AI, Janes of Digital & the Importance of Inclusion

Fine Point Grey Frances Donegan-Ryan, Bing Concierge

AI, Janes of Digital & the Importance of Inclusion

(49-minute podcast)

This week we look at the upcoming Janes of Digital event at SMX in Seattle and the value of building inclusive marketing & tech teams. How can developing a staff that is diverse in terms of not only gender & race but experience level, personality and background improve both your corporate culture, products, & customer experience? We dig in with Frances Donegan-Ryan, SEM Pro with Bing Ads & Co-creator of Janes of Digital along with Maddie Cary, Director of Paid Search here at Point It.

The fascinating news that Google has developed an AI that is building, testing & evolving other AI systems for image and speech recognition kicks off a discussion on how underlying assumptions implicit in the design of AI’s can impact your brand. We also consider what is going awry when machine learning gets out of sync with customer’s expectations at Uber & dig into Google Attribution, which allows marketers to move from last click attribution to customize weights according to their business models.

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Featured Experts:

Jesse Fowl, Managing Director at Solomon Solution

Guests and Experts

EXPERTS:

Frances Donegan-Ryan, The Bing Concierge, Co-creator of Janes of Digital, and SEM Pro.

Bio: With a mission to help businesses of all sizes capitalize on the power of search marketing, Frances’ years of digital experience runs the gamut of SEO, SEM, PPC, social media, content development, UX/UI and website design. She’s worked in big, small and tiny companies, always aiming to help get the right messages to the right customers and the right time. You’ll find her at search conferences and Bing Ads Connect events around the country helping SEM Pros better utilize Microsoft’s global PPC platform to stand out from their competitors.

Maddie Cary, Director of Paid Search, Point It Digital Marketing

Bio: Maddie Cary is the Director of Paid Search at Point It Digital Marketing in Seattle. Her role involves overseeing and developing an amazing team of PPC account managers, while also running the global SEM program for Point It’s largest client. In 2015, she won the US Search Award for “Young Search Professional”, as well as was acknowledged as a “Rising Star in PPC” by both SearchEngineLand & PPC Hero. You can find her speaking & learning at great conferences like SMX, HeroConf, & PubCon, or writing posts for the Wordstream blog. Outside of PPC, her biggest loves are her family, friends, and her idol, Queen Beyoncé.

HOST:

Maureen Jann, Director of Marketing, Point It Digital Marketing

Bio: Maureen Jann is a veteran B2B marketer whose career in Digital Media has grown up with the Internet. A self-described jill-of-all-trades, Maureen has elevated creative problem solving to an art form and enjoys the daily challenges of driving business results in unexpected ways. Her skills as an entrepreneur, content marketer, creative director and passionate people manager set her apart from the pack. Maureen has worked in every corner of marketing making her a skilled tactical resource as well as a strategic partner.  Recently, she was the captain of the marketing ship for an award-winning professional services firm and is currently creating a content marketing strategy for Point It, a digital marketing agency.

PRODUCER:

Tim Mohler, Sr. Marketing Manager, Point It Digital Marketing

Bio: Tim Mohler is a multichannel marketer with experience building campaigns for travel, CPG, food, beverage, and technology companies reaching both B2B and B2C customers. He’s passionate about building marketing experiences & partnerships that are relevant to a brand’s message, exciting for the customer, and most importantly deliver measurable results. At Point It, he develops digital, social and content campaigns as well as managing PointIt.com on a day to day basis.

Transcript

Maureen Jann: Hi there and welcome to FinePoint digital marketing updates, a weekly podcast of the latest happenings and interviews with expert guests from across the spectrum of digital marketing. I’m Maureen Jann, the director, the director of MarketingAppointed, a digital marketing agency out here in Seattle, Washington and I’ll be your hostess.

 

It’s been hot, weirdly hot for Seattle. All of us with allergies are trying not to die. I know Tim doesn’t have that problem, our podcast engineer, or you do, don’t you? You do have …

 

Tim Mohler: Yeah, I got over it.

 

Maureen Jann: You’re over it?

 

Frances Donegan: I got better.

 

Tim Mohler: Exactly.

 

Maureen Jann: Okay great. Well Tim’s our podcast engineer and senior marketing manager and he’ll be joining us throughout the podcast. Before we introduce our guests, I have a quick announcement. We’re having a Tweet Chat on Friday, on May 26th at noon. We’re highlighting Nathan Young, founder of Ten Count who will be leading a discussion around how small teams can utilize marketing automation to help streamline team efficiency. It should be good, I’ll be there as well and Tim is off, high five to you.

 

Tim Mohler: I’m on vacation, but I might check it on my phone, you never know. [inaudible 00:01:04] come to chat with me.

 

Maureen Jann: You can’t get away from us. It’s put on by Marketing Northwest Magazine and hosted by yours truly and highlights a Northwestern marketing talent. We’re joined by an international audience and no matter where you are you should join us, it’s a good time. We always have fun. Sign up for notification on www.pointit.com/tweetchat and we’ll have that link in the notes. Today we have Maddie Cary, our director of paid search and Frances Donegan-Ryan, influencer and SEM pro with Bing Ads. Today we’re gonna talk about the upcoming [inaudible 00:01:40] of digital here in Seattle in June. How are you Frances? Thanks for coming.

 

Frances Donegan: Thank you, I’m doing really well. I’ve been traveling a lot, so delighted that I could make sure I could chat with you ladies, and in person, which is sometimes rare for a podcast and I only live up the street so it took me like five minutes to walk down, it’ll probably take me longer to walk home because it’s uphill and weirdly humid outside, but huge fan of Point It and everyone who works here, so excited to join you and chat about things that I love.

 

Maureen Jann: Well we’re glad to have you. How are you Maddie?

