Interview with Pat East of Hanapin Marketing

To get you ready for Hero Conf we interviewed Pat East, the President and CEO of Hanapin Marketing.  Pat tells us a bit about the start of Hero Conf and what to expect when you go.  If you haven’t signed up for Hero Conf 2012 yet take a look at the event details or register today and use “msemahero” to save 10%.

MnSearch: Tell us a bit about yourself, your name and what you do for a living.

Pat East, President and CEO of Hanapin MarketingPat: My name is Pat East. I’m the President and CEO of Hanapin Marketing, which I founded in 2004. Hanapin focuses solely on paid search, and we publish PPC Hero, which is one of the top blogs for PPC. I’m an angel investor and serial entrepreneur, recently founding Tingian Ventures, which has launched a beta product to create landing pages without HTML.

MnSearch: What was the inspiration behind creating Hero Conf?

Pat: I noticed that there was a gap in the market for a paid search conference, both in terms of content and cost, and felt that it was a problem that needed to be addressed. There are several Search Marketing conferences out there, but currently none are running that concentrate solely on PPC. We’d love to build a strong group of advocates for paid search, who want to network and create community. We envision Hero Conf in 2-3 years to become one of the premier search conferences, known for its paid search content and networking potential.

MnSearch: How will Hero Conf be different than the many other conferences? If I can only go to one conference this year why should it be Hero Conf?

Pat: Hero Conf is unique in that it is the sole conference focused only on PPC. If you are a paid search specialist, this is the only conference that will let you dive completely into paid search topics without worrying about non-PPC topics in other tracks. Hero Conf has a low speaker to attendee ratio, which will allow you to interact with the top experts in PPC and ask questions specific to your accounts. Additionally, Hero Conf is hosted in Indianapolis, IN. It’s a central location, safe, and inexpensive compared to cities like New York and Chicago where many Search Marketing conferences are held. Plus, Hero Conf is the only conference that the PPC Hero team will be at, so if you enjoy our PPC Hero blog, this is your chance to meet the team and learn their strategies! If you are searching for a low cost conference with a jam-packed agenda filled with exclusive PPC content presented and attended by the industry’s top specialists, then Hero Conf is the conference you should attend this year.

MnSearch: Can you give us some insights into the different sessions and tracks? What are some of the high level topics and what will be covered?

Pat: Hero Conf consists of two days – Day 1 will be a traditional conference format with speakers and sessions, and Day 2 will be a hands-on workshop allowing up to 20 attendees to work on their accounts with Hanapin/PPC Hero team members.

The first day will include a blend of single speakers and panels. There will be four breakout sessions with three different options each. The panels include Advanced Mobile Marketing, Retargeting, Account Structure, and a “round robin” panel where speakers will cover a variety of topics from social PPC to frustrations and opportunities in the life of a PPC account manager. The Advanced Mobile Marketing panel will discuss mobile for lead gen and branding, best practices, the latest trends, and present a mobile case study. Retargeting will cover everything from product specific remarketing to effective banner ad design. The Account Structure panel will look at the different levels of accounts from the campaign level to the keyword level, and offer solutions for optimizing your account through its’ structure.

Additional high-level topics include the future of PPC, quality score, ecommerce PPC, Analytics, conversion tracking, ad copy, running great campaigns on a small budget, Tips for managing a medium or large budget account, conversion rate optimization, and even a landing page clinic!

The second day of the conference is a workshop where you can sit down and talk one-on-one with the PPC Hero team members about your account. You can come prepared with questions, dilemmas, or just ready to learn some suggestions for improving your accounts. Some topics that will likely be covered include ad writing/ testing, keywords, bidding/budget strategies, and more.

MnSearch: What should attendees expect for networking opportunities with the speakers and other attendees?

Pat: We are hosting two networking events during Hero Conf. The first one is a pre-conference event at 7:30 pm on Sunday, April 15, the evening before the conference begins. The second will be at 7:30 pm on Monday, April 16, in the evening on Day 1. During the afternoon of the first day, there will be a networking break where you can meet with presenters and attendees. We are also hosting a “roundtable lunch” with the speakers where you can discuss their favorite PPC topics with speakers and other attendees. As previously mentioned, Hero Conf has a low speaker to attendee ratio, which means you will have easy access to speakers during meals, breaks, and events for networking opportunities.

MnSearch: Are there any original sessions or topics that we’ve not seen at any other conference before?

Pat: All of the speakers at Hero Conf will be giving new presentations and talking about unique material. We have specifically requested that there be no recycled presentations, and the speakers are going to present their latest findings in each area. For example, one of our speakers, Marc Poirier, CMO and Co-Founder of Acquisio, will be presenting the findings on a new remarketing case study that he has worked on over the past few months. Little has been shared about the Display Network in terms of actual numbers, and this case study will demonstrate the results of an actual campaign. Our mobile marketing session is also a hot topic that will include never-been-shared results from a case study and recent mobile trends that have been tracked through software.

MnSearch: Beyond AdWords, what is Hero Conf going to offer to search marketers whom look for opportunities at 2nd tier ad platforms?

Pat: Hero Conf includes an afternoon panel that will present on Social PPC and how to be successful when doing paid search through platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. In our panel on Retargeting we specifically decided to open up the discussion beyond AdWords to Bing and other platforms. Our speakers are aware of the opportunities in Bing and other platforms beyond Google, and will include relevant information in their specific topic presentations.

MnSearch: Any tips for attendees coming to Indianapolis for the first time?

Pat: Indianapolis is known as a crossroads of culture, sports, and the arts. It is the racing capital of the world – you can visit where the Indianapolis 500 and MotoGP are run each year. Visit Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, to see where the 2012 Super Bowl was held. Indianapolis offers visitors over 25 museums including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and the NCAA Hall of Champions. The city contains impressive architecture, from the dramatic Monument Circle to the relaxing and iconic Central Canal. For entertainment, the city is the home to over 200 restaurants, eight stage theaters, and a zoo with the only dolphinarium in the Midwest. To learn more about what Indianapolis can offer you during your visit, I’d recommend checking out

MnSearch: Thanks Pat! We look froward to seeing you at Hero Conf.


Don’t for get to use the discount coupon code: “msemahero” to save 10%. You will enter this code during the checkout process when ordering.


Thinking of attending? Let us know in the comments below so that other Minnesota search marketers know who to connect with at the Hero Conf.


Dustin Thompson is the Sponsorship Director for MnSearch and Founder of Konnected Interactive. You can find me on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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