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7 Digital Marketing Lessons from PPC Australia: PPC Town Hall 8

Ashwin Balakrishnan

Senior Marketing Manager



One of the most rewarding things about PPC Town Hall is how support and demand for our webinar isn’t just restricted to a few markets. And recently, we found out that the PPC community in Australia was missing out on joining us live.

That’s all the reason we needed to move this week’s webinar to accommodate our friends down under. Joining us for this week’s episode were three of Australia’s most seasoned digital marketers:

As always, you can view and listen to previous PPC Town Hall episodes here.

So let’s take a look at our panelists’ 7 digital marketing lessons from their experiences managing local and global accounts from Australia.

1. How long can the ‘new normal’ last?

“I’ve been amazed with how quickly everyone has adapted. Two months ago, working from home full time was ‘impossible’ for many organizations,” Mike observed.

“The knock-on effects — less pollution, less time in the car, property prices — will be pretty interesting to see. I don’t know yet what cultural changes will stick, but I feel like we might roll back some things if we don’t consciously design differences into our lives. And it would be a shame to lose this opportunity to make our supply chains more local or improve food security. In terms of consumer buying behavior, Amazon is an example of a company that comes out of this stronger than before.”

With that said, Mike also urged marketers to remain empathetic by remembering that we’re not all equally fortunate.

“We have to remember this is a pandemic of two halves. We and our teams are very fortunate to be able to work from home. Meanwhile, a whole bunch of jobs and businesses are just gone.”

2. Small businesses need all the support they can get.

Hit hardest during this crisis are small businesses, irrespective of industry. Many operate on low margins and don’t have the cash reserves to continue meeting expenses without regular revenue.

“Google My Business has done a lot for companies during COVID. One example is the ability to list that you’re not open to walk-ins, but are offering delivery or pickups. So for cafés and restaurants, GMB has done some very positive things,” Monte noted.

“That said, knowing a lot of people in restaurants and catering, they’re trying to move a bit away from services like UberEats and Deliveroo because of the huge margins (up to 30%). Most restaurants don’t operate on a 20% or 30% gross margin in normal times. So now they have their wait staff doing deliveries, and they’re finding new services that charge them a flat fee to place the order and have their own employees fulfill it. This needs to pick up, because the bigger services aren’t sustainable for small businesses.”

If you can, we recommend you buy local to support small businesses and give your economy the best shot at bouncing back quickly.

3. Hybrid business models are in.

While the situation is improving in many countries, there’s no clear and definitive end to the pandemic. Ben believes that businesses will need to look at combining different strategies to maximize profitability for some time.

“There are only two ways out of COVID: a vaccine or herd immunity. Every time lockdowns open up, there’s a spike in cases. So we’re probably indoors for a period of time, and this will change people’s buying psychology — it takes 30 days to form a habit and 60 days to break one.”

“Google is still the first thing people use to search for and find things. In April, we saw categories like restaurants go through the roof — and they’re still there. Earlier, restaurants used to have people walk down the street and pop in, but they will have to adopt a hybrid business model for a while yet. This might look like deliveries and takeout supported by limited dine-in capacity.”

4. Size does matter.

Every few decades, history throws us a curveball that creates winners and losers. Pandemics are one of these events, and the current one is drawing out the divide between the haves and the have-nots.

“It might not be common knowledge, but large organizations that have dedicated logistics and transport facilities have been able to maintain their supply lines,” Monte said.

“But for a lot of small businesses that might be importing from China for distribution in Australia, that product is usually in the belly of a commercial airliner carrying passengers. That all came to a halt and as a result, these companies found their supply chains had collapsed for a while. We actually had some clients who put their e-commerce stores on hold because of a lack of inventory.”

5. Work around the logistics.

There’s no doubt that the world’s supply chains are under stress. Businesses have two choices: crib about it or work around it. Ben has been helping clients achieve the latter.

“In March, stock was an issue. We had big online retailers who couldn’t get product, going from huge revenues to thinking about maybe closing the doors. So we pivoted to make sure they could do pre-orders and give attention to what was in stock. It’s amazing what little things like that and a bit of common sense can do for a business,” he shared.

“I think Display and remarketing are useful to make sure you’re getting in front of these changing business strategies, like curbside pickup. We believed we were seeing a lot of those trends here in Australia as well. We did some analysis of our MCCs and it looks like the data matches that.”

6. Pausing campaigns is unpreferred in both hemispheres.

During last week’s PPC Town Hall, Navah Hopkins made a passionate case for keeping campaigns on at minimal cost. This week, Mike echoed her sentiments.

“I’m reluctant to pause campaigns, having done that in the past with bad results. If we think a client will come back in a few weeks, we’ll wind stuff down to 1-cent budgets and leave it there. We’d rather spend a little bit than pause entirely,” he said.

“Interestingly enough, some European campaigns for one of our US clients have been on these 1-cent budgets. There was some trickle of clicks coming through. Every now and then you get a sale, so the ROAS was staggering at 500x. Of course, those outliers don’t make for very pleasant reporting!”

7. Truly great agencies are partnerships.

Led by people like Ben, PPC agencies and consultants are proving to be worth their weight in gold during this crisis.

“We have great clarity about our mission as a business — to serve and help SMBs succeed online. Many of our client managers see themselves as digital marketing business coaches, so they’re there not just to talk about Google Ads but what else we can do with client businesses,” he shared.

“When COVID hit, they needed our help more than ever. We immediately thought about all these industries that were going to be affected and how we can help them stop from shutting their doors. We developed some e-commerce packages, rolled them out at cost price, and built them out in two days. One thing we achieved was helping a coffee shop sell coffee beans online and survive that way.”


It’s always reassuring to learn that people doing the same work around the world share your mentality and vision. So it was refreshing to speak with not just one, but three champions of human and empathy-focused marketing (we heard plenty of support for local and small businesses).
Next week, we’re back to our usual time of 9 am PT / 12 pm ET / 18:00 CET and will be joined by two exciting panelists. Check out the details here!