 

Maddie Cary: I’m doing great, yeah. It’s been a busy week, especially given the sunshine; it’s hard at times to stay focused and not be like, “I want to go outside.” But yeah, things have been good and I’m excited that Frances is here. Frances and I have worked together in the past an obviously see each other at events and the partnership with the Bing Ads team so Frances and I are all buds. This is fun.

 

Maureen Jann: Sweet. And I like being around strong ladies so this is gonna be off the chain. Well before we dig into our interview let’s talk about articles. Tim didn’t let me off lightly on these articles. We’re talking about AI [crosstalk 00:03:03]

 

Maddie Cary: Really simple, straightforward stuff to talk about.

 

Maureen Jann: Right, it’s like not even normal AI, it’s like Uber mega AI and Uber, we’re talking about Uber, and then we’re also talking about last click attribution, which is something that makes me shake my fist. So to start, I’m gonna do my best here so bare with me. This is from futurism.com, “Google’s new AI is better at creating AI than the company’s engineers.” This article focuses about how they have an AI in such an inspired auto ML, that was announced last week at Google I/O and basically, essentially these AI systems are creating better AI systems and that’s pretty much what I have to say about this, and if you want to know more you should definitely read it because this is all very AI, meta AI … I don’t know.

 

Maddie Cary: Is this the full circle of how we basically work ourselves out of jobs? We develop AI that can develop AI? It really is like inception, it’s just further and further iterations until finally like, we’re obsolete. Is that what Google’s trying to do? Is that their master plan?

 

Maureen Jann: Well if that’s true then we get a vacation because that sounds [inaudible 00:04:20].

 

Frances Donegan: We should all just be investing in AI companies now. I think something that … I was at the Grace Hopper Conference last fall, which is all about women in tech, amazing conference if you can go, and people were talking there about how tech, and particularly AI and code is looked at as a neutral body, so it’s kind of gender neutral, it can’t be biased towards one thing or another because it’s a line or code, it’s ones and zeros, and the same with AI. But the argument to that thesis was that, if it’s still white men or south Asian men writing the code, it still means that it inherently does have a bias. So it would be interesting to see if AI is created by a group of non-diverse people, is the AI that the AI creates, is it gonna have a bias? And how will we look at diversity when we look at AI. Clearly, diversity is always top of mind for me, but it will be interesting to see how they do that.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah, that’s such an interesting way to think about it. It’s almost like if you’re taking the argument of nature versus nurture but then applying it to artificial intelligence. Is what’s created from its origins a reflectance of that, so the nature argument, or can building something as it algorithmically learns and becomes better, becomes something different or not be a direct reflection of who it was created by.

 

Maureen Jann: There’s some examples of that happening right now where the AI is actually creating furniture, and the furniture chucks all of the assumptions that original designers would have and it starts from basically neutral zero and builds more efficient, more perfect furniture, more ergonomically perfect furniture. They may look a little odd, but the fact of the matter is it works way better than it did before, so it chopped all bias. It doesn’t have the same … Anyway, interesting.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah, it will be interesting what they continue to do with it.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah, indeed.

 

Tim Mohler: For now it’s been fairly simple testing. We’re looking speech recognition, I believe image recognition as well, were kind of what they were testing on it. But the fact that it can test and learn on its own, and it’s evaluating itself before setting up the next set of tests … You have to wonder at what point it gets lost and we just don’t know what implicit assumptions are there and thinking Wall Street and all the Excel jockeys and watching things implode. Gender bias is one piece of it, the other piece is it has a frame of reference. It doesn’t know anything outside of that, so how much judgment can it really bring to things as it continues to grow, and for Google, I mean it has access to unbelievable amounts of data, so who knows what’s under the hood.

 

Maddie Cary: Especially the piece that it’s evaluating itself, that’s like being your own manager. I’m giving myself a fantastic performance evaluation.

 

Tim Mohler: I’m sure there’s a manager AI too.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah, there’s a separate one who managers the other smaller AI’s that don’t know what they’re doing.

 

Tim Mohler: Well, and to be fair it’s almost like that. [crosstalk 00:07:31]

 

Maddie Cary: I’m sure it’s more complex than that, again, revealing how little I know about the complexities of artificial intelligence. But it’s funny to think about it that way. I think it’s funny that way, as people just even … Because there’s that intelligence piece assigned to it, but even with artificial intelligence we have the [inaudible 00:07:48] to still assign human elements or feeling to how we think of it and how we approach it.

 

Frances Donegan: Well it has to have rules, and those rules are created by people right? So it’s just a matter of …

 

Tim Mohler: For now.

 

Maddie Cary: Until it learns and overtakes everything. Just kidding.

 

Frances Donegan: Which I’m totally fine with.

 

Tim Mohler: In the show notes you can find the link to Inception, along with this fantastic article and possibly Terminator and I’m trying to think if there’s anything else we should be covering.

 

Maddie Cary: No, Inception will definitely get you there, the AI within the AI within the AI.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah, did a paper on that once and there’s a name for it and it’s just slipping out of my head. It’s sub … I don’t know, I’ll think about it and we’ll put it in the show notes.

 

Tim Mohler: The singularity is coming.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah, that’s part of it. But anyway, I did it on The Truman Show.

 

Tim Mohler: Oh.

 

Maddie Cary: God I love that movie so much.

 

Maureen Jann: Right? So interesting, and there’s a series of those movies that are all like that and came around, like came in approximately the same time. There was one [crosstalk 00:08:45]

 

Tim Mohler: Black Mirror.

 

Maureen Jann: … [inaudible 00:08:46] did that big … Where it was, gosh … Indiana Jones, who played Indiana Jones?

