On any team or in any group, each member contributes their own unique skill set and provides their own unique type of value. They each fill a particular role or need within that group, and as you have probably guessed by now, business is no exception. Specifically, in digital marketing, it is crucial to have different types of thinkers and skillsets on each of your teams or departments, to ensure that you are creating the most meaningful, unique, and practical work for your clients by getting those different perspectives and opinions. There is a multitude of PPC teams in the digital marketing industry (which is only growing), so differentiating your work from those of other teams should be a top priority; diversifying the skills and personalities on your team addresses exactly that.
PPC, by nature, is a highly skill-specific niche of digital marketing, due in large part to the fact that so much of it is data-driven and analytical. There is a huge emphasis on the technical skill set that is necessary to produce high-quality PPC work, so by that token, the people within the PPC department need to fill roles that support those technical efforts.
But, just as with any facet of digital marketing, there are other things to consider. You need people who have the experience to deal with big accounts, as well as smaller ones. You also need people who are equipped and well-versed in all things client-facing. Seems pretty intuitive, right? But the question then becomes who are these people, how many of them do I need, and what particular value should each of them provide?
Four fundamental roles are paramount to any PPC management agency team; the Department Director, the Technical Lead, the Junior Account Manager, and the Senior Account Manager. Each of these people, like mentioned before, contributes unique perspectives and skills, which when combined with those of the rest of the PPC team creates incredibly useful work, which communicates directly to the success of your agency or business.
The Department Director (The Skipper)
As the title would indicate, this is the person in charge of the over-arching success and longevity of your PPC team. They have a multitude of industry experience, both on the technical and the client-facing sides of operations. They are the go-to person for any and all questions regarding PPC strategy and implementation. This person works closely with upper-level management on hiring decisions, long-term initiatives for the department and company, and in acquiring new clients by assessing their existing marketing problems and building strategies designed to remedy them, while still hitting their business objectives.
More than that, though, the Department Director is the leader of everyone in the PPC department. They aim to successfully find that balance between being involved with each team member and their accounts, without micro-managing them. They aim to be approachable, compromising, and friendly while still maintaining enough authority and respect from the team to make executive decisions that will be best for the longevity of the department or team. For lack of a better analogy (what did you expect; I’m a marketer, not a writer) they are the skipper – the captain of the ship. Their aim isn’t simply to keep the ship afloat, but to make sure it reaches every destination it sets course for without too many choppy waters along the way.
The Technical Lead (The Guru)
As I mentioned before, PPC is a highly technical field. It requires extensive knowledge of the use and functionality of a multitude of interfaces including (but not limited to) different ad platforms, ad editing platforms, call-tracking software, and Google Analytics. Beyond that, it also requires proficiency in Microsoft Excel, which if you are unfamiliar with it, can be an extremely complicated program to use for PPC without the proper guidance.
This is where the technical lead comes in. They specialize in those technical skills and implementation tactics, so that if you as a PPC marketer are ever stuck trying to figure something out on one of those (admittedly confusing) interfaces or programs, you have a resource right there that can help you troubleshoot whatever problem you’re having in a time-efficient way. They, like the Department Director, are veterans in the digital marketing space. But, the Technical Lead uses their skill-specific expertise to not only help team members solve problems but train them up on those technical best practices too – in an effort to take everyone’s skillset to the next level.
The Junior Account Manager (The Young Buck)
Chances are, your PPC team handles accounts that vary in many ways, with size and ad spend being two of those variants. The Junior Account Manager is a client-facing role, but they deal specifically with accounts that might pay little or are smaller companies. They are someone who, while they have experience in digital, might have a little less than some other team members. Because of this, they also learn best practices and client-facing skills from Senior Account Managers.
Despite what it sounds like – especially with the word “Junior” in the title – the Junior Account Manager plays a crucial role in the financial stability of a company and your PPC team. A problem agencies have faced in the past is that if a big spending client ends their contract with you, often a considerable chunk of your company’s revenue goes out the window with that as well. But, having enough of those smaller clients can keep your business afloat in this instance, especially if you have the right people on your team that is equipped to do so.
The Senior Account Manager (The Sweet Talker)
We’ve already talked about the overall expert (Department Director), and the technical expert (Technical Lead), but what about the client-facing expert? This is the Senior Account Manager. This is someone who has a lot of experience in marketing, but specifically who has spent the majority of that experience handling accounts, building strategies, and executing on them. While the Technical Lead is the most technically sound member of the team, the Senior Account Manager is the best at communicating with the client. They are responsible for delegating roles and responsibilities to people who are working on that account with him and identifying opportunities to either pivot a client’s strategy or provide them with a new service altogether.
The reason I nicknamed the Senior Account Manager “The Sweet Talker” isn’t because they’re salesmen, or because they’re only good at telling the client what they want to hear. It’s because (in digital marketing especially) they ease the client’s nerves, and can talk them through why what your PPC team is doing is important. Often in digital, the clients seek out agency help because the digital space is something they don’t necessarily have as firm of a grasp on as traditional marketing. They need the Senior Account Manager to talk them through all of the technical jargon that runs rampant in the industry in simple English and communicate the value that it adds to their bottom line. Because of this, they are crucial to any growing PPC team.
As you can see, all of these roles flow into one another and act together to create a cohesive PPC team. You need the technical side – since PPC, in particular, is an incredibly technical niche. You need the client-facing side, whether that be an experienced Senior Account Manager who handles big clients, or a Junior Account Manager who handles smaller customers, to explain why those technicalities and PPC optimizations should matter to the customer and their business. And lastly (probably most importantly), you need The Skipper to keep everyone steering straight in those efforts. If your PPC team has these people, you should be set up for success on both the client-facing and data-driven sides of the PPC coin.