Module 1: Discovery

Discovery is where we align on key objectives, uncover important insights, design our digital strategy. Discovery means asking the right questions about your organization and your industry. We spend this time identifying key audiences, dissecting the shopping journey, and spying on your competitors' strategy.

Table of Contents

Part A - Questions You Need to Ask About Your Business

A thorough business discovery process can help you find gaps in your strategy and identify opportunities in your market. 

The information that you gather during discovery will lay the foundation for your PPC strategy. It’s important that you understand what questions to ask and why it’s important to ask them.

  • How are decisions made?
  • What processes slow down decision making/action?
  • How do you leverage data?
  • What KPIs matter to your organization?
  • What’s your yearly revenue and operating costs?
  • What are your 1-2-5 year growth and performance ambitions?
  • Can you explain your sales process from start-to-finish?
  • How are you currently driving sales? 
  • What traditional and/or digital marketing channels are you using?
  • How many of your sales come from referrals?
  • Who is your ideal customer? Who can you service?
  • What problems do your customers face?
  • What solutions are your customers looking for?
  • How many times do your customers buy from you on average?
  • What’s the average lifetime value ($£€) of a customer?
  • How much are you willing to pay to acquire a customer?
  • Who are your direct and indirect competitors?
  • Why would you lose a deal to a competitors?
  • How does your pricing compete against the market?
  • How does your branding compete against the market?
  • What digital channels are you currently using (i.e. Google Ads, Bing Ads)
  • What does your marketing tech stack look like?
  • Are you utilizing web analytics software (i.e. GA4)?
  • Are you utilizing a CRM software (i.e. Hubspot, Salesforce)?
  • Is your CRM integrated with your ad channels?
  • What does your creative and media strategy currently look like?
  • How are you currently using your website? Does it drive business?

Driving Global Citizenship With PPC Advertising.

Global Citizenship Education (GCE) promotes a sense of belonging to a broader community and common humanity. GCE pinpoints the interconnectedness between the local, the national and the global. It is driven by a belief in social justice and equality, and that human connection can be strengthened through self-reflection and dialogue.

GCE aims to challenge dominant assumptions in our society about the nature of our relationship with others. PPC offers a platform to highlight global systems of power and inequality. It can encourage others to reflect on their own input in an interconnected world.

How can your organization advocate fairness, friendliness, and cooperation through its PPC messaging and stakeholder experience?

  • Meaningful relationship building with key stakeholders.
  • Offering opportunities that are inclusive and equitable.
  • Engage stakeholders through transformative experiences. 
  • Empowering others with the knowledge, skills and values to contribute to a more inclusive, just and peaceful world.
 

GCE intertwined with PPC can prove to be a key dimension for dealing with the challenges and opportunities presented by globalization.

Part B - How to Conduct PPC Research

We’re big fans of not reinventing the wheel. 

If you sell a product or service, then there’s likely a competitor selling it better. If you’re already the best at selling your product or service, then there’s likely a competitor looking to take your throne.

Using 3 just research tools — Google Ads, BuiltWith & SEMRush — we can identify who our competitors are, what PPC tactics they are using and what appears to be working for them.

1. Use the Keyword Planner tool to identify popular search terms and uncover seasonal trends.

Google Ads is free to sign up for an account. Once you access Google Ads, there are free planning and research tools available in the platform. 

Two of these are the Keyword Planner and the Ad Preview & Diagnosis Tool, which we use to help us identify our most popular searches and PPC competition.

2. Use the Ad Preview & Diagnosis Tool to identify competitors advertising in your space

(If you’re doing this research on Google, DO NOT click on your competitor’s ads. Your competitor will get charged for this click. No need to play dirty)

What does your competitor offer its users in exchange for their information? Whitepaper, guide, infographics, email list, etc…

What does your competitor do better than everyone else? What do they say that they do really well? Are there similar USPs among different competitors.

What certifications, associations, badges or client logos does your competitor use to highlight trustworthiness? What is stopping you from obtaining the same certifications?

What does your competitor’s site structure look like? Footers often show you a competitor’s website outline, which can tell you plenty about their content and audience strategy.

What keywords is your competitor using in their headlines and descriptions? Look at the H1, H2 & meta-description tags for an idea of the SEO strategy your competitor is building their website around.

Use the free Google Pagespeed Insights Tool to measure your competitor’s website speed. A fast website, with high scores across core web vitals is a good indication of a strong SEO department.

What social media networks do your competitors maintain an active profile? Look for recent activity and engagement from followers. 

Blogs, videos, podcasts, whitepapers, case studies, guides, tools, widget…pretty much every medium that your competitor uses to tell customers about talk about themselves.

What roles are your competitors hiring for? Are there openings in the marketing department? This says a lot about what your competitor might see as a priority for their business strategy or a gap in expertise.

What cities, states and countries does your competitor operate in? Who do they primarily serve?

