“Okay. Awesome.”

That’s how you know Dillon Jones is about to move on to the next topic. 

But, if you get him rolling, he’ll go on for a bit. Breakfast burritos, stand-up comedy, and the proper way to track website conversions. Oh, yeah, proper. That’s how he refers to things working the right way. 

Dillon is the man with the digital plan. He’s an expert at pushing website traffic, proper traffic, that drives conversions. He’s brilliant at connecting tech stacks designed to boost our client’s bottom line. He sees ways to create strategic digital marketing campaigns that are efficient, effective, and smart. 

We’re lucky that he’s on our side.  

David: So, I love this Q&A format where the person asks the Proust questions.

Dillon: Yeah, I’ve seen them. 

David: How?

Dillon: I literally Googled “the Proust questions,” and a Vanity Fair article popped up number one. A Wikipedia entry was second. Then I didn’t click on anything because you caught me.

David: What a crazy time we’re in. You can find the answers to anything now in a second.

Dillon: I was talking to my family last week about something, and we couldn’t remember the answer to a question. My sister started Googling for an answer. I said, ‘Wait. Let’s just talk about it. You know, let’s just leave the question unanswered for a second.’ 

David: How did you get into the performance business?

Dillon: I started in sales at L.A. Fitness. It was terrible. Then, I worked on behalf of Google at a third-party company onboarding new businesses to Google Ads. It was a sales role, but I pretended to be a marketing expert. So, when I get those calls today, it’s hilarious knowing it’s just some 19-year-old calling me. I did some other sales jobs, but I found the marketing way more interesting and started to get on the marketing tools. It was so much more fun, so I got into SEO and PPC. 

I started Ad Words for Cabbies before Uber and picked up clients super quick. That was the first time I got calls from clients asking about leads. Then, I just started taking on random jobs from small businesses I met online. It was way more fun, and I wasn’t destroying my soul cold-calling businesses. I was actually helping people. I liked having a thing that I could do to make phones ring.

David: Us civilians think your side of the business has changed a lot. Is that true?

Dillon: It’s definitely changed for sure. I mean, the basic concepts are all pretty much the same, but the workflows change every year. I spend at least two to three hours a week reading industry stuff to keep up to date because what worked yesterday isn’t a thing anymore. Like, exact match keywords were a PPC thing that just died. There are a bunch of ways around that, like using negative keywords, but there are a bunch of random examples like that that happen, and you have to learn how to manage differently. Google is moving to a place where I don’t think we’ll choose keywords for much longer. It’s going to be all automated, which is exciting.

David: What does that mean for performance marketing?

Dillon: So, day to day, the things I’ll work on will change a bit. It used to be ads management was weekly bid adjustments across keywords and things like that. I still kind of do that, but now it’s at a campaign level where I’m adjusting cost per lead keywords to make sure I hit the proper numbers. It’s simple napkin math, really. 

Now, my job is about more than just the keyword. It’s the audience and the intent. Everything is more personalized now. It’s about ‘What am I looking for?’ ‘Who am I?’ rather than the word, the ad, the landing page. That part has changed a ton.

David: Are web searchers smarter about avoiding ads these days?

Dillon: Not for commercial intent things. I think it’s more about convenience. Think about the last time you Googled “emergency plumber near me. ”If you hit the organic list, it’s going to be Top 10 lists or something like that. An ad will give you the phone number. So, commercial intent click-through rates haven’t dropped at all. What has dropped are generic things like “red shoes” or something you’re searching for that you don’t know what you want yet. 

Things like display ads have dropped off, where you’re chasing a person with an ad for something that they’re not looking for yet. Facebook does so well because they can predict what someone is going to buy. If they didn’t have that, then nothing would ever work. A lot of display networks only work well if you have good data for targeting. 

David: Gotcha.

Dillon: There’s so much to do in performance marketing that having less control over keywords might suck initially, but we can spend more time on the entire journey for our customers, like CRM, instead of bid adjustments for keywords that people just assume are happening. 

David: I forgot all about the Proust thing. Let’s get back into it!

Dillon: Right. Go.

David: Let’s do some dumb ones. Favorite color?

Dillon: Mmmmm. (pause)

David: This should be a pretty quick answer, Jones.

Dillon: Forest green.

<laughs>

Why didn’t I just say green?

David: <laughs> Okay. Flower?

Dillon: Bird of Paradise.

David: Wow. Your idea of happiness.

Dillon: The ability to do what I want to do when I want. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with authority, people telling me what to do or be all up in my business. That’s not how it is right now <laughs>, but that’s the end goal. Today was pretty great – working for a few hours, hitting the beach with Jack (Dillon’s oldest son), and hanging out with the family for a lot of the day. But, as it is now, it’s the amount of time I spend on anything and the people I choose to work with which has changed.

David: Favorite superhero.

Dillon: I have a funny story about that. I got asked that question when I first started a job, and I’ve never been into superheroes, so I said Superman. The whole time that I worked there, people made fun of me for such a shitty answer. You’d think I’d have a better answer now, but I really don’t. 

David: Favorite book to read to the boys at night? “Everybody Poops?” 

<laughs>

Dillon: Jyss (Dillon’s wife) got me a custom illustration book of Jack and me. That’s great. 

David: Are you a big reader?

Dillon: I wish I was. I love the idea of reading a lot of fiction stuff. I like survival stuff. Lately, it’s been a lot of audiobooks about financial freedom. <laughs> I’ve never been a big reader.

David: Do you have an artistic outlet?

Dillon: I do love to garden. I love picking the things, planting them, and learning how to care for them. This is a bit of a new thing.

David: Perfect. Awesome.

Dillon: That was easy. 

David: Of course, Maggie slacked while we were on this call … Can you meet with <insert client name> at 3?

Dillon: Okay. Awesome.

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