Yesterday the Patriots lost to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship. Despite the loss, the Patriots dominance over the last decade can’t be denied.

*Image Credit to http://waldersworldofsports.com/

We have a couple of hardcore sports fans at CPC Strategy which lead to us to ponder an interesting question – how would Brady and Belichick manage PLAs?

There are 3 lessons to learn from the Patriots when managing your PLA account:

  • Never Fall In Love With One Strategy
  • Spy On Your Competition
  • Adapt or Die

 

Never Fall In Love with One Strategy

The Patriots build their game plan around their best weapons. With Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, they heavily featured their tight ends in the passing game which created all kinds of matchup problems for the defense.  With Randy Moss, they had the best deep passing game in the league. In this year’s playoff matchup against the Colts, Tom Brady took a back seat to the Patriot running backs who had 6 rushing touchdowns.

This is the type of flexibility you need to have with your PLA campaigns. You need to figure out which products are your best weapons against your competition. Do you have particular brands that you should be bidding up on? Do you have some superstar products that should be getting more exposure?

In one of our recent whitepapers we pointed out the flaws with a PLA campaign that relies exclusively on product level bidding. SKU level bidding is like the hurry up offense, it should be part of your PLA game plan but it shouldn’t be your only approach to growing your PLA sales volume.

Spy On Your Competition

In 2007 the Patriots were caught spying on their competition. Bill Belichick was fined $500k and the Patriots lost their 2008 first round draft pick. Unlike the NFL where spying is frowned upon, you can spy all you want in eCommerce!

Tools like Spyfu and Ispionage allow you to gain insight into how much your competitors are spending on paid search. Also for more advanced PLA competitive insights, check out AdGoroo.  While these tools are not 100% accurate, they give you competitive intelligence that can help you to outsmart your competition.

Google is even allowing you to see your competitors average bid (in aggregate only) in the new Google Shopping Campaign type. #GoogleSactionedEspionage

Adapt or Die

In 2012 Belichick made an off-season trip to Oregon to learn more about the innovative offense designed by Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. As an NFL coach with 3 Super Bowl rings, Belichick was still hungry to remain cutting edge and learn from a college coach. He understands that NFL fans (and owners) have short memories and he obviously views complacency as an enemy to the Patriots success.

This is the exact same way you should approach your PLA campaigns. What worked for you 6 months ago may no longer work today. The biggest change that you need to be aware of on PLAs is the brand new campaign structure which Google has branded as – Google Shopping Campaigns.

Last week our Director of Account Management hosted a webinar to help keep our audience up to date on this new PLA structure. The webinar had almost 500 registrants who learned what this new PLA structure means for their business.

There are no Super Bowl rings in eCommerce. Battles are won over the long haul by consistently out executing your competitors. Good luck in 2014 and hopefully you have what it takes to get your team to the next level.

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About the AuthorRick is the CEO of CPC Strategy. He started working with online retailers at PriceGrabber and co-founded CPC Strategy in January of 2007. Today CPC Strategy manages the comparison shopping campaigns for over 100 retailers. See all posts by this author here.

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