Performance marketing – the client only pays for results – is surely thriving in the current murky landscape of dodgy impressions and fake followers.
So let’s talk to a performance manager, Jack Carr, from digital agency NMPi.
Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Jack Carr: I’m a Performance Manager here at NMPi, a digital agency specialising in Paid Search, Paid Social, Programmatic Display and Analytics. My main responsibilities centre around client relations, team management, campaign optimisation and developing our proposition.
E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
JC: I sit on the performance side of the business where, as opposed to traditional managed spend advertising, NMPi front all media spend, tech fees and other costs. We are then only compensated when we drive a sale, lead or any other performance driven KPI, depending on the particular client.
On this side of the business, I report into the Paid Search Channel Lead and our Head of Performance. I also manage some traditional agency-style paid social accounts, in which case I’ll report into the corresponding account director.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
JC: The most important skills that come to mind are being adaptable, proactive, positive, imaginative, communicative, and, above all, interested (seems obvious, but genuine interest goes a long way!).
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
JC: The day will usually start with checking in on how campaigns performed the previous day and optimising as necessary. We also work with a number of US based clients so there can be a few questions awaiting me in my inbox when I get in. Once this is done, it’s pretty hard to nail down what a typical day will consist of, but it’s normally a selection of the following (or all on a particularly busy day!):
- Building out new campaigns and optimising those that are already live.
- Putting together performance reports for clients.
- Calls and meetings with clients.
- Running forecasts and helping with pitches for new business.
- Holding 1-2-1s with my team members to check in on their progress.
- Internal meetings to review strategy and results.
- Attending industry events.
- Checking in on blogs etc. to stay up-to-date with new technologies and best practices.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
JC: It’s been said many times before about digital roles, but the sheer variety of the day-to-day never ceases to excite me. I can go from discussing how best to use paid social to promote package holidays to developing paid search strategy for a fast fashion brand in the space of a few minutes.
A morning can start with a pitch to a prospective new client and segue into attending an industry event in the afternoon. Whilst it’s a challenge keeping on top of everything that’s going on, it’s one that I relish. This does lead to one downside, which is that occasionally I don’t have as much time as I’d like to work on longer term projects as the days are so jam-packed. Wouldn’t change it for the world though!
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
JC: As the majority of my clients are on a paid-on-performance basis, the key KPIs we look at will focus on the pre-agreed goals with the client. This can vary from driving sales, new customer acquisition, sign-ups, traffic to site or ultimately anything else that’s measurable! We aim to be as flexible as possible to align with our client’s goals, the key to a successful performance campaign being when the commissions we receive correspond to the client’s business goals.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
JC: We’re big proponents of DoubleClick here at NMPi and this is an essential tool for us to ensure we’re running multi-channel campaigns that are operating efficiently, attributed properly and sharing as much data as possible. Additionally, our internally developed bespoke tech, NMPinsight, encompasses a wide variety of unique tools.
Our development team is highly integrated with the wider business so we’re always looking for new ways to more efficiently drive performance for our clients. We’re also testing a fair few different third-party management tools for Paid Social which all have their pros and cons.
E: How did you land in this role, and where might you go from here?
JC: I started off specialising in paid search after joining at graduate level in March 2016. Gradually over my time here, I started moving into a role across both Search & Social. This background has given me a real interest in how different channels should be working together to achieve business goals. Consequently, this is going to be a big focus for me in the future.
E: Who is doing social advertising well?
JC: It might not be the most glamorous answer, but those who comprehensively understand the impact of their social advertising as part of their complete marketing efforts. Don’t get me wrong, getting the messaging and creative of your social campaigns is paramount, but the people doing it really well are those who are attributing it properly.
If you’re only focusing on the consumer-facing side of social advertising, you’re only looking at half of the picture and miss potentially countless new opportunities and efficiency gains. The best social advertising should form a full an integral part of a cohesive multi-channel approach.
E: Do you have any advice for people who want to work in social or performance marketing?
JC: Before applying, dedicate some time to properly read about the industry, what the job entails and the current digital landscape. This will both be really helpful for interviews and also help establish whether it’s really what you want. A lot of people come into digital purely because they’ve heard that it’s a more relaxed atmosphere and it’s a chance to use analytical skills you’ve picked up without selling your soul to a bank. Whilst this is definitely true and is a very attractive part of the industry, there’s so much more to it. You need a good work ethic, a testing mentality and a genuine interest in digital, both as it is now and the multitude of directions it can go in the future.
Ultimately, it’s a fantastic job, but one where you very much get back what you put in, whether that’s progression, recognition or enjoyment. Work hard, stay curious and have fun, you can’t go too far wrong with that.