• Ryan Bruss

    I just used your Adwords Grader and found it to be woefully inadequate at analyzing the performance of my Adwords account. Basing your gender bias conclusions on this tool seems suspect. I’m not arguing there isn’t a gender bias, but claiming you are doing some sort of scientific analysis where the score of your Adwords Grader is the key metric of performance is just wrong.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    Sadly, we’ve certainly seen this periodically as well. Moving clients to a male analyst leads the client’s satisfaction to improve in spite of the fact that performance of the account doesn’t change at all. Anecdotally, this seems to happen less frequently than it did 6 or 7 years ago, so hopefully the knuckle-draggers are moving out of the industry.

  • Larry Kim

    strongly disagree. The Grader evaluates accounts consistently and
    objectively and is far more reliable than subjectively chatting with
    either the rep or the account owner at how good the account was doing.
    And just a bit of math here: since we’re doing a *relative* comparison
    here, the common grading mechanism cancels itself out of the equation.

  • Larry Kim

    YES. we found cases where bias comes *before* the clients have even met the reps. Furthermore we segmented the data by level of experience and the bias still held (women were rated lower regardless of experience level). This data convinces me that it can’t be so easily
    dismissed as merely a client management issue.

  • Sam Owen

    It kind of sucks that this data (which probably needs further study) says, from a purely economic point of view, “hire male client reps”. There are obviously still societal/business world biases we need to remove that hinder women in digital marketing, even when they are doing better work.

  • Ryan Bruss

    Ah, yes. This is a much better way to test gender bias. I imagine there are many instances where clients changed client managers. Looking at the before and after scores of client satisfaction compared to changes that happened within the account is what you want to do. While the grader is indeed objective, it is still a model. Based on my experience, I don’t believe that it is a model that accurately assess what I consider to be good performance. In this case Grader scores are somewhat independent of what your clients consider to be good performance.

    Again, for the record, I’m fairly convinced there is a gender bias.

  • Ryan Bruss

    I wrote some other comments below. The common grading mechanism doesn’t “cancel out.” It is certainly possible that the Grader overvalues certain account initiatives. It is also possible that those initiatives are ones that Female account managers execute on. I’m not saying this is true, but it is a variable that doesn’t “cancel out.”

    How well does the Grader score predict actual client satisfaction? In my case, not at all.

  • Larry Kim

    Ryan, It might help to read the full study here: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/05/13/gender-bias
    we found that when you look at hundreds of accounts, there was indeed a correlation between grader scores and customer satisfaction. Hope that clarifies.

  • Larry Kim

    OK fine, perhaps not in your case. but we found that when looking at hundreds of accounts, there was a general correlation between grader score and customer satisfaction, which was sort of a fundamental underpinning of the study. Since it’s not really articulated in this write up, I’d encourage people to read the full article here: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/05/13/gender-bias

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    Sam, our view has been to reward excellent work regardless of how well that work is perceived by clients. Obviously client satisfaction is key, but we’ve found retaining great staff is far more important in the long run than retaining bad clients. Our staff is pretty equally balanced between men and women, currently with a few more women than men in supervisory leadership roles. We’ve created a selection bias towards clients who get it and value results rather than deep voices :-)

  • Sam Owen

    That’s a great way to look at it George, hopefully other agencies can be as enlightened!

  • Ginny Marvin

    I’d argue that the data doesn’t support a case for hiring male reps, rather, it shows clients aren’t recognizing the economic impact (benefits) of their female reps.

    Along with the client selection bias George mentions (signing on clients who already “get it”), the study and anecdotes point to an opportunity to change mindsets. Like pointing out to the client that they just signed off on a recommendation that was first brought up by a female rep only after they heard it from a guy.

    Yes, there are some people who will never change, but I believe there are many, many more who don’t even realize they have a bias, both men and women. Studies like this and the conversations that come from them can hopefully help clients and agencies alike address issues of gender bias in a head on way that helps good work get recognized, rewarded and shared.

  • Sam Owen

    If your key goal is keeping clients happy it supports it. If your key goal is doing great work for clients, it certainly does not. However, you’re exactly right, what it actually shows is that there needs to be a proactive push to make sure female account reps get the credit they deserve with their clients, hopefully with increased support from their agency.

  • http://suebrady5.wordpress.com/ Sue Brady

    Makes me wonder if this bias is influenced by the overarching lack of women in technology in general; that somehow that has created a bias to the more technical field of PPC buying. Who knows, but it’s certainly disheartening.

  • http://kingged.com/ Metz

    I can sense that there is a gender bias. I wasn’t astonished to read the revealing details and facts about this issue. It’s just frustrating to know that male and female were treated unfairly. So I am with you, hope that this would help move the conversation forward.I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the Internet marketing social site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

  • julia_disqus

    Customer satisfaction is not measured just by performance and rep confidence (in fact, overconfidence has quite the opposite feel). It’s not only what service delivered but HOW it’s delivered. The study should’ve included categories or asked for reasons in grading. Grading 1-4 also doesn’t offer good granularity. While 4 and 1 are clear, you may hesitate between 3 and 2, if somebody did an ok job but was very nice, or somebody gave you quite a bit of stress, with the same or better results.

    One interesting result is that female customers were the ones the least satisfied with female reps. The results can be interpreted the other way around – a bias towards female customers by female reps. Customer-representative relationship and bias are a 2-way street. How biased are reps towards their female customers? How biased are they towards themselves? Is it more pronounced for female reps? It would be worth looking into service delivered by customers’s gender, rather then averages. I often find it very hard dealing with customer service in the digital world, being patronized and such, because of being profiled as non-technical. Female clients might be perceived by default as strangers to the digital world, hence not taken seriously. It magically changes when I tell that I’m a technical person. Another thing, if I express dissatisfaction, I’m far more likely to get an apology from a male customer representative then from a female one. It almost feels like some female professionals get stuck in the latest trend of gender self-stereotyping – women should never apologize. It can make quite a difference in perception especially in the middle quantile, when people make the same amount of mistakes, but show different attitude towards customers.

  • Lotto Results

    so full of crap. Every single company i’ve been to – woman have been by far the most dominant gender. even when it comes to top jobs

  • http://www.e-wali.com/ Ahmad Wali

    Not gender biased, I have noticed in my career that girls in Digital Marketing are short tempered. Clients prefer to work with guys because they think girls are less analytical. I am not gender biased, but sharing my experience from digital world. I have also seen many female digital marketers having higher salary than male digital marketers.

    There is a perception and sometimes true! I had number of bad experiences with female digital marketers. The recent one was with one of the famous Media company as I had partnership with them. CEO (Founder) was very polite, but when he hand over my account to his female digital manager, I noticed she often loose temper on smallest things (or maybe her style of communication).

    I know many people would be after me reading all this, but its my experience.

  • http://www.e-wali.com/ Ahmad Wali

    And probably you promoted Kingged knowingly or unknowingly that looks spammy to me :-/…