John Gagnon

John Gagnon Says Arizona State Basketball Fans Are Better At Strategy Than You

Find success by taking a different approach with your marketing campaigns

John Gagnon
John Gagnon makes a pointed remark.

It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. This holds truer at no time more than it does when fans at basketball games attempt to distract players on the opposing team while they shoot free throws; many players have learned to tune the fans and the distraction out.

However, Arizona State fans have taken a different approach with their free-throw distraction, called the “Curtain of Distraction”. Each time a player on the opposing team attempts to shoot a free throw, something different pops out from behind the curtain.



The alternative approach has proven successful; they’ve been able to affect free throws by, on average, 2 points per game.

In John Gagnon’s presentation, “How to Win With the Unexpected”, he encouraged State of Search attendees to be like Arizona State and try new strategies, or take different approaches to their current strategies to find success.

Glean insights via cross-marketing and partnerships

Bing Ads just introduced Remarketing and conversion tracking via their universal Event Tracking tag, and Gagnon encouraged all attendees to install the pixel. From there, he encouraged businesses to step out of their silo and develop partnerships.

For instance, Bing fostered a partnership with the upcoming Dallas Marathon. Bing put a conversion pixel on the marathon’s site, and from there, gleaned insights about the runners of the marathon and used to market to that site’s audience.

Gagnon also said there’s lots of data in plain sight that you can use to optimize your own campaigns. Bing helped Chegg, a textbook rental company, use sales and search data from public schools and universities to optimize their campaigns. By using this data to optimize their campaigns around school openings and sales cycles, and modifying their bids around that, Chegg was able to reduce their cost by 30%.

It’s not about being number 1; it’s about determining WHERE and WHEN you want to be #1.

Bing wants to help

Bing wants to help you approaching your marketing strategies differently by adding new tools and features that will help you do so. In addition to their Universal Event Tracking, Bing Ads has introduced 2 features; Demographic insights search campaigns as well as deeper insights in change history reports. By adding the ability to take the focus away from bids and bid changes, users can now have real discussions on testing and changing, and drive marketing strategy better.

John’s ending advice:

Explore. Try new strategies. From there, you’ll have success. Just like Arizona State.