“Bing Ads scores high with intent, traffic quality and ROI. Bing Ads costs per click and conversion rates provide a comparable, and at times, superior performance to other publishers.” — Paul Vallez, VP of product strategy and strategic partnerships, Kenshoo
Silicon Valley today represents the heart and soul of high tech. Flash back 100 years ago and that valley would have made a nice, fresh fruit salad. Instead of Apple and Google, farmers grew a gaggle of apples, cherries, peaches, apricots and more. Orchard Valley would have been a more appropriate name.
Those farmlands served as the postcard backdrop for Paul Vallez’s grandparents more than 100 years ago. Today, standing on the same ground of his elders, Vallez reaps what he sows from a digital world. As vice president of product strategy and strategic partnerships at Kenshoo, a global leader in agile marketing technology solutions, he focuses on working closely with publishing partners such as Bing to deliver high-value unified marketing strategies to customers.
Many people have been inquiring about the momentum around this category - 'agile marketing'. For Kenshoo, it is an approach to best-in-class digital marketing being adopted by the world's leading brands. It’s about creating flexibility and providing a sense of nimbleness to marketing executions, although Vallez would just call it “ninja marketing.” “We want customers to feel like ninja marketers who have the tools and capabilities to try and test everything and anything quickly and cooperatively,” says Vallez.
Rather than make this an episode of “Kung Fu,” perhaps picture what Vallez does this way. Imagine yourself seated at a conference table in a glass-encased meeting room. Across from you sit four people. On the left is the customer and the Kenshoo account manager. On the right is a Bing Ads account manager, servicing the customer’s search engine marketing (SEM) needs with an assortment of solutions. In the middle is Vallez, representing Kenshoo.
Kenshoo works within the Bing Ads marketplace, creating a strategy with Bing Ads tools that strives to deliver the most bang for a customer’s marketing budget. Whether that means turning to Call Extensions and Sitelink Extensions, Remarketing in Paid Search, or any number of standard search ad features depends on the customer. The key is having all three parties together and demonstrating that four heads are better than one — or any configuration of two. “Having one conversation with everyone in the room is the best way to solve customer challenges,” says Vallez. “Everyone has a piece of the data needed to solve the customer’s business objective.”
In Vallez’s instance, he has a wealth of information acquired from working inside many different pockets of the technology world. Almost 20 years ago, he started out as an ambitious engineer, until he decided he didn’t enjoy writing code. In the land of binary numbers, that’s what would be called “a deal-breaker.” So Vallez migrated to product strategy, where he discovered his voice as a storyteller who could captivate audiences. “Leaders in high tech need to understand the complexity of what it takes to build solutions,” says Vallez. “Having done development for years, people respected what I had to say because I was able to show understanding and empathy toward the task at hand.”
His hybrid background led to a position as an engineering manager at LookSmart. Within a few years, Vallez worked himself up to VP of products. For a lot of people, this is where the story would end: a bunch of rotating VP titles. But that’s not Vallez. He’s always looking for his next challenge. That led to an epiphany. “At Ask.com, we were monetizing our site through other companies,” says Vallez. “Having seen firsthand the machinations of search advertising through the customer side, I worked with a couple guys to build our own search marketplace.” With hardly any internal funding, Vallez and the team managed to make that marketplace one of the top three most profitable business segments at InterActiveCorp (IAC), which had partnered with LookSmart a few years before. The experience proved invaluable. “I was able to wear many hats, from product, operations and partnerships to go-to-market,” says Vallez. “I became an industry evangelist speaking to the market, creating a vision of where I thought SEM should be heading, building a point of view.”
However, Vallez still felt there was a fundamental skill missing from his resume. “I realized I needed to understand the challenges that big brands face about being successful online,” he says. That led him to HP and the corporate marketing division. “I was engaging with all their different business units, trying to help them be more effective and efficient with online advertising,” says Vallez. “I learned what enterprise customers are up against when it comes to being successful online.”
Every skill that Vallez has acquired serves him well at Kenshoo. Having looked at online advertising from all sides now, he has a unique perspective working with publishers such as Bing and customers that include some of the best-known global brands. You won’t find his company on a billboard, however. Kenshoo plays more in the background, leveraging APIs from within the Bing Ads platform so that the customer doesn't have to go into Bing Ads. “We give them a holistic view of their entire performance marketing program and a set of tools to manage their campaigns,” says Vallez. “The Bing Ads team has a lot of great insight and provides a ton of value in terms of putting the opportunities on our radar.”
Similar to how more and more companies are discovering the value of Bing and the Bing Network’s unique audience, Vallez considers Bing a big part of the customer journey. “Bing is a solid investment for our customers,” says Vallez. “It creates a healthy market by providing a viable alternative to Google, one in which people can invest their marketing dollars so they expand their audience and don’t stay vested in one place.”
According to Vallez, one of the unique differentiators and key selling points for Bing Ads is that it reduces barriers through its compatibility with other marketplaces. “The Bing Network has a huge marketplace that taps into all of Microsoft’s other assets within its ecosystem,” says Vallez. “All these consumer touch points enable marketers to access different customers. You can reach the enterprise professional through Windows and millennials through Xbox.” The list goes on and on across the spectrum of customers.
From a big-picture perspective, every publisher has a standard set of features that work well with each other and between platforms. The secret sauce comes from the account teams and audience. According to Vallez, in terms of traffic, Bing scores high with intent, traffic quality and ROI. “We only work with the best publishing performers out there,” says Vallez. “Bing Ads costs per click and conversion rates provide a comparable, and at times, superior performance to other publishers.” The Bing Network also offers a high-value audience — an older, more mature and highly educated audience who likes to shop and has money to spend. Just as important, Vallez enjoys the Bing Ads team, which he finds knowledgeable and fun to work with on projects, forging a true partnership that serves to further benefit the customer.
As the publisher market continues to mature in the coming years, where does Vallez see publishers such as Bing heading? “The customer’s experience with paid search is really starting to connect to the entire customer journey,” says Vallez. “Search is no longer a stand-alone silo. Everything is starting to merge where we blur the lines between social, search and other marketing channels. It's exciting because the customer is getting the benefit of a connected experience. Going forward, marketers will be able to have an even more relevant and contextual conversation with consumers throughout the entire online journey.”
Vallez also sees search helping companies better understand what information they want and need. “Being able to flip the search model from consumers having to pull content from search, to search being able to push relevant content to the consumer,” says Vallez. “Instead of having a lean-in experience as they do today, they’ll be able to have a lean-back experience.”
Vallez sees the Bing Network as an integral part of that journey. “Bing is a true partner,” says Vallez. “They’re very open and innovative in terms of their thinking and what they’re looking at. They provide a ton of value for the customer and us.”