 

Maddie Cary: Harrison Ford, this is a fun game [crosstalk 00:08:56], I like game like this. These are the games I play with my parents every singe time I go over. “Who’s that guy? You know? The one?”

 

Maureen Jann: [crosstalk 00:09:05] I don’t have to be responsible for my actions. But yeah, so there was this whole thing around … God, we should skip this part, we should move on.

 

Maddie Cary: Okay.

 

Frances Donegan: Okay.

 

Maureen Jann: This is awful, it’s getting …

 

Maddie Cary: Well we’ll have to revisit it [crosstalk 00:09:20]

 

Tim Mohler: This was so much more interesting than I thought when I put the article in there. [crosstalk 00:09:22] Fascinating.

 

Maddie Cary: We can’t help ourselves.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah we should skip this part, okay. The next article is all about Uber starts charging what it thinks you’re willing to pay. And much to this whole gender discussion, of course one of these ladies who went on a 10 PM, she had a 10 PM fare with two male co-workers and noted her pricing was much higher. I was like, how do you even know that? Why is this even a thing?

 

Tim Mohler: Price guarantee, they were leaving from the same happy hour and they all compared their Uber fares and she got charged significantly more than they did.

 

Maddie Cary: Even though they’re in the same place?

 

Tim Mohler: Well I assume they were going to different neighborhoods and that’s probably what triggered it, I hope, versus gender. This goes back to AI and the fact that they’re using who knows what to model their pricing.

 

Maddie Cary: Well it’s interesting, because in the article here I see that there’s “Uber applies machine learning testing how much a customer might be willing to pay for a particular route at a particular time of day.” So you ask yourself, if it’s modeling it off of that specific app user’s behaviors and we back it way up to how women maybe are socialized, what if there’s more women who are just willing to accept. Well I’m not gonna confront it or I’m not going to question it or I’m not gonna say that I’m being treated unfairly, instead I’m just gonna say, “Yes.”

 

And then if that is a pattern a couple of times maybe Uber’s learning is skewing that pricing higher towards women. Again, I’m making grand, sweeping generalizations here, I don’t know how that’s working but that could be why.

 

Frances Donegan: I think it’s … And lots of industries do this, the hotel industry does it, Amazon does it depending on where your IP address is and your search history. It will organize results that shows you higher, in fact sometimes it’ll even, the dollar sign on my search versus Maddie’s search will actually be different based on what I’ve purchased in the past and where I sit and what neighborhood and zip code and etc. So it’s not a new thing, I think people start to question, people seem to question more prices of services than a physical item, than like buying a book. I do think it’s hard for us to look at Uber and think oh this could be interesting because we know how they’ve behaved in the last six months [crosstalk 00:11:44].

 

Tim Mohler: This is a bad time to kick this off.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah, I inherently look at it and I’m like I don’t trust them so I figure they’re out to screw me. But I do think the thing with Uber, my work account is connected to my personal account. So I take long rides at work accounts and I always take a fare to the airport and if a Google Plus, is that the cheap one? No Google [inaudible 00:12:10], if that one’s not available on my work account, I’ll pay for the higher one without questioning because I have to be at the airport or I have to be at a meeting. Where if it’s just me going to Capital Hill here in Seattle, I’ll look at Lyft and then I’ll see if there’s a car to go but my behavior is completely different. And on a weekend versus a weekday or my car broke down so I actually took Uber’s to Redman and Bellview the last few weeks, which I would never do.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah, that’s [inaudible 00:12:38].

 

Frances Donegan: So there’s all of these other human elements that go into it and you wonder [crosstalk 00:12:44]

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah just what all the pieces [crosstalk 00:12:45]

 

Frances Donegan: What then triggers the pattern and how do I get out of that pattern?

 

Maureen Jann: How do I teach it something, how do I teach it to give me cheaper prices?

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah.

 

Tim Mohler: But the funny thing is, is how Uber got here. This started off when they started doing all the search pricing and people lost trust in their pricing so people stopped using it and they noticed that.

 

Maureen Jann: That’s like one of a series.

 

Tim Mohler: So they did a whole thing about transparency, which we love here at Point It, and they guarantee pricing. That was the kick off for this whole thing, now they’re going right back because people want to understand why you price the way that you do and Uber doesn’t seem to get that, again, because now [crosstalk 00:13:25]

 

Maddie Cary: They think they can sneak it in and that people won’t notice.

 

Maureen Jann: Nobody’s looking.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah.

 

Maddie Cary: Right like [crosstalk 00:13:29]

 

Tim Mohler: But consumers always notice, consumers always [crosstalk 00:13:32] scan the system every single time.

 

Maddie Cary: If something like this hadn’t been out or whatever, if this hadn’t been more publicly known, I would have still continued to get pricing be like, this is my guaranteed price. I wouldn’t have thought maybe it could be being adjusted based off of if the app is arithmicly [crosstalk 00:13:47] assuming that I am willing to pay a higher price.

 

Frances Donegan: Right.

 

Maddie Cary: So I agree, I think they’re toeing that line of transparency and not obviously in a great way.

 

Maureen Jann: Not well. So they actually mentioned in this article, they didn’t break out how the prices were estimated and continued to pay the drivers the old model or pay outs, so hello Uber, [crosstalk 00:14:09] still sketchy.

 

Tim Mohler: This opens up a whole nother problem.

 

Maureen Jann: Still sketchy, Uber.

 

Maddie Cary: They got some stuff to figure out.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah.

 

Maddie Cary: Long term.

 

Frances Donegan: I was shocked that there isn’t a massive marketing campaign from Lyft, slapped on every billboard everywhere.

 

Maureen Jann: Right?

