We’ve previously unpacked the common question – do I need a marketing degree to do PPC? (the answers no by the way) and the topics proved pretty helpful indeed – so we’ve gone and smashed another one – this time, buckle up… we’re unpacking what factors make a good marketer.

From your boss to your spouse to every co-worker you work with, everyone has an opinion on the “best” way to market a product or service.

Marketing is fun, and we’re glad that so many take an interest, but to actually be done well, there is a full-blown process that needs to be learned.

The average marketing degree takes 3 years to complete – but why exactly? And what stands those people out and makes them more valuable to you, than say, the average non-skilled, enthusiastic hire that crosses your path?

Image result for marketing gif

The short version:

Marketing graduates have learned that successful marketing originates from, and focuses on; a targeted customer need. 

Marketing graduates understand that basic marketing concepts involve creating a message, branding and positioning.

  • They are strategic – and uncomfortable just operating to actions without a strategy.
  • They operate to motive and tie back to data and ultimately an ROI.

And there’s a detailed version:


Every marketer needs solid communication skills to survive.

These include:

  • Verbal communication.
  • Written communication.
  • Curiosity.
  • Willingness to ask questions.
  • The ability to listen.
  • Good writing skills are a must – your words need to be understood and interpreted correctly.

Emotions don’t come across in written communications – or it’s easy for others to misinterpret motions that you may not have intended when writing a communication.

We need to think about how our communication and messages may be received.

Poor written or verbal communication can lead to a waste of time (and money), as well as misunderstandings of thoughts, intentions, and facts.


One overlooked still in digital marketing is the ability to tell the story of performance and what we are doing and infusing it with data.

We love and crave stories – the human and emotional connection.

In monthly reports you are doing more than just reporting back on the numbers, you are telling a story of what happened and why and infusing the story with data.

Attention to Detail

For a paid search manager – our lives are lived managing and structuring around the details.

A seriously misunderstood element of outsiders to PPC, is the value that comes in the settings (we once found a £120 cost per click that had spend £200,000 and had generated 0 (zero) enquiries in an account we were paid to evaluate).

In the advanced advertising platforms, there are a multitude of settings that aren’t in the easy advertising versions.

Example of settings and options:

  • Geolocation.
  • Time of day and day of week.
  • All of the targeting options.
  • Bidding options.
  • Audiences and lists.
  • Keywords.
  • Match types.

If you’re a pie in the sky creative person who isn’t interested in the little details – paid search most likely isn’t for you.

After doing this for a long time, we can tell you for sure that we’ve found significant issues in the accounts managed by individuals who weren’t detail-oriented. It’s usually how we win our work, truth be told.

You don’t have to a person who lives by a checklist. It can help, but you need to pay attention to the details. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s, to make sure your accounts are in tip top shape.

There are so many possibilities and so many ways for things to go horribly wrong when a search manager isn’t paying attention to the details.


  • We’ve seen a water distribution company whose PPC manager misplaced a decimal point and put a $256-bid into their account instead of a $2.56. Roughly five clicks later their monthly budget was spent.
  • We’ve seen Black Friday ads live in July and Mother’s Day ads reactivated for back-to-school season.
  • We’ve seen French ads to a French version of a UK site live in the UK because they copied the UK. campaigns and forgot to update the geo-targeting settings.

The little details are important.

Analytical Thinking

Data. It’s everywhere and it isn’t going away any time soon.

In fact, we’re on the precipice of accessing even more data as we start to integrate analytical capabilities into more devices. Think: internet of things (IoT), connected car, and smart home speakers.

For the first time ever, data is more valuable than oil.

Search marketers need to be closely monitoring performance data to optimize and improve their search campaigns.

As search professionals, we live in the weeds of the data – digging into Excel sheets ripe with data and insights which leads me to the essential skill of data-driven analysis.

The ability to dive into the data to see the proverbial tree in the forest; however, you also need the ability to step back and see the entire forest.

Often, we get so used to being deep into the data we forget to step back to understand the bigger picture. Within analytical analysis, there are two (and a half) skills set you need.

We live and breathe Excel. It our go-to tool to quickly look at my performance data so that we can slice it, dice it, and analyse it.

To survive in search you need to be proficient in the language of XLS – shortcut keys, functions, nested formulas, and pivot tables.

Statistical Analysis

The basis for analytical thinking and understanding data and campaign performance is part of our everyday life.

Being able to understand statistical significance has been helpful in evaluating performance, and in running tests.

Our solid understanding of statistical analysis gives us an extra layer of credibility with senior leadership teams when we’re reviewing performance and making program recommendations.

We don’t work to guess work when there are so many obvious no-brainer quick wins so obviously still in front of us.

Basic Coding

We’re often found automating as much as we can for speed, and ROI efficiency.

We study growth techniques and principles.

We regularly keep our minds fresh, working as a team to pass information and knowledge to each other – we learn and grow together – bolstering our performance and achievements.

Always Be Learning

The only thing that is consistent in search is change.

You need continual development of skills, abilities, and knowledge to remain at the top of your game.

Our PPC managers need to continuously demonstrate the desire to learn and the willingness to change.

Over the last decade the skill sets across comparison shopping, social, paid search, and display have been converging and the lines blurring.

  • We’ve seen display advertising change from being focused on reaching consumers with a single static image.
  • We had to move fast when Facebook decided that organic posts were no longer important to marketers – overnight, waste of time.
  • We remember when paid search was a keyword set to either broad, phrase, or exact match with a title and two lines of description?

We hope that’s been an interesting insight into what we do. We actually just touched the surface – the tip of the ice-berg so-to-speak.

Was it interesting? Do you see what effort it takes to get to a good standard? Was it what you expected?

Feel free to let us know! We’re always looking to improve our articles – and all help is appreciated.