“Basically, we’re making it easier for advertisers to seize opportunities unique to Bing, and the Bing network.” — John McNulty, Vice President of Global Marketing, Marin Software
Marin Software’s co-founder and executive chairman, entrepreneur Christopher Lien, was working in the digital advertising industry in 2005 when he realized that online advertisers — especially at the enterprise level — needed a software program where they could manage all the elements of their massive digital marketing campaigns. He shared his idea with his colleague Joseph Chang and high school buddy Wister Walcott, who had both worked on e-commerce websites. In early 2006, the trio navigated their way up and down Silicon Valley’s Highway 101, talking to search marketing experts (SMEs) to corroborate Lien’s hunch. They found that many online advertisers managed their campaigns with Microsoft Excel, which required a level of expertise that Lien described as “sad and scary.”
One road trip was all it took. Marin Software’s Digital Marketing Suite made its debut in 2007 with a focus on search. Today, Marin’s cloud-based software platform helps online advertisers manage their search, social and display campaign spend across multiple publishers — and continuously reach new and diverse audiences. The social channel was added in 2010 and display was added in 2014. The platform incorporates a sophisticated yet easy-to-use, do-it-yourself software used by mid-sized and enterprise companies that spend anywhere from $10,000 to more than $100,000 per month on their digital advertising campaigns.
The company’s clients rave about the results they’ve achieved with the platform, and Marin’s current leaders are carrying on the founders’ commitment to customer success and driving efficiency with technology. Vice President of Global Marketing John McNulty is a true veteran of the industry who was so certain of his chosen profession that he began working in advertising while he was in high school. He has seen three decades of change and innovation in the industry. CEO Dave Yovanno worked two jobs the summer between his freshman and sophomore year of college so he could buy a computer, and in the early days of the internet he designed the first website for his graduate program at George Washington University.
Yovanno took the CEO reins from Lien in early 2014. There’s a similarity in the way neither Lien nor Yovanno can resist trying to solve a business problem or optimize performance using data and technology. Over the course of his career, Yovanno has built a solid track record of performance breakthroughs. During his tenure at Conversant, a company that helps build relationships between brands and consumers, Yovanno worked with a client in Tel Aviv that was experiencing a pattern of downturn every month but was reluctant to share the data with Yovanno so he could figure out what was wrong. He got on a plane, showed up in Tel Aviv, and as he tells it, “I told them I wasn’t leaving until we figured this out.” Yovanno was able to get the data he needed to solve the problem. The breakthrough helped Conversant make it through an economic downturn when a lot of companies were going out of business. It’s a longer trip to Tel Aviv than it is up and down Highway 101, but the tenacity that spurred those trips makes it easy to see why Yovanno was chosen to succeed Lien.
Marin’s current platform includes a solution called Smart Sync, which is designed to copy and perpetually sync campaigns from Google to Bing in just a couple of clicks. Any changes made to creative or other elements are automatically synced with Bing, while the bidding remains search engine independent. “You get the opportunity to see the performance of all your campaigns across all these publishers in one place and whether or not you’re spending effectively for each publisher,” says Jane Felice, senior product marketing manager. “You can see any performance improvements in Bing Ads and easily transfer marketing spend or allocate your budget accordingly.” McNulty adds, “Basically, we’re making it easier for advertisers to seize opportunities unique to Bing and the Bing network.”
The reward for Marin clients’ increased investment in Bing Ads is more business — a lot more business. One client, The Quote Company, generates sales leads for power suppliers and home service providers. The Quote Company recently used Smart Sync to copy its Google AdWords campaigns into Bing Ads, allowing it to manage the campaigns in tandem. So far, the company has seen a 67 percent increase in conversions and saved two hours of campaign management every week.
Search advertisers are accustomed to being able to closely monitor the cost and performance of their campaigns. And, in order to help spend budgets as effectively as possible, Marin’s platform includes a feature called Budget Optimizer, which allows advertisers to run “what if” scenarios that forecast expected results in different hypothetical situations. When the advertiser finds a scenario they like, they can shift their spend and update their bid goals with just one click. In addition to providing a one-stop platform to manage multiple search publishers, Marin brings this same level of cohesion to its other digital channels: social and display advertising. Cross-channel reporting and analysis allow advertisers to monitor campaign performance across all three channels, highlighting the overlap between audiences and campaigns on a grander scale.
To put it simply, the folks at Marin have worked hard developing a platform that takes digital advertising from “sad and scary” to quick and painless. At the end of the journey, customers win, and with the combined power of the Marin platform and Bing Ads, they are seeing tremendous, measurable results.
McNulty added, “Marin continuously develops new features to increase efficiencies for our clients, allowing them to easily optimize their advertising campaigns. Supporting Bing is a key part of these initiatives. Bing continues to grow exponentially, reaching high-value audiences that other search engines don’t reach, and delivering results for our clients through products like Remarketing and Bing Shopping Campaigns. Marin makes it easy for our clients to take full advantage of the potential with Bing that may go untapped otherwise. “