Why we’ve only done full-stack paid search + social… until now
I was sitting in a room with my two co-founders, Karim and Mary, in November of 2019. We were talking about what sort of services we would provide, and what sort of software we would build in the coming months and years as Pearmill blossomed from a small side project into a growing company.
Our backgrounds gave leeway to quite a number of different areas! We had experience with all types of growth and product management at the time: paid search, paid social, TV, radio ads, out-of-home ads, and an array of random channels and experiments.
A few months before, I had run an experiment – hiring about 100 students to go into the NYC subway to send flyers to strangers on the subway using Apple’s AirDrop feature to acquire users for an app. It felt like the possibilities were endless, and if we put our minds together and worked hard, we could help grow companies in all sorts of ways!
Three years later, we’ve been fortunate enough to have helped iconic companies like AutoDesk, Ramp, K Health, Mindbloom, Sonder, Recess, Webflow, Ophelia, Vivian Health, and many other incredible startups achieve scale.
Ultimately, we decided to focus on exclusively excelling at digital advertising on paid search and paid social channels to start. Here’s why:
Mastery requires focus
One truth was already clear from that afternoon in 2019: we have to be great at what we do, and provide a consistent experience to all our clients (big or small!).
There’s a reason why every startup’s most important task is to reach initial product/market fit – it’s the only thing that matters!
For us, this meant that in order to maintain a steady quality of work, we needed to focus our efforts on building repeatable processes across a small number of channels. This experience would allow us to build the expertise needed to be trusted with large budgets to help companies scale.
Today, we run monthly experiment sprints that function as the underlying process for deploying millions of advertising dollars for our clients. We recently released an episode of our podcast discussing how we run our growth process.
Paid search and social enabled scale and precision
By picking these channels, we were making a few different bets about where the advertising market was going. It also inherently meant that we had to bring on team members that believed in that future.
We were making three bets:
- Most paid search and social platforms would be shifting their targeting toward machine learning and removing explicit targeting optionality from advertisers.
- Creative and data would become the most important levers for both paid search and paid social.
- We needed to work “full stack” to master the craft: from ad creative impressions to conversion.
This meant that we needed to bring marketers together with data scientists, creative directors, conversion rate specialists, and engineers to build a strong learning process for us to help acquire customers for our clients.
I’m often in awe of the expertise and capabilities of our team. We now spend millions of dollars every month for our clients across Google, Meta, TikTok, Snap, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Amazon, Reddit, and Bing.
One of the main limitations of our initial approach, beyond being limited to paid search and social, was that we only worked with companies if they needed all of our help – growth marketing, creative production, conversion rate optimization, and attribution modeling.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be opening up Pearmill’s doors to work with companies as separate teams to help them grow. If you need help with any part of the paid marketing stack, we’ll be able to lend a hand.
Our ability to do this is the culmination of years of learnings, trust, and effort dedicated to fine-tuning our processes to help companies scale.