Get to Know Kevin Hofmaenner, A REQ Search Engine Marketing Manager
Kevin Hofmaenner joined the REQ team in January. As a Search Engine Marketing Manager, he drives SEM results for our diverse range of B-to-B and B-to-C clients. Prior to working at REQ, Kevin managed digital marketing campaigns for some of the strongest hospitality brands including the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont, Intercontinental and Loews. Kevin prides himself on closely following the industry and innovating with new strategies and tools.
What did you expect you would be doing when you graduated college?
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Science and Technology from James Madison University. The focus of my degree was towards renewable energy/energy efficiency. I completed an undergraduate internship at an engineering firm where I helped conduct energy efficiency audits on large scale commercial buildings. When I graduated from JMU, I got a job as a Contractor for the Department of Energy in Washington, DC. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated but I ended up finding that working with websites, analytics, and online marketing was more interesting to me.
How did you get started with paid search advertising?
I have always gravitated towards the web and over time it's become second nature to me. I got my start with paid search marketing by building websites for friends and family. One thing led to another, and I began working at a digital agency that specialized in driving direct revenue for some of the world's largest Hospitality brands.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to pursue a career in paid search marketing?
Read, read, read. Keep abreast with current industry news and blogs. (Kevin recommends Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, SEOmoz, Mashable, LinkedIn and Google's Inside AdWords blog.)
Build a blog or website, even if it's just getting a tumblr up and running or a WordPress theme going. Install Google Analytics. Play around with registering domains. Learn a little bit of HTML/CSS. Google everything you don't know and read it all. By doing things, you will run into dead ends that will force you to research and learn.
Get AdWords Certified and Bing Certified. While having certifications does not necessarily mean you know what you are doing, it helps when you are trying to get your foot in the door.
What did your work in the hospitality industry teach you?
Paid search is a HIGHLY competitive marketplace. It taught me to be at the top of my game and to implement all available resources (sitelinks, device specific campaigns, negative keyword strategies, match types, bid optimization, etc) to generate positive results year over year for my clients.
What is your greatest PPC 'win' to date?
Winning business from another vendor and helping the client save thousands of dollars a month through restructuring and optimizing their account. I was able to identify opportunities for growth and after restructuring a majority of their account, we were able to reduce their cost per acquisition (CPA) by over 70%. They are now getting more qualified leads at a fraction of the cost.
How do you picture paid search changing in 2013?
Earlier this year, Google launched Enhanced Campaigns which is the largest overhaul of AdWords since its inception. Enhanced campaigns allow advertisers to more closely control advertisements based on contextual signals like location, device and time. Historically, advertisers had to build independent mobile and tablet campaigns to specifically target those devices, however with the new launch of enhanced campaigns all devices will be targeted automatically. You can then set bid adjustments to increase or decrease your bids for mobile devices and different contexts.
For example, a multichannel retailer wants to reach people close to their stores searching for 'party supplies.' Using bid adjustments, with three simple entries, they can bid 50% higher for people searching up to a mile away, 20% lower for searches on weekdays, and 25% higher for searches on smartphones. This flexibility coupled with the changes it brings to account management makes this update a game changer for all paid search managers.
How long have you been in DC? Do you think you've witnessed the emergence of a tech scene in the city since you moved here?
It will be three years this spring. I feel that there is a great pool of talent in the DC tech scene but it's not as flashy as NYC or SF. Much of the talent is kept secret at places like Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Boeing, NSA, etc. It is great to see startups like Opower, Living Social and Wedding Wire call DC home and it awesome to see more and more shared office spaces popping up like Affinity Lab on 9th & U.
What drew you to REQ? What do you like most about working at REQ?
The diverse range of clients and their different objectives really caught my eye. After spending a few years driving revenue for hotels I was ready for a new challenge. REQ has a very diverse set of clients and is growing fast.
What is your favorite thing to do in DC?
Walking around my neighborhood. You will be hard pressed to find a more walkable and livable city.