Francisco Lacayo is the VP of Partnerships at White Shark Media, a leading digital marketing agency with more than ten years of experience managing pay-per-click campaigns with Google, Microsoft, Facebook ads, and more. Francisco has worked in the Digital Marketing industry for 13 years, leading different projects involving customer experience, product development, and product innovation.
As always, May I Have Your Attention is brought to you by captivate.ai, which turns your podcast into three months of social media content, you can find out more at Captivate.ai.
Customers will tell you what you need [6:42]
When to invest in PPC [12:52]
The human component of PPC [15:58]
Justin Nassiri 00:04
Let me let me before I will edit this out, but just to make sure the pronunciation is it. Francisco La Jolla,
Francisco Lacayo 00:12
la kaiyo la so you’re like Hi. Oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s the tricky one for English speakers. Yeah, I get this all the time. So no worries.
Justin Nassiri 00:20
Okay. All right. All right. We’ll begin joining me today normally in Miami, but right now in Nicaragua, my guest is Francisco lecanto. Francisco, welcome to me, I have your attention.
Francisco Lacayo 00:36
Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here. I’ve heard great things about the podcast, I’ve listened to some episodes myself, so I’m happy to be here.
Justin Nassiri 00:43
Awesome. I want to give our audience a very brief background on Francisco he is the VP of partnerships at White Shark media, a leading digital marketing agency with more than 10 years of experience managing Pay Per Click campaigns with Google, Microsoft, Facebook ads, and more. Francisco has worked in the digital marketing industry for 13 years leading different projects involving customer experience, product development and product innovation. And I just want to call it for listeners one thing I thought that was really compelling about Francisco’s background, he’s been at shark media at White Shark media for six over six years now. But he’s in those six years, he’s really touched on everything. He started as a PPC strategist, he did Digital Marketing Management. He did Director of Product he did VP of client experience, and now he’s overseeing partnerships. So I think it’s it’s awesome to connect with someone like Francisco because he has such a broad lens on a very exciting industry. So maybe to start things off Francisco, can you give a little bit more information about white shark what you’re doing there?
Francisco Lacayo 01:44
Yeah, sure. And then thank you for the introduction has been quite a journey. I’ve been turning six here at Wireshark. And in about one month or two. So it’s been quite a journey. But I’m, we’re a digital marketing agency. We’ve been around for 11 years, we actually just turned 11 ourselves. So we’ve been around for a while. We started as a digital marketing agency for you know, the average SMB out there in the US. We were working with a lot of small businesses when we started. And then we grew to the point where we were being reached out by other agencies to work on their PPC program and help them with white label fulfillment. So we did a strategical shift into that. And now, we still work with direct advertisers to manage your PPC campaigns. So they’re Google ads, Microsoft ads, Facebook ads, but we have a pretty hefty Partner Program, which is where we help other agencies fulfill their PPC. As we all know, in the digital marketing world, PPC is one of the strongest components, basically any digital marketing strategy. But it’s not that easy to manage to manage campaigns efficiently get the ROI for clients, technical aspects of communication. It’s a changing world, Google, Microsoft change everything all the time. So it’s hard to keep track of everything. And that’s why we decided to specialize on that particular venue. Because we see a lot of agencies struggle with PPC management, whether it is because they don’t have the technical expertise, or they have issues hiring people that does or they have to deal with attrition, they don’t know how to communicate it with the client. So that’s how our partner program was born. And it’s been pretty good for us in the past three years. We’re working with partners, you know, all over North America. But we also have partners in Europe, we have partners in Australia, and a good set amount of partners in Latin America as well. And we’ve been able to grow quite fast as well. So so we’re happy with the results and what we’ve been able to do.
Justin Nassiri 03:31
So, I want to, I want to do a deeper dive in a second on PPC, because I feel like for me, at least I think most businesses, PPC SEO, they both scare the crap out of me because I know that there’s you could have like a PhD, multiple PhDs in those subjects and still have a lot to learn. So those have always been in the category of like, I’m never gonna do that myself. But let me let me start by asking. I want to kind of ask about how you’re getting attention how you’re acquiring customers, for white shark media. And obviously, PPC, I’m sure will play a role in that, but I just want to, like, explore other things that you do to get noticed, because I know that it’s not always one strategy in a portfolio.
