Which skill will make or break PPC professionals in the next 5 years?

My job isn’t to do PPC. 

I have a single job, and that’s finding ways to help my clients make more profit.

The vehicle that Discosloth has chosen to drive home this goal happens to be PPC. Mostly Google Ads. With a sliver of LinkedIn, Bing Ads, X Ads, or Apple Ads if they make sense. And some of the tires we plop on this profit vehicle include analytics, conversion tracking, reporting, financial projections, product price comparisons, CRM integrations, on and on and on.

But at the end of the day, really our only goal as an agency? To help clients make more profit. 

(Notice that I said help clients make more profit, not make more revenue. There’s a huge difference. Anyone can scale revenue. It’s much harder to bring home profit. End side note).

Semantics, you say. Discosloth is just a PPC agency.

Well, not really, I retort. Here’s why.

There are agencies out there who are service-provider agencies — providing tangible, predictable, hands-on services — and there are agencies who are partner agencies.

Here’s what a pure service-provider PPC agency looks like:

  • Doesn’t know how much their customer margins are
  • Doesn’t know how what their customer P&Ls look like
  • Doesn’t have the built-up trust/judgement to make budget calls for the client
  • Doesn’t build personal relationships with their clients
  • Doesn’t go the extra mile to provide value in any way possible
  • Isn’t helping customers with product pricing & positioning
  • Isn’t proactively helping customers with designing sales, promotions, or new campaigns
  • Isn’t proactively setting up new tracking and attribution solutions
  • Is replaceable by AI, probably paranoid about Google’s generative features
  • Probably charges hourly or granularly for every single little service

Here’s what a partner agency looks like:

  • Knows exactly how much customer margins are
  • Knows exactly what the customer’s financial goals are for next year
  • Has the ability to increase & decrease budgets at all
  • Has full access to Shopify, Klaviyo, CRM, financial spreadsheets
  • Does anything within their power to help increase profits, even though it’s outside scope
  • Makes friends and develops relationships with the real people inside their client’s business
  • Proactively sets up new solutions and improves existing reporting
  • Isn’t replaceable by AI, learns to deal with Google Ads generative features
  • Probably charges a flat rate or similar and doesn’t worry about time tracking

The service-provider agencies are already seeing declining revenue, high customer churn, budget cutbacks, and having to take a haircut on both staff and profits.

Agencies who partner with their clients — and provide value beyond simply setting up PPC campaigns and hitting “go” — will dive into financials, help position new products and services, research effects of pricing, delivery, targeting changes, suggest to cut budgets if needed, suggest to abandon platforms if needed, have only customer profits in mind — these guys are going to be fine.

Boiled down, it’s business strategy vs tactical execution.

One isn’t necessarily better than the other. Ideas alone are useless. But executing without good ideas is equally useless.

I don’t think there’s a good way to be this “partner agency” unless you are practically embedded within your client’s organization. It’s not an easy process, and it requires a decent amount of trust.

So why don’t more agencies take a partnership-focused embedded approach? 

  1. It takes too long. This isn’t a first-month sort of thing. It may take a year.
  2. It’s expensive. Very few clients can support this level of partnership.
  3. It’s hard to build this level of trust. A certain personal/agency brand has to be built up so that prospective clients know this coming into the deal.
  4. It requires being engaging and likable — every single person on your agency team who interacts with the client needs to develop a relationship with them.
  5. The payoffs aren’t immediate. You can’t just charge out the wazoo right off the bat. When you’re focused on building profits for your clients, you have to make your agency’s fee worth it.
  6. Lots of clients don’t even know their numbers. You have to figure it out for them.
  7. You need more than just PPC expertise. You also have to know how to run a business.

I have never been more bullish about the future of agencies and consultants.

Make sure you’ve got the chops in business, strategy, financial analysis, product marketing, and all the boring stuff most creatives don’t want to mess with. Stop getting distracted by distractions. Focus on profitable sales.

Go make your clients a million dollars!

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