 

Tim Mohler: They don’t need to. They don’t need to do it because so many people are deleting the app.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah, I mean I stopped using Uber and moved over to Lyft and Lyft treat their drivers … Like I was talking to the drivers and learning about it. They get emails every week checking in and sharing cool updates, they feel like their employees of that company and not like a vendor or just a driver. But their quality is nowhere near that of Uber’s.

 

Maureen Jann: Their app quality and stuff like that [crosstalk 00:14:55]

 

Frances Donegan: Just like the cars and the drivers and I’m like but I have this powerful [crosstalk 00:15:02]

 

Maureen Jann: Vote with my dollars.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah, vote with my dollars and so I can’t sway from it. They just got more funding and it’ll be interesting to see where both of these companies, what directions they both take.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah.

 

Tim Mohler: Also trust is a huge issue, I mean huge.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah, it’s a disaster.

 

Tim Mohler: No amount of money is going to … If you have a bad culture, internally at a company, it doesn’t matter how much you spend. It’s never going to fix the facet that consumers no longer trust you, drivers no longer trust you.

 

Maureen Jann: It’s a sick leadership team, I don’t mean that like, “You’re sick.” Although, that might be true as well but when there’s an inherit toxicity in a culture, that trickles down to every part and piece and I just don’t think that they know how to fix that right now.

 

Frances Donegan: I don’t think they want to, to be honest.

 

Tim Mohler: I think they’re trying to milk every dime possible.

 

Maddie Cary: I want to believe there’s probably some people within that do want to but I bet they just don’t know how to do it yet.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah, I think the trick is when you’re CEO is sketchy, it makes it really, really hard.

 

Frances Donegan: But he’s not like a stand alone, a ton of CEO’s in Silicon Valley are all like that and because they all live in a community where everyone’s like them, it’s totally tolerated and they keep getting money. There’s no impotence to change to change in culture and companies continue to become hugely successful so it’ll [crosstalk 00:16:20]

 

Maddie Cary: Until they lose a bunch of money.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah.

 

Maddie Cary: That’s what it’s gonna be, consumers who force them. That’s what it’ll come down to.

 

Maureen Jann: [inaudible 00:16:26]. So Uber, still sketchy.

 

Maddie Cary: Still scary.

 

Tim Mohler: Be careful how you use your AI.

 

Maureen Jann: Last click attributions, still dumb. Right?

 

Tim Mohler: Morality experts still have a job.

 

Maureen Jann: There you go.

 

Maddie Cary: Yay, cheers to us.

 

Maureen Jann: Are we morality experts now?

 

Maddie Cary: I don’t know I [crosstalk 00:16:48].

 

Frances Donegan: Can I add that to my LinkedIn?

 

Tim Mohler: Absolutely, 100 percent.

 

Maddie Cary: I’m pretending I am. I’m gonna use them like morality guru or one of those [inaudible 00:16:54] words [inaudible 00:16:55] morality guru.

 

Maureen Jann: Morality maven.

 

Maddie Cary: Morality wizard, oh that’s good, morality maven.

 

Maureen Jann: Morality ninja.

 

Maddie Cary: Oh, alliteration.

 

Maureen Jann: So many things, we could do a lot with this. This could be awful for a long time. So the last article we have here is from Ad Age and it’s “How Google Plans to Kill Last Click Attribution” and earlier I tried just saying this title to radio … Wait, video killed the radio star and I failed miserably, it was really sad. But some interesting things about this one is it aims to rid marketers of the obsession with the last click before consumers buy things, focusing instead on insights about how early your ad dollars preform in areas like TV, digital video, store visits, and search.

 

So basically this offering that does this is called Google Attribution and it tries to offer weighted value to every touch point along with the customer’s path to purchase, which I thought was pretty interesting because we have a lot of discussions about attributions around here. In fact, we just had one about how an agency can help our clients do better, have better attribution. I know the one we have here is a W attribution model, I know this because I picked it. I’m always curious to read about these.

 

So the goal is to make sense of ad dollars effectiveness across channels and devices and the free version is for small and medium businesses so basically they crunch all of their data, they process half a trillion data points across devices and offer that value to the little guy right now, which is pretty interesting. I don’t know.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah, I got like 10 emails about this in the last day or two and our VP’s here were all, “We saw the blog post.” And we’re like, “Oh, what does that mean and what does that look like for clients?” Because it’s a strategic play by Google to continue to try to address a problem that many marketers have around … You know, they may of course, invest in multiple channels, they may also use certain platforms to aggregate data but tying all together and developing attribution models, and understanding how to weight conversion and revenue metrics, and how to assign those values and evaluate performance over time, that’s the piece that’s a bit more complex. Without using some sort of tool whether that’s, even at times using an ad server or leveraging an atlas or even doing things through double click. It’s gonna depend per client what makes sense for them and of course if it’s costing you money for a tool like that, how much money you have to spend.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah.

 

Maddie Cary: So it’s interesting that Google is taking to my understanding, a feature that’s lived in each part that it connects to. So they’ve had some attribution stuff available on Ad Words, obviously like double click and then analytics, and tying all three together is a, I think an intentional play of, hey, we’re offering a stack that covers across your media investment and that integrates all of these things closer into one. It’s really interesting and our first thought was how do we leverage this for clients, and what does this mean, and how do we make better investment decisions. My first thought was I want to play in that, I want to look in it, rather than in the little sections of each account.

 

Maureen Jann: Good news, you have a lab you can use. We’re open to letting you try it for Point It.

 

Maddie Cary: Oh great, okay well just throw us in there [crosstalk 00:20:28], yeah thank you so much. So generous.

 

Maureen Jann: I’m here for you.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah so it’s gonna be really, really interesting. But yeah I had multiple people either friends in the industry or people internally were like, “Did you see this article? What does this mean?” I don’t think, I know the article here says they want to kill last click attribution, I think that Google just understands that advertisers are saying that can’t be the only attribution portal.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah, yeah.