Francisco Lacayo 04:19
Ya know, for Wireshark, in particular, I mean, we’ve we’ve, we’ve done a lot of things throughout the years, we’ve heavily relied on PPC, at least for the beginning of the agency, because we weren’t that known and we were just starting to navigate the waters. But we’ve been able to grow pretty quick and that that comes through partnerships. So we have a great partnership with Google where premier partner, we have a great partnership with Microsoft, our select partner, we one Partner of the Year with them and the past partner award so so that’s opened a lot of doors for us. And it’s helped us reach bigger partners and bigger partnerships and just bigger clients all together. And then together with that we’ve invested a lot in in our content generation Just adding value for customers, for instance, with, with the pandemic, one thing, one big learning experience for us was that we were doing a lot of marketing for ourselves. And we applied the same principles to our clients. But we understood that in times where people maybe weren’t, you know, interested in buying your product or a service, we’re looking for something else, or they had uncertainty about the future, creating added value through content was key. And that’s really what was going to get you to the next level and set you apart from anyone else. So we invested a lot of resources into creating a lot of content for our clients, and helping our clients create content for their clients. And this was content that wasn’t necessarily tied to their PPC campaign as such, but it was tied to their market, what to do, how to do things, how to navigate the pandemic. And that strategy paid off significantly for us, because it got us to a lot of places that we weren’t going to before it opened a lot of doors, we start getting invited to events and things of that sort. And it basically expanding our network. So the same principle that we apply to us, we apply for our clients. And that’s what we try to encourage, especially now with all the changes in digital marketing world is, if you’re going to have a marketing strategy, and you’re targeting a particular, you know, set of people or potential customers, yeah, you have a product, then you have a, you know, this proposition that you want to give her a service, but you have to make sure that every step of that journey, you’re adding value to a potential customer, even if they’re not a customer at first. And if you invest time and resources into that particular process of adding value, then your reach and your growth is just going to be exponential, because that’s kind of the nature of the consumer and buyer journey nowadays. And that’s what we learned as well in the past couple years.
Justin Nassiri 06:36
That’s great. Three things I just want to bookmark for listeners like I I appreciate your talking about partnerships. I don’t think anyone on the show has talked about that before. And it seems like such an incredible way to grow quickly, and one that you’ve clearly leveraged Well, with Partner of the Year with Microsoft and the partnership with Google. I really like this idea of creating content that you guys are doing that. And then you’re helping your clients doing that, in the sense of adding value at every step of the journey. And just one more question before we go into PPC? What advice do you have, let’s say a company is 20 to 50. employees, they’re just starting to grow any any advice you’d give to them about how to think about that strategy for creating content and distributing it knowing what content to create, but also where to distribute it.
Francisco Lacayo 07:28
Yes, for us what worked. And then I think this is the biggest step that you need to take is, it sounds pretty basic, but we still have a lot of companies and clients are doing it. Listen to your your existing customers, because they’re going to tell you what they need. And what they need is when your prospects need, for instance, we revamped our entire cset structure to you know, we started sending surveys to our customers, we picked up the phone and talk to them more often. So your existing customers are going to tell you what the market want. If you are going through a dip or you want to scale, call your top 10 customers and ask them what are you looking for what makes you know, why are you choosing us what makes something different for you, and based on what they’re saying, you’re gonna have a pretty good idea of where you should go with the prospects. This obviously comes with, you know, having a market research team and looking through the numbers and paying attention and reading and listening and being present. But you know, most companies would be extremely surprised on how much relevant feedback they can get from their existing customers. And how important that feedback is to get new customers and to get to the next level in terms of, of acquisition. And for us it was a huge learning experience during COVID. What we did was, we had a lot of customers passing their campaigns, so we weren’t doing any work for them. But we called them up and said, What else would you need? You know, if you’re not running the campaigns, how else can we help you? What are you looking for? And they said, Well, I would like to, you know, write a blog article for my customers, so they know what to do right now that we’re not open and give them suggestions on how to protect themselves. Okay, perfect, we’re going to do that for you. And then we’re going to try to do that for our own customers as well and see if that resonates with them. And it did. And we understood the added value of that particular feedback and then rolled it out. And it was extremely successful for us. So if you’re a small company or midsize company trying to grow your existing customers is probably your goldmine in terms of where to take the strategy because they’re, they’re confident enough with your service to give you feedback, they’re happy, and they represent your prospect market. So that’s really the pool that you have to get all the information that you need.
