There are three types of people in the world: Those who think anyone can do PPC. Those who think it takes a very special kind of idiot-savant. And those who understand that the truth lies somewhere between the two.

Image: Corbis

I spend my typical PPC day pulling bunnies from hats.

The prestige -- the unexpected and surprising conclusion of the illusion -- lies in knowing exactly which hat I'll be wearing that day. Oh, and in having a brilliant assistant.

Not to mix metaphors, but the recipe for a truly great campaign rests entirely in the SPICE you choose to put in it. Scope. Plan. Implement. Control. Evaluate. For the French among you: EPICE. Examine. Plan. Implement. Control. Evaluate.

Scope - Assess. Assess the conversation you are being invited to become a part of. Do you understand the dialogue? Do you understand the needs of the client? And the needs of the client's business? Do you understand the opportunities? Do you understand the limitations? Do you understand the marketspace? And do you understand the competition? If so, given all those factors, can you create success? The second part of that same question is can you create success profitably? Let's face it, it's not only clients who are accountable to margins. Too often I've seen the scope of a project far exceed the resources available. And in truth, I've been a part of that from time to time.

Plan - Oh that's easy. Then again, maybe not. Are you planning for success? (Everything works.) Or are you planning for succession? (Nothing works and you are succeeded by the next company or agency.) Planning takes into account technology, metrics, seasonality, marketspace, onpoint message delivery, conversions and more often than not an agenda or objective that may be counterintuituve to the whole process. (You can usually count on someone being accountable to someone higher up - ensure you are engaged and understand the whole dialogue not just sporadic sentence fragments. Nothing goes off the rails quite so fast as an account shepherd not being able to say "no" or worse, not being able to hear it.)

Gary Larson - The Far Side

Implement - Three, potentially four absolute prerequisites here. Get yourself a brilliant Excel mind. Get a great PPC editing tool. Get a brilliant assistant. And be willing to hand off to them. Oh, and the fourth? A good translator. French for the Canadian market. Spanish for the American market.

Control - If you're the type to set it and forget it, well, forget it. Campaigns can be optimized to achieve targets, be they eyeballs, leads or revenues, but even after doing that, the next question is always: So what's next?

Evaluate - There are myriad reports available through myriad channels. Use them all and ask for them all. From analytics to search platforms to internal data to industry analysis to product databases. Absorb, study, ponder, question. The question that follows is always: So what if we?...

A competitor recently said to me: "You can't rely on instinct." After 12 years in the search space I agree entirely. I rely on experience.

Account-Ability isn't about the trick. It's about the prestige.

Have a good one.

~The (SEP) Guy