 

Maddie Cary: Google is very of course, reliant on that attribution model because it benefits search, first and foremost. So just sitting at the bottom just like yes, we’ll click that last click and take all the credit for all those other marketing dollars that aren’t getting that conversion credit. It benefits Google, I think they finally realized like, if we’re gonna continue to keep people investing we have to give them tools to do it smarter and maybe that will incentivize more investment not just in search, but maybe in GDN or maybe in YouTube or these other things mobile that they’re trying to push to grow to.

 

Tim Mohler: I think this is an example of how they’ve not grown to absorb so much of advertising and to own so much of the playing field that they don’t need last click as a model anymore. Whenever I hear about Google measuring anything, I feel like the fox is guarding the hen house. But at this point, if you look at the numbers, they own so much of the overall advertising dollars in the space that I don’t think … There’s far less risk to them at this point than there ever had been before, and as they move into video … There’s just so much of the playing field at this point, it’s incredible.

 

Frances Donegan: I think part of it is, we’ve seen search … My background’s actually in SEO and then came to SEM when I joined Bing four years ago, but search was always this side team, and often … I used to report to a CTO running content marketing, social, SEO, they just didn’t really know where to put you for a long time. And I know at Microsoft, one of our big things that we’ve been doing is going to VP’s of marketing, and we’ve already seen VP’s of marketing getting more and more tech dollars as they’re buying these big stacks like [inaudible 00:22:36] or SalesForce or things that traditionally sat on the tech now sit in marketing, and the conversations that we have with people who are sending billions, million and millions and millions of ad dollars are saying all of a sudden search, and all of the investment they put in search is way bigger than they thought it would be.

 

It’s now taking up at least half the pie, and they can’t, as like a giant media buyer or a giant VP of marketing, they have to be telling a much more cohesive story. So I think that’s forcing then, Google and Microsoft to be able to provide them that data. They can’t say, “Well at SEM or PBC we have all these great … You can get super nitty gritty in data,” and that used to be a big sales point for us to be like, “Hey, invest more in search; we can actually show you attribution, click through, like a path from searching for it to conversion,” whereas you couldn’t do that in TV, couldn’t do that with newspaper, you couldn’t really do it with radio, and that was like our big selling point.

 

That worked for a little while for us, and now I think those people are coming back to us and saying, “Great, we have all this data, but if we can’t connect it to all the other places we’re spending money, then I don’t see how we grow that area.” Kind of like what you were saying, Tim, like until we can tell, and then once, if that’s what’s being demanded at kind of these big global companies or agencies then it’s what customers are … Your other point at customers or SMB’s, these small and medium businesses are gonna start asking for it too.

 

I think it’s also a shift of the whole industry, is pushing companies like Microsoft and Google to be able to provide more data, and we’re doing work on it too. We’re not quite here where it’s like an offering, but we’re launching offline conversion tracking in June. It’s funny because we did a webcast I think in January that we called “The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon With Attribution” and told this whole story about understanding attribution. The conversation has always been there, like that last click hasn’t always been our story.

 

It’s like, well what keyword helped you get to that keyword that converted? And then we don’t call it the decision making funnel anymore, it’s the consumer journey. Microsoft has a ton of data that’s able to show, here’s the zig-zaggey, crazy maze where you ended up. And the more we’re able to show that data the more we’re able to then build it into an actual offering where it’s not just us running a report and giving it to one customer if and when they ask for it.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah, and I think that the reason why Google and Bing and Microsoft look to do this kind of stuff is also because searches is pretty heavily saturated, I mean it’s incredibly competitive. There’s not … Well I’m sure there still companies out there not doing search, and if they’d like to do it at Point It, we are available.

 

Maureen Jann: Shameless plug.

 

Maddie Cary: There aren’t that many advertisers who are not doing search or haven’t done some search at some point, and in fact I’m working with a lot of clients who have done search for a long time and they’re starting to see the impact of when their campaigns are basically plateauing. And not just from a conversion standpoint, but the demand available on the keywords that they’re going after, including when they do some testing expansion, it isn’t growing. It’s staying flat, particularly on desktop.

 

They go, “How do we grow this?” We have to fill the top of the funnel. Search can’t create demand, that’s not really its job. Its job is to capture it, so how do we create it? We invest outside of it, so we invest in social, we invest in display.

 

Frances Donegan: Content and [crosstalk 00:26:35]

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah, we even look at how we target and generate our content and who we get in front of, and that’s where advertisers go, “Okay, we keep spending more in search, I have to also spend somewhere else and I have to track the impact of that there as well as all the way down.” And if these engines don’t address that piece, then they’re just left going, “Keep spending with us, the demand is still … Don’t worry if its falling a bit, it’s all good.” They have to finally create something that allows you to actually understand your other investments’ impact on what you’re doing in search.

 

Maureen Jann: Look at the dancing bear over there, look at it, it’s beautiful.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah, look away, look away. And that’s where Google and Bing have kept attribution at the forefront of their conversations, and even Google [inaudible 00:27:16] hasn’t solved it all, they’re still trying to figure it out, and it’s at least good that they’re thinking that way, whereas five, 10 years ago they weren’t thinking like that at all, it was just like, “Have you heard of mobile? Do you want to target mobile?”

 

Maureen Jann: Wait is that the year of mobile?

 

Maddie Cary: It’s always the year of mobile, it never ends actually. It’s the century of mobile.

 

Maureen Jann: Before it gets too far down this road, because we could attribution ourselves to death here, I mean I’m not wrong, I know. Let’s move onto our interview so we can hear more from Frances and Maddie, woo hoo.