Justin Nassiri 09:31
That’s That’s such a good answer to two things I want to point out. The first is that the previous guest on the show, Steve Hoffman from founder space, one of the things he said that I loved was customers have 10 reasons for saying no to you and one reason for saying yes and so really mind your existing customers and figure out what is that one reason why they’re saying yes, because other prospects are going to do the same. So I really appreciate the wisdom of what you’re saying is like, man, all of the answers are coming from your existing community. The second thing that I love about that is, and I try to keep this top of mind at captivate, I use a lot of different vendors. And it’s so clear that for most of them, so much effort goes into acquiring me, and then they’re on to the next thing. And that really sucks as a customer. And so what I’m liking about what you’re saying is like when you’re trying to add value to customers, not only does that inform your strategy for acquisition, but it establishes a better relationship with your existing customers, because it’s not you’ve paid me money, I’m going to go to the next person, it shows that you’re continuing to invest in them. So I think that’s a great, great answer on multiple fronts.
Francisco Lacayo 10:43
Yes, no, and you’re touching on a subject, which is obviously related to BBC, but basically, related to everything in regards to companies and client management, which is churn. And again, we also had a lot of learning experiences here. And then when we figured we cracked the code would turn and attrition clients leaving was when we understood the importance of that particular topic, you’re saying, which is, don’t just sell a client and then let them use your service, like, build a partnership. And that’s that’s kind of the nature of my role right in our department is, it’s not about just bringing someone on board and then sending them to a product team. So they can do the word but it’s, you know, keeping the touch points, keeping the communication open, understanding what the next steps are understanding where they’re going as a customer. And the more you understand that, the more you can understand where you come in, and where you can add value. And in a lot of cases, that also opens doors for other projects. If you have a client or you’re, you know, you’re constantly talking to your clients, and they’re talking about their next step being a new channel, or a new approach, or a new product, if that’s an ongoing feedback that you’re getting in an ongoing manner from what’s your top clients, that’s an opportunity for you to evolve as an agency as well and say, Hey, I’m talking to my clients, they’re all saying the same thing, they all want to go to the same place, this is my opportunity to go with them and invest in that particular project in that product, and continue evolving together with the market in something that will likely be successful. So communication with clients is key, not only to get the feedback, but to keep them engaged with you. And if we want to be transparent, every digital marketing agency out there has clients, you know, where their complaints are not performing, and they’re not getting the results that they want. But if the service is there, and they feel that you’re part of their company, if they feel that you’re helping them with their marketing goals, they’ll stay for years, even if the results are not there, because they see the added value of not just the account management, but also the consulting relationship that you have and how engaged and involved you are with their goals and their needs. So So I would say communication. And that engagement and client management aspect of the equation is if not the same, may be more important than the account management itself.
Justin Nassiri 12:45
That’s great. Let’s talk about PPC. And I have a lot of questions here. And I also want to just give you open space, because you probably know what questions I should be asking. But one of the first things that comes to mind for me is like for me, PPC is both appealing, because it feels like every acquisition channel, it’s the one that everyone agrees works. And it’s also intimidating because you have to spend it’s it my perception is you have to spend and sometimes spend a lot of money, not just for the ads themselves, but for the management of them. And so my first question is, at what point do you think a company should start to consider investing in it in a PPC strategy?
