zappos culture book from 2008 that’s signed by Tony Hsieh, RIP. But, Zappos-
Chris: What? The shoe store?
Jordon: There’s a book that they put out every year, in the past. And mine is from 2008. That’s when I really got into culture.
Chris: I had no idea that was the thing.
Jordon: So at the other companies I worked at, if I could, I tried to influence the culture as much as possible. You are not only being a good teammate, but being a good employee and getting my job done. But going beyond that, and participating in cookoffs, and internal events, and participating in trainings, and contributing to their contents, and contributing to their social media, sharing things and really just being a good team player, that’s kind of one step.
Jordon: Another part of it is giving people what they need. So, I mean, if you look at my resume, I’m not a good employee, I jump around a lot. And it would seem that I landed where I needed to land. And I was on a pretty direct path there. But along the way, I really observed stuff that I liked, and I didn’t like. And I like to think that I took good notes mentally and made sure that I applied all those things to Granular when I was creatingit. Things as simple as, I’m not going to name the companies I worked for, but we can kind of go in order. One that had just the shittiest chair that you’ve ever seen, I had to sit in every day. And it was unlevel floor so I’d roll back in this shitty chair all day. And I had to deal with that. And I had to deal with a corded mouse. And the cord always getting too wrapped up and it’s super annoying.
Jordon: And for someone like me, it’s like, this takes me two seconds longer to change a bid. And over the course of a month, this has taken half an hour and this drives me nuts. I got to fix this. Another place I was at, I had a desk that was just unbelievably low. And I asked them to raise it. And literally my last week that I was there, they finally raised it. And it was like, “The HR manager got on there with some tools.” But we have automatic raising and lowering desks. We have Herman Miller chairs at granular. We have nice Logitech equipment that almost always works.
Chris: Almost always.
Jordon: But those, the technical, the kind of physical things drove me crazy. Another place just had the worst coffee. They literally bought the cheapest coffee they could, and it sat in the freezer, and it was awful. And then at Best Buy, because the CMO used to be the CMO at Caribou Coffee, he put Caribou Coffee. There were two cafes in corporate headquarters. And there was not a drop of free coffee in the place. It was 5000 people, and everyone had to buy coffee from Caribou if you wanted coffee. So just another thing that stuck with me, right? I’m buying the best coffee in Milwaukee. We’ve got a lot of good roasters here. It’s always going to be fresh, it’s always going to be amazing. As a business owner, when you look at the numbers, and you’re like, “Okay, so buying this crap will save me $500 a year, why on earth would I do that to my taste buds and my employees taste buds?” Instead of just spending a little more money, and making everybody happy.
Jordon: So there’s things like that, that are just ingrained into me that, this is not going to happen, and we’re going to have these things that are cool. And so a lot of it is environmental. As far as hierarchy and red tape goes, I’ve also luckily experienced a ton of that.
Chris: I don’t know if that’s a luckily thing.
Jordon: Luckily, for all of you. I just experienced the craziest red tape, the craziest amount of meetings, the craziest deadlines, and the worst bosses. And instead of becoming those things, I try to do the opposite. So, I like to think we have just a crazy amount of autonomy here. I try to hire people that know what they’re doing, and I let them do it. I’m not over the shoulder. I’m not hiring middle marketing managers to look over you guys’ shoulders, and critique you, and tell the boss on you. I try to really make sure that politics and just overbearing bosses, I really want that to never be a thing here.
Jordon: And I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that. And it all comes down to respect, and autonomy, and giving people the ability to do what they want to do. And for better or worse, that can kind of give you enough rope to cause your own problem, but everyone really jumps in and handles it well. And I think that’s the cool thing that gives me a lot of pride about, our team doesn’t need a lot of hand holding to do a really good job.
Chris: I mean, I don’t think, I know I 100% agree with the whole autonomy thing and cutting out of the red tape. Speaking from personal experience, that was kind of a shock to me, probably my first two months or so here at Granular. I expected to be getting direction from all these different places and then realized, oh, I’m just the one who can drive the direction. Once I did get the hang of that, because obviously, that’s pretty much for everybody, has been in the past of, make sure you check with A, B, C, and D before you do anything. The ability to know that I have that freedom just to, again, to put it in your words, create my own problems. Not probably the best way to explain it, but for the sake of argument, that’s what it is.
Chris: I would 100% agree that, once you realize that you’re the one in charge and you’re the one that’s responsible for making all the decisions, it’s really liberating to know that, this is my ship and we’re going to sink or swim based on my decisions, and then, obviously it’s not always going to work out, but you do your best to make it more often than not where the change is for the positive. And then if that negative does happen, you take a step back, reassess what you did wrong and you learn from it and move on. But I 100% agree that was very liberating and refreshing to know.
Jordon: Cool. And I hear that from almost everybody that joins us, and it usually does take a month or two. And then you guys are like, “Oh, there’s really autonomy here. That’s kind of crazy.”
Chris: Definitely. I will say this though, anybody who knows me won’t be surprised by this, but I’m not a fan of all the cooking contests, so you should probably just stop. Unless the contest is who can make the most bland piece of baked chicken breast, then I’m in. But other than that I really have no chance at winning any of these things.
Jordon: It sounds like you need to look up the word marination and learn how to marinate.
Chris: I made beef jerky once, didn’t go well but I made it. And that was the end of it.
Jordon: I would say that I think we all miss the cooking competitions.
Jordon: Maybe not losing them, but sampling all the food is definitely fun.
Chris: The whole concept of, I don’t need to bring myself lunch today wasn’t actually pretty good. But I’ll just let everybody know that it’s okay. I am doing fine. I’m just sitting here wearing my fantasy football championship ring. So it all evens out at the end of the day.
Chris: Awesome. So you yeah Jordon. Again thanks for taking the time to walk us through. How you got started and obviously how Granular got started. Even I learned a lot today about things I didn’t know about the company and the way you think. And I learned a lot of things about, why my chair is the way it is. So I guess before we wrap up, is there anything else you just sort of want to leave us with, or leave some wise words of wisdom for the listeners?
Jordon: Oh, man. I don’t know. Thanks for listening to my long ranting story. There’s a lot more that wasn’t said but these are the highlights. And it’s always interesting to hear how the team got where they are. And whether it’s intentional or people accidentally slip into this field, I think it’s been amazing. I think it’s currently really interesting. And I think the future is even more interesting, as more, let’s use quotes, “experts jump out into the field of paid search.” I think. I feel really confident that people who actually know what they’re doing are going to float to the top and that’s our team. So, thanks for listening.
Chris: All right. Thanks Jordon. And thanks, like you said, thanks everybody else for taking the time to listen to the Getting Granular Podcast today. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any PPC tips, tricks, or news in the digital marketing world. I’ve been your host once again, Chris Cesar, and thanks for getting Granular with us today.