 

Maddie Cary: Yay.

 

Maureen Jann: Like I mentioned, I have Frances Donegan-Ryan from Bing Ads and I have Maddie Cary from Point It and we’re talking … We’re gonna talk a little bit about the women in advertising and an event that we love around here at Point It, “Janes of Digital.” So Frances, can you tell us a little bit about what you do at Bing to start? Give us some framework.

 

Frances Donegan: Yes, I’m on the Bing Ads marketing team, on the brand team, and I like to describe myself as the Bing concierge.

 

Maddie Cary: What a title.

 

Frances Donegan: Right? My main job is to work with the industry, people in the industry, influencers in the industry, and listen to them, collect feedback and bring it back to our engineering and or product teams, and also to find them the data and the answers that they need. We’re a challenger brand and the tenants that we look at are really listening. It’s not really customer service, it’s listening to customers and putting their needs and their feedback first and then being transparent and being able to share, which I hear is our favorite word here at Point It is transparency.

 

My whole job is looking at, how do I get that information and how do I make sure people know the data and research that we have and that they can use it and share it and talk about it. The main part of my job, like Maddie said, is I bounce around from industry event to industry event and pay for drinks and dinner and things like, it’s really stressful.

 

Maddie Cary: And have great conversations with people.

 

Frances Donegan: Yes, yes.

 

Maddie Cary: Keep people updated on what’s going on at Bing.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah, I’ve always worked in tech startup and big companies and I’m a super nerd, so I will talk about AI and bots, mostly I talk about bots and robots now because those are my two favorite things.

 

Maureen Jann: These are a few of my favorite things.

 

Frances Donegan: Favorite things, robots.

 

Tim Mohler: This is the one week that we haven’t talked bots.

 

Maureen Jann: It’s true.

 

Frances Donegan: Really? Oh my gosh, I’ll come back and talk bots any day, any time.

 

Maureen Jann: You can bring Allen because what’s [crosstalk 00:30:10]

 

Frances Donegan: Allen and I joined the company, Allen Klein who works for Point It from Bing, we joined at the same time.

 

Maureen Jann: Oh, you were hiring buddies.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah, and we went to our first big Microsoft conference, big internal conference where they showcased all this new tech and stuff that was coming out. He and I were like on the edges of our seats holding hands just like, “Oh my God, I can’t wait to buy that.” We were both [inaudible 00:30:36] … Because the team we work on at Microsoft, it’s a lot of sales and marketing people, so yes Microsoft is full of nerds, but it’s also full of sales and marketing people and we are definitely the nerds on that team. But yeah, I really enjoy working with the industry.

 

Another really big part of my job, in fact it’s like a third to half of my job working on diversity in tech, so big shout out to my boss and my team who let me take this thing I’m passionate about and this little event that we started and then made it a full time part of my role, and the event is Janes of Digital.

 

Maureen Jann: Woo hoo. Okay, well before we get into the nitty gritty on that, Maddie can you remind everybody who you are? Because I know we’ve had you on the show now multiple times but we get new listeners all the time because we’re very popular.

 

Maddie Cary: Sure, yeah, my name’s Maddie Cary, I’m our director of paid search here at Point It. My job is to oversee our paid search service and department as a whole, so that includes managing a really awesome team of close to 30, 35 account managers across clients spanning verticles and spin levels, working with marketing and with sales on business development, and then acting as best I can a thought leader in the paid search industry for Point It, working with folks like Frances and even Allen, and making sure that we’re staying on the forefront of the best practices and new features and delivering the best paid search quality we can for our clients. That’s my day-to-day, it’s just paid search 24/7 mostly. No, that’s not true, I do work a lot with the other channels too, but it’s a lot of paid search.

 

Maureen Jann: And you were on a panel at Janes of Digital, am I correct?

 

Maddie Cary: I was a long time ago, the [inaudible 00:32:19] advanced a couple years ago was on the Janes of Digital panel, which was really great that Frances gave me that opportunity and I go every year because I’m often lucky enough to go speak as much of the [inaudible 00:32:32] events and there’s Janes at a majority of them so it’s a really fantastic event that I never miss. It’s my favorite.

 

Maureen Jann: Yep, it’s a fun one for sure. Okay, let’s talk about Janes of Digital. Tell us about that event in a broad stroke.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah, we definitely noticed a gap in the industry of an event where we talked about issues that were important to women in this industry and never at the exclusion of other people. Men are welcome at Janes; last year in Seattle I think our audience was 35, 45 percent men and at times we will have a man on the panel. But really, the idea stemmed from, there wasn’t a time and space created for these conversations that we wanted to have, coupled with we didn’t always feel fully safe and welcome at big industry events and that the evening events, particularly kind of the main party event, is often in a night club or in a dark venue. If you’re, particularly a woman, you think about your safety I think a lot more than men do, your physical safety, and it wasn’t a place where … If I’m attending an industry conference and I’m there to represent my company, I mean, Maddie and I are fortunate that we get to go but we’d have a ton of our team members with us typically.

 

But a lot of people don’t. If they’re there by themselves they’re not gonna feel safe and comfortable. If they’re there representing their company it might not be the kind of event they want to participate in. If they don’t have any buddies yet in the industry, again, they might not want to go by themselves. It was two fold, we wanted to create a space that felt and inclusive and then a space where we really talked about issues that women face.

 

The first Janes that we did was in Seattle four years ago now I think. We do Janes all around North America, so yes, we do partner with SMX and the three SMX conferences that happen in the US, west, advanced and east we’ve always had a Janes of Digital. We also had a Janes of Digital at Ad Week in New York last September, and we started having Janes of Digital events that aren’t connected with an industry event. We’ll pick cities … Because certain cities get all the big industry events and then certain cities don’t, so we’ll pick different cities where typically we have a lot of customer and partners and we’ll invite all of them and other people in the industry who are based in those cities, so Toronto, Los Angeles, we did one in New York a couple weeks ago and the rest of this year we’ll do Dallas and Chicago and possibly San Fran, so we love to bring it on the road and travel around.