Francisco Lacayo 13:27
I think that if if you are at a level where you’re considering a marketing budget, then you should probably consider some of that budget going into PPC. So if you’re a freelancer, and maybe you work off referrals, PPC might not be a good fit for you. But even if you’re a small company, very local, you’re just starting out if you’re thinking about allocating $200 to your overall marketing budget. Some of that should go to PPC because PPC doesn’t really have an entry barrier or level. It does vary per industry. And there are certain industries that are more restricted in terms of the cost. But most companies should consider investing in PPC as part of the general strategy, because it’s an you just mentioned is it’s not only effective or efficient, but it really is one of the few channels where you’re targeting people with a significantly higher intent than any other channel. If you do SEO, it’s very similar, but it takes longer. But if you think about other traditional marketing channels, like billboards or email marketing, or even Facebook for that matter, there’s a lot of outbound approaches going on. You’re trying to reach someone who you think would be interested and you’re hoping that they are and you’re hoping to engage them and hoping they come back. But that’s not the smoothest journey and it’s not necessarily the most efficient. If you’re talking about, you know, core search campaigns, you’re only going to show up when someone is looking for you. It’s as strong in terms of intent as it gets, you’re just being at the right place at the right time. So if you have $20 to invest and you can invest them, make sure you invest them in a channel that will allow you to be Either when someone is asking for you, if someone’s knocking the door, make sure you pay those $20 to have someone open the door and talk to that potential customer, right. So in terms of the size of the companies and the stages, I would say almost any business out there that has some sort of marketing budget should be investing somehow, in digital in general, but most specifically in PVC, at least a small branded campaign, or very small core campaign, try a couple of keywords. But definitely you want to be there in those specific moments where potential customers are looking for you. Because if you don’t do it, your competitors, well, most of your competitors are doing it anyway. So. So that’s also a good indicator, if you want to know if advertising would make sense for you look for yourself and your services online and see what shows up. And if it’s not you, then you should probably invest, because someone else will do the same and they won’t find you, they’ll find someone else. And that’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Justin Nassiri 15:51
That’s a great hack at the end there. I like that thought of like just seeing how visible am I and it makes me realize with captivate all of the things that we do, that are relatively top of the funnel like it is reaching out to the type of customer you want, with no knowledge if they’re even interested. But when you’re saying that it reminds me like man, this is such an incredible, very bottom of the funnel approach of like people are, they are looking for it like that’s the that should be where you start the people that are looking for you rather than like the Hail Mary or trying to convince someone. So I think that’s a good reminder. I want to I want to give this conversation particularly a little bit more wide room the normal, because I realize how ignorant I am about PPC. So I’ll turn it over to you to a little bit more like part part of where I think is like what trends are you seeing, or what channels work better for PPC, but I’m guessing that you have a better insight of what our audience should know about PPC. So I’d love to give you a little bit more free rein to direct the conversation.
Francisco Lacayo 16:54
Yes, sure. Um, I mean, first of all, what everyone needs to understand is that PPC is a changing world. So what I say about PPC right now might not be what makes sense in six months. And this happens all the time, because there’s all the changes that happen across the networks. So Google comes up with a new campaign type when a new product with a new way of reaching customers, etc. And there’s the industry changes. There’s a big debate right now about privacy, and the third party cookies and not going away and how you’re going to reach customers. But more importantly, there’s the change in consumer psychology and how people are going towards buying a service or product. If you think about how we used to approach and you know, go for a service maybe five or 10 years ago, you would probably just find a friend that knew someone that could provide whatever you’re looking for. Maybe that would also be your referral. So hey, that friend will validate if the service is good or not. And then you will probably give them a call, look at the Yellow Pages, give them a call, and then hire them. Right now if you want to hire a service, you’re gonna have 20 3040 touch points before you actually get to that one server that you want to get through, you’re going to go and do research on several competitors, you’re going to wait and then come back a week after and try to do some more research, you’re going to find other things that you didn’t know you’re going to learn about the service that you’re going to hire you’re gonna learn about the product is such a complex journey. And it changes so much through time that everyone needs to understand that PPC is a changing beast. So that’s the first thing that everyone needs to understand. Another key component here is that because the journeys now are so much more complex. Most PPC products now offer different products or different channels for each one of those journeys. So you want to do brand awareness. There’s something for that you can do YouTube ads, or you can do a display campaign. So people learn about your brand. Do you want to do something more towards you know, generating sales, you can do shopping campaigns, or you can do a more, you know, core focus search campaign, do you want to have a more specific b2b approach, you can use LinkedIn audiences through Microsoft, because that works with LinkedIn profiles, and it works for LinkedIn information. So there is not a one size fits all solution. Now there would PPC because the journey is complex, you have all these tools that are available to try to capture every moment of the journey. And when someone doesn’t, you know, you don’t have experience with PPC or you haven’t worked campaigns before. That can be a hard concept to grasp because it gets you to a point where you say okay, now I have to now have to understand my full journey. So what do I do with search? Like, where do I put it? How does it go? And then that what that’s done for us, especially in this industry, it’s forcing us to understand our clients better. It’s not just about, okay, your potential customers using these keywords to look for you is, what is your potential customer doing after they go to your website? Or they’re going to your competitors, what’s changing their mind? Why are they leaving it? Are they price sensitive? Is that really a thing? Or are they looking for more added value somewhere else? And then now we’re being forced to have these conversations that we weren’t having four or five years ago, and that’s changing the way we tell our story as brands. So if you want to focus on PPC and you want to give it a shot, you have to understand your client base, you have to understand your prospects. But you have to understand your brand and your journey and the storytelling that you’re going to roll out for that particular prospect base. So PPC works people, PC is a tool, it’s very technical, it’s about setting up things in particular channels, so that people can find you. But the human component behind that is what’s going to make the difference if you’re telling the right story, if you’re setting the tool to show it the right place at the right time, if you’re tracking things correctly, that’s another element about PPC that you know, different from other traditional marketing leads, you can measure most of what’s happening in the platform, you can track the ROI, you can track the cost per conversion, and you can actually understand if it makes financial sense for you, if I pay for a billboard, I think people are looking at the Billboard and I’m hoping that someone’s coming to my store because they’re you know, they’re seeing the billboard will be busy, you know, you know how many people have seen it, if they’re relevant, how many you’re, you know how much you’re paying for one of those to go visit your store, give you a call, you know all those numbers. So you know, of your investment makes sense or not, and if it’s relevant, so I think those three things are one of the, you know, some of the key elements that you need to take into account before you’re jumping to water. And once you decide to jump into the water and launch PPC campaigns, talk to a specialist, talk to an expert, I’m not necessarily here telling you to hire an agency, if it doesn’t make sense, especially if you’re starting local, but talk to someone that knows about the product. And that can give you some advice on how to navigate the technical part. And then try to learn more about your business and how to tell the story better to your potential customers, and then you’ll probably be successful with with the product.
