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Notable Quotables at Hero Conference 2015

Notable Quotables at Hero Conference 2015

Hero Conference Forthea Interactive MarketingI love Hero Conference and I’m quite sure anybody who knows me is sick of me talking about my yearly trek to the PPC-only conference put on by Hannapin Marketing. But the reasoning is simple; it offers the most experienced speakers within our industry and offers the most recent, relevant, and actionable takeaways.  To be honest, I find many conferences to be redundant so revisiting them is little more than finding an excuse to get out of the office, network, or just collect cool Acquisio t-shirts. How often do you need to be told to increase negative keywords or add call extensions? More than once, you’re probably in the wrong industry.

This year Hero Conference took place in Portland, Oregon and featured the standard trailblazers of the paid search/ PPC industry. Forthea was lucky enough to send four members of our team and even had one of our colleagues co-chair a panel with Matt Umbro of Hannapin Marketing. While there was more information than anyone knows what to do with, I’ll focus on my three favorite quotes from the 2015 Hero Conference to sum up my experience.


Unbounce is my chosen tool for landing page creation and testing and has been for years. Oli Gardner is not only a great industry mind, but seems like a guy you’d like to split a few scotches with and let hijinks ensue.  Now that I’ve said that, please know the quote above is not a hog-tied and gagged Oli Gardner in some type of “Misery” scenario. It actually stands for “Never Start a Campaign Without a Dedicated Landing Page” and it makes a lot of sense.

What does this mean? In short, the landing page needs to deliver what the searcher wants and what the ad copy promises.  At Forthea, we call it “respect the intent and meet the need,” but Oli’s twist is more fun and memorable, if even less pronounceable. In essence, what “NSACWADLP” translates to is creating a “lower attention ratio” to maximize conversion rate. To wit:

  • Create consistency between what an ad offers and what a landing page delivers
  • Don’t overwhelm a visitor with too many options / actions. Make it clear what you want them to do
  • Use contrast & design to enhance the visibility of your call-to-action
  • Tell a story chronologically and make the order clear

Take a look at Oli’s presentation in all its glory at


DonutsI remember either seeing this or hearing this somewhere, but I’m unable to track down the originator.  There’s a chance I may have dreamed it in a Voodoo Donuts sugar-fueled dream as well but that doesn’t make it any less relevant.

I have yet to go to any conference, speech, or daily meeting where the need for comprehensive testing isn’t called out as a necessity.  However, I can count on one hand the times when a testing methodology was put into place that looked heuristically at a campaign and tested based on a strict methodology designed to bring out actionable data.  One such instance I can recall challenged every pre-conceived notion a national brand had come to accept as gospel.  The result was the opposite of everything they held true and wound up adding $6MM a month to the bottom line once implemented. That’s real money. That’s also a real call to getting client buy-in at the value of such an exercise.

To summarize Chris Goward, CEO of Wider Funnel, “The “website redesign has to die and it needs to be replaced with constant testing and updating of the website. Think about it, when was the last time Amazon did a site redesign.”

Good enough for me.  I ordered his book You Should Test That! to dive deeper into conversion optimization.


A large portion of the speakers at Hero Conference focused on conversion rate optimization (CRO) as part of the latest and greatest search engine marketing strategies. Our co-worked Davis Baker took it to another level in discussing Behavioral Economics and this theory of psychological insights into human behavior to explain economic decision-making. He focused on four major components:

  • Social Proof
  • Scarcity
  • Anchoring
  • Framing

I don’t want to get to into behavioral economics because Davis has a much more in-depth look into what all this means coming up on this blog very soon. Just know that it’ll change your life.


In the end, my recap of Hero Conference 2015 is that is continues to hold as the #1 conference for PPC industry professionals as far as I’m concerned.

While I’m glad that Forthea gives each employee a education fund each year, I would pay my own money to keep attending.  The way I look at it, a company can pay up front to attend Hero Conference, OR pay later because their competition started running laps around them. I’m more comfortable being the former than the latter.

Jon Bowers
Jon has seen it all. He is a digital team lead at Forthea and has been part of the online marketing community since its emergence in the 1990s, but don’t worry, he’s vowed to never use phrases like think outside the box, ninja, rock star, or visionary entrepreneur.


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