 

And the event style I think is also different, and I think Maddie can jump in here, anyone else who’s been to a Janes. I really wanted to make sure when we built it that it didn’t feel like events that already exist, because why just create another one of those common network? We wanted it to be more than that. So we do obviously have networking, we wanted to keep it still fun, it’s an evening event, we’ve got cocktails, it’s kind of swanky and savvy and we wanted to provide something professional to women so we always do professional head shots, so that when you do walk away you have something for your LinkedIn or for your next speaker profile.

 

We wanted to, with the lack of women that we typically see on stage and industry events, I wanted to get women on stage so that when they then went to pitch to speak they could be like, “I’ve been on stage, I’ve been a speaker at Janes of Digital. Here’s my head shot and [inaudible 00:36:25].” So it’s like creating that package experience for them. And then we have a panel, and I think the difference with our events is the panel. We pick more … I don’t know, what I consider super interesting topics that often don’t get discussed. Certainly having conversations about mentorship and the confidence gap are incredibly important, but we wanted to talk about issues that were a bit deeper that really don’t get a lot of stage time, particularly in a more corporate environment or more business world type world environment.

 

We’ve talked about things like being bold for change, which was the International Women’s Day theme and topic this year. We borrowed that and use it at our events, we’ve talked about being a true ally and what that really sounds and looks like. It’s not just a hashtag in a post, we’ve talked about safety and inclusion. We often talk about inclusion and diversity because you can’t have a diverse team or company or business if you don’t include people who are diverse, but we kind of wanted to get a step before that and say, “If you don’t feel safe based on who you are then you can’t feel included and therefore you can’t end up with diversity.”

 

So we kind of took it a step forward and talked about that and we’ve talked about all sorts of issues. It’s funny, I think the conversations have gotten better and better. The audience is super involved so we asked the audience to share their own stories. We’ve had debates between audience members and panelists on different points of view and how they approach things, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I’ve had the pleasure of being able to moderate most of them over the last year and a half and it’s something I love doing and we just want to grow and grow it.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah, awesome. Maddie, tell us about your experience as one of the panelists and what were you guys talking about and what was your role?

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah, so I was on a panel on what I think was their second, maybe second year of doing it and our topic was primarily around confidence, and particularly how women address … Well it was kind of more talking about the difference between what female confidence and male confidence might look like. And not to say that they should be different or that they have to be the same, but that there might be some different perceptions based on what gender you are as to what confidence is supposed to look like. I still remember, and I won’t say it because it involves swearing, but I remember sitting in the front … Or I was on the panel and someone asked me like, “Do you think female confidence looks different or what’s the impact of that?”

 

And I was like, “Well I’ll be real with you, when women try to be confident they often times will try to emulate male confidence, that’s one problem,” Or they are assertive and powerful and sure of themselves and they get called bossy or …

 

Frances Donegan: Other “B” words.

 

Maddie Cary: And I was like, bossy or aggressive and then my boss in front yells, “Or a … ” and another “B” word and just yelled that out and I was like, yeah, that’s true. It was really great, I really enjoyed the format like Frances was talking about. A panel style, hearing from myself at the time, who was still more junior in the industry and then folks who had been working at companies for 10, 20 years. A lot of different perspectives and viewpoints, and then also that crowd interaction and sometimes getting questions where, not to say that they were offensive, but questions where you’re like, “Oh, that is your perception.” Maybe from a male audience member or from a female audience member, there’s some challenging, there’s some healthy debate. I think everyone walks out of it whether you came in fully all about women, everything’s like I’m gung ho, you still walk out realizing you carry certain biases, male or female and there’s different ways that you should think about things and think about other peoples perspectives.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah.

 

Maddie Cary: I enjoy it because it is really fun, there’s food and pictures and drinks, and you get to see a lot of people in the industry, and meet new people in a more intimate setting but then there’s also this good chunk of it which is just hearing from really smart women and hearing about challenges that they faced. You don’t really get that at any other networking event.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah, I thought it was a really great experience and that’s why I go back because I just want to keep hearing what other people have to say.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah, last year when there was a trans person on your panel and that was fascinating.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah.

 

Maureen Jann: We talk about men and women but there’s also all of those that are in between and in their transitions and for everybody [crosstalk 00:41:01]

 

Frances Donegan: And she … When I build the panels, I definitely want to look for that diversity so obviously, some of it is race, racial and race, religion, representatives from the LGBTQ community. I also very particularly look for experience levels so we always want to have someone who’s a little bit more junior and then someone in the middle, someone at the top because the literal time me joining the workforce in 2005 versus someone who joined it in 1995 versus someone who joined it in 2015 is incredibly different and we go through different things. So I want that, we really want to have that shared.

 

I also really look for personality types because I’ve been to a lot of events where it’s all sort of type A, red, extroverted people, which I happen to be one of those people but I know that not everyone in the room is. If you look at that you’re like, well for me to be successful then, [crosstalk 00:42:05] I need to emulate that. Yeah.

 

Maddie Cary: Right.

 

Frances Donegan: So we try and also make sure we have people who would consider themselves more introverted, soft spoken, more the blue green is the colors that they associate with. We pay close attention to that and I think having Janet who was a trans woman on the panel, was incredibly powerful and she actually was really nervous to do it because … Well she had been asked to be on a panel I think it was maybe four months or six months before ours and she got a really negative welcome and reception. A lot of the responses to her well great, you got to a director level though, being a man and now you’re a woman so you don’t really know what our experience is.