Justin Nassiri 21:37
I think that’s great. And one thing that stood out to me when you were talking about that when you talked about the human element, and how important that is in the sense of storytelling and the arc that customers go on. I thought that was really interesting, because I always think of PPC as straight up numbers and data which you make a compelling case that that that is an advantage of it. But I really appreciate how you’re coupling that with this sense of art and understanding a product and a customer and the journey they go on and where they’re at. So you can structure not just one campaign, one touch point, but to your earlier point, like 20 to 40 touch points to become a customer, you have to have some sort of overarching strategy. And then I also appreciate how you are articulating that value like compared to a billboard and these other things like PPC is great because you do have that insight of what’s working, where it’s working, who it’s working with. And I feel like that’s what all of us as business owners want to know, we want that information, but it’s just not possible with most channels.
Francisco Lacayo 22:39
Yes, no. And I think that that’s what fascinating about the PPC industry as well as that. It goes beyond the technical part. But it really helps you see things that you’re not seeing with other channels, not just the numbers, and not just what works and what doesn’t, but also how people behave. And it can get tricky at times. And that’s why it’s not easy, right? I mean, if you’re thinking of, let’s say you have a YouTube campaign, and you’re getting a lot of views, but the way you’re tracking and you don’t see those views turning into calls are turning into sales. And you would think after two or three months, like, Okay, I’m getting exposure, but nothing’s happening. But if you you take you know more time to understand the journey of your customers, then you’ll realize that maybe someone saw an ad for YouTube. And then a week later, they went to your website, not through PPC ad just directly, and then they hire your services and tracking wise on that might not show up for YouTube. But if you understand the journey, you know that YouTube was a key element in bringing the customer there. And that’s extremely fascinating, because then you get to understand how people behave right? And, and I think that’s the whole thing about digital marketing, you have the money, you have the revenue, you have the leads, you have the numbers, then in reality, it’s all about behavior. And people I’m I’m an economist, I specialize in behavioral economics. And that’s why this clicks for me so much, because it’s the one channel where you get to see how humans behave. And what this means is that whoever drives that strategy needs to think human first, and then the business side, and then the numbers. And then the technical aspect that for me, that’s extremely fascinating.
Justin Nassiri 24:08
I’m so glad you mentioned the behavioral economics, I almost put that in your bio, and it was getting too long. So I left it out. But I think that’s such a unique lens through which you view all of this. I know that we’re at time. So I just want to end with how can people find you? How can they contact you if they’re interested in learning more?
Francisco Lacayo 24:28
Yes, no, first of all, thank you for the time, but they can go to our website, why should media.com We put a lot of great content out there and it’s all free. So if you want to learn more about the industry, digital marketing, PPC trends, all the communication we’ve put out there, feel free to go there and you can find we have a great YouTube channel as well. We do a lot of series. We do webinars we do we call them sharp clips, which are very product specific videos so you can find us on the website or our YouTube channel. And if you want to reach out feel free to reach out to any of us and we’ll be glad to help you out.
Justin Nassiri 24:59
Awesome Well Francisco, thank you so much for your time and expertise today.
Francisco Lacayo 25:03
Thank you for your time. Thank you for having me.