What do others have to say about your competition? We recommend Google Alerts, where you can track internet mentions for a specific brand or topic. 

How do your prices compare to the competition? Are there competitors that disrupt the traditional pricing model for your industry, for example a SaaS that automates a key tasks or service.

3. How Global Learning Frameworks Can be Applied to PPC Research

Global learning is driven by helping students to evaluate their basic needs. UNESCO’s framework for Global Citizenship Education explores what all humans are entitled to, while questioning how we can maintain balance with the environment in our quest to create better society for all.

The diversity being advanced by many organizations in the name of ‘multiculturalism’ often fails to critically engage the colonial, economic and global forces building diverse societies and driving systemic inequality. The scope and depth of cultural diversity advanced by these organizations are often limited, focusing on national and commodified multicultural contexts that are grounded in neoliberalism and hegemony. Most critically, many of these programs don’t actively promote equality outside of the status quo narratives of economic integration.

As we conduct PPC research, it’s worth evaluating what our stakeholders are entitled to. Have we really asked for their input regarding their basic needs and where/how do we begin to collect this feedback? Ultimately, how do we design approaches that are appropriate for the variety of global perspectives and lifestyles that we engage with in our quest to build a global community through PPC.

Part C - The Customer Shopping Journey

Do you understand how customers shop for your product or service? 

Optimization starts by mapping the customer shopping journey and optimizing the key customer touch points.

Understanding Call-to-Actions and Their Place in the Funnel

I like to play a game called, “Spot the CTA”. Next time that you see a clickable button on a website, pay attention to the text inside of it. 

This is the call to the action (CTA). CTAs often give away the stage of the customer shopping journey that is being targeted.

See the examples below to get a better understanding of what this means.

1. Top of the Funnel CTAs

Top of funnel CTAs usually identify where the relationship building process begins. It’s often a soft commitment (subscribe, follow, like) in exchange for more access to your creative access and channels.

2. Middle of the Funnel CTAs

Middle of the funnels CTAs seek to guide you towards information, processes and/or creatives assets that drive the decision making process, such as whitepapers, demos, and webinars.

3. Bottom of the Funnel CTAs

Bottom of the funnels CTAs get you started with the sales, onboarding or intake process. Look for request a quote, contact us, start a trial, or call now. For e-commerce, this is usually the transaction or the purchase, and can mean checkout or buy now.

Adding Value to the Shopping Journey: Lessons to Learn from GCE.

As we dissect the shopping journey, we often make assumptions about what’s ‘important’ for our stakeholders. ‘Important’ is often defined through Westernized, democratic ideals and STEM-driven conceptions of society, which has implications for judging other ways of governance and non technological societies as less than. 

Organizations need to reject the projection of hegemonic, democratic, capitalist and/or Eurocentric values as global and universal, but what role can we play in critically examining and challenging these assumptions? We know that assimilationist thinking often undermines the cultural values and ideologies of the communities that we’re trying to engage, but we also have to create scalable processes that address several conversations among our stakeholders at the same time. 

This issue of inclusiveness vs personalization vs scalability should be on top of mind for every organization in the PPC industry, but maybe there’s hope ahead. Digital might be the channel that offers every stakeholder a personalized experience based on joint-ownership of the cultural, social and business values that are most important to them. We shall see!

Part D - Digital Marketing Maturity, Strategy & Tactics.

Google has partnered with Boston Consulting Group to offer this free digital marketing maturity benchmark assessment tool. 

It’s looks at where your organization sits on the path to full, data-driven marketing. The assessment takes about 30-minutes to complete, and offers both strategic and tactical recommendations to help your organization evolve.

This is also the stage that we plan what PPC channels we want to start testing. Think about how the pillars below impact your organizations.

1. Measurement

Your organization’s capacity to track and analyze important performance and business metrics. The ability to understand the online and offline journey of each click is the basis for running successful PPC campaigns.

2. Infrastructure

Your infrastructure refers to your technology stack, account setup, and campaign architecture. It’s the foundation on where your PPC house is built. Like most things in life, a weak PPC core inhibits your ability to perform well.

3. Targeting

The who, what, where, when, why and how of targeting your audiences. Knowing the levers of targeting that move performance, and more importantly, ROI, is key to making your PPC engine sustainable in the long run.

4. Creatives

The ads, images, videos, webpages, emails, webinars, blogs, and/or any other form of content that you share…serves as the basis of your digital relationship with stakeholders. It’s often how they will create their first and most lasting impressions of you.

5. Automation

How you leverage smart bidding and machine learning to deliver relevant and high value stakeholders is driven by your ability to feed the PPC engine with critical information about your KPIs and audiences.

6. Organization

How does your organization’s decision making tree, departmental silos/structure, or usage/lack of expertise impact your organization’s ability to strategize and execute on key PPC tasks? Essentially, how do ensure that things get done faster and better?

Startup Guide

Module 2: Setup

Module 3: Optimize