 

Maddie Cary: Wow.

 

Frances Donegan: She felt, one, I think it was hurtful but then she felt really cautious and was like, “I don’t want to ruin this conversation that people are having or I don’t want to think that.” She just basically didn’t want to participate in things like that because she felt that she wasn’t included and that she had somehow cheated the system and so she was a little hesitant. Myself and Krissy Olsen who at the time worked at Point It who also knew her, sat down and chatted with her and tried to assuade her fears and she was phenomenal. I think one of the really important things that she shared was, when she showed up as a man still for work, because she knew she was a woman and I think was a woman privately just not publicly, she was like, “Well I’m super sensitive to what women go through and I know things like don’t walk to closely behind them in a parking lot, or make sure they get asked a question in a meeting, and that they have a seat at the table.”

 

All of these things that we talk about and she said when she was transgender publicly, and a woman publicly and professionally, she said within a year she was like, “I had no idea.” She was like, “The way people speak to me, the way people walk around me, the things that I get asked.” And she was like, “I thought I was so extremely understanding and sensitive to that.” And she was like, “I had no idea.” That, like I got chills when she said that [crosstalk 00:44:40]

 

Maureen Jann: That’s real.

 

Frances Donegan: Because it was so eye opening to me that it’s not just about having one conversation with my male boss or a male coworker, it has to be ongoing and all the time. We had another really great example from Janes in New York that we had a few weeks ago. Something we’re really big at talking about at Microsoft right now is being authentic and the culture at Microsoft shifting so that people can show up as their authentic selves and feel like they fit in with the company and they don’t have to reform themselves into a Microsoft [inaudible 00:45:14] when they walk out of their car and walk into the building. It’s been a really big thing that [inaudible 00:45:19] talks about and his leadership team.

 

So it’s kind of been something we all talk about within our team and we were at the Janes at digital and there was this African American woman, her name is Sparkle, she’s a VP at MERC on our panel, and I guess I brought it up in our prep call that it was something I would probably talk about or ask about because we’re talking about being bold, was a big part of our conversation. Being bold doesn’t have to be a verbal thing, it can just be showing up as your authentic self, things like that. I mentioned that comment and she said, “Yeah, Frances, you’ve just said that now and you said it before but I can’t do that. African American people can not do that. I can not walk into the doors my authentic self. There is a lot I have to leave in my car.”

 

Again, just being checked by someone who isn’t like me was a really important thing to happen to me and for the audience to see. That’s what we aim to do at Janes. Our Janes in June, it’s on June 12th at 7:30 in the evening, you could go to janesofdigital.org and that’s where you can register and see videos and see a video of Maddie, and kind of learn about our past events. We’re going to be talking about conversations that matter and particularly around race and people of color, both in our communities and in the industry right now and why it’s important to talk about that, and how to do it from a place of curiosity and interest. I’m super excited, super excited. Same location, if you’re in Seattle, it’s at the Olympic Art Park.

 

Maureen Jann: Oh, awesome.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah the glass building.

 

Maddie Cary: Sculpture.

 

Frances Donegan: The sculpture building, yeah. It’s so pretty.

 

Maureen Jann: It’s beautiful.

 

Maddie Cary: It is so pretty.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah.

 

Maureen Jann: The sunset was epic.

 

Frances Donegan: It was. I’m praying, I keep checking the weather for that day, knowing that it’s completely useless to be looking at weather a month in advance but I think we got to show off a very gorgeous side of Seattle to our out of town visitors.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah, it’s beautiful, people get married there, actually all the time. It’s really pretty.

 

Frances Donegan: Yes. I could talk about Janes for hours and hours but feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @francesdr, you can follow Janes on Twitter @janesatdigital and go to the website and so happy to hear people’s feedback. Tell me if you want to be a speaker, that’s how a lot of women have ended up on our panel, they’ve said, “I really want to do this.” Yeah, I mean we just want to grow it and grow it and clearly I’m super passionate about it. And I’m so thrilled that the industry has really welcomed it and responded well and continue to want to come to them.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah.

 

Maureen Jann: Yeah, absolutely. Well I think we’ll be there. At least some of us will be there from Point It so if you’re gonna be around, go, we’ll have a great time. The drinks are very tasty, the conversation is good.

 

Frances Donegan: It’s a free event as well just so people know.

 

Maureen Jann: Oh it is?

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah, it’s not something that I have any intention of making money out of. Yes, it’s a free event.

 

Maureen Jann: Very cool.

 

Tim Mohler: In that case, I’m there.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah, exactly. Tim’s coming.

 

Maureen Jann: I think it would be great if you went, too. We should go together.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah, it’s really fun.

 

Maureen Jann: Perfect. All right, well thanks again for coming in, we really appreciate having you here, both of you.

 

Frances Donegan: Yeah.

 

Maddie Cary: Yeah.

 

Maureen Jann: Thanks for popping by.

 

Maddie Cary: Of course.

 

Frances Donegan: Any time.

 

Maureen Jann: It’s just kind of a whirlwind of awesome that we’ve had in the last couple of days which is pretty exciting so we’ll see you in a few short weeks and it’ll be fun.

 

Frances Donegan: Yes.

 

Maureen Jann: And for all of you out there in podcast land, thanks for joining us, it’s always a delight to have you along. Any links we mentioned today will be in the show notes for your convenience. If you like the show and want to make sure it sticks around make sure to rate us on your favorite podcast platform. Follow point_it on Twitter to get the latest podcast content, live events, and more. Don’t forget about our tweet chat on Friday about marketing automation for small teams at #marketingnw. Thanks again for coming and for now, stay on point.

 

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