November 3, 2023 AdGurus

Strategy vs Tactics in Paid Marketing

Performance Marketing is evolving and as marketers we need to pivot as well

As a performance marketer, I’ve often encountered a common misconception among clients: the belief that paid advertising is a strategy. It’s crucial to dispel this myth and understand that paid advertising, such as Google Ads, is a vehicle—a sophisticated and dynamic one—for executing your broader business strategy.

The Misconception of Paid Advertising as Strategy

You’re running a business and you have set out your goals. You need a map to where you want to go. Paid advertising, (or any form of advertising) is not the map; it’s the car you choose to drive on the journey. The map is your strategy, outlining the route you plan to take, the stops you’ll make along the way, and the final destination. But no matter how advanced the car is, without the right map, you won’t get to where you want to go.

PPC: A Sophisticated Form of Media Buying

PPC marketing is akin to a very sophisticated form of media buying that is intensely data-driven. It allows for an unprecedented level of targeting, timing, and personalization, making it a powerful tool in your arsenal. However, it’s the strategy that dictates how to use that tool effectively.

Data and Algorithms: Beyond Sophisticated Media Buying

Another misconception in 2023 in digital marketing, you must have very sophisticated targeting settings composed of demographics, interests and parameters. This used to be the case up until a few years ago. But the combination of privacy rules, cookie consents, ad blocking and AI has changed once more the rules of the game. Precise targeting is not achieved by composing complicated targeting parameters. It is achieved by feeding algorithms high quality data about your customers using first part data and robust tracking. And that’s one of the new roles of the performance marketer; to curate and track the right data. This role is crucial—ensuring that data collection is strategic and purposeful, allowing algorithms to target and optimize with accuracy. But remember, algorithms follow the strategy laid out by humans; they don’t create it. It’s the marketer’s expertise that turns data into strategic action, not the sheer computing power of algorithms alone. Again, AI is not a strategy it’s the car that will drive you there.

The Creative and the Offer are the Targeting

Recently I posted on LinkedIn this post that got a lot of traction.

That is because it resonates with the new reality marketers are facing in an AI dominated world. Gone are the days of laser-precise targeting. Hello algorithms that measure reactions to a well crafted creative / offer. These reactions guide the algorithms to scaling to more and more of the users you want like a heat seeking missile.

The Interplay of Product, Price, and Performance

The magic happens when a great product, a well-thought-out strategy, and well-deployed paid campaigns converge. This trinity can yield astonishing results, catapulting your brand into the spotlight and driving significant business growth. Conversely, if your product misses the mark on quality or price, no amount of PPC wizardry can compensate. It’s like trying to sell ice in the Arctic—no matter how persuasive your advertising, the fundamental offering is misaligned with the market’s needs.

Conclusion: The New Crucial Role of the Performance Marketer

In the realm of performance marketing, the performance marketer is the strategist, the executor, and the analyst. Their role is to first align with the client’s strategy or help forge one that is clear and actionable. They then launch and manage campaigns that are direct extensions of this strategy, aimed at driving measurable results.

But the work doesn’t stop there. The performance marketer continuously interprets data, gleaning insights from algorithmic feedback to refine and enhance campaign performance. In doing so, they ensure that PPC moves beyond mere tactics to become a strategic powerhouse, driving the client’s business forward with precision and insight.

Have any questions, updates, comments or just want to talk shop? Find me on LinkedIn.

Also, feel free to request a free Google Ads Audit.

Yannis Giovanos


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