Sand - 12:33 pm on Aug 3, 2012 (gmt 0)
I had a pair of dedicated AdWords reps for years, and we'd have bi-weekly calls to go over the campaigns. The reps were both extremely helpful and friendly, and I have no complaints about the overall service they provided (I just want to make sure it doesn't sound like I'm complaining).
When it came to optimizing an existing campaign, they were normally really spot on with their recommendations, and saved me a lot of money.
But on a few occasions, they offered to setup very large campaigns for me for 'free' (meaning they didn't charge me to setup the campaigns, but it's not like I was going to be paying for the campaigns to run with play money).
Now, I was in a kind of specialized niche, so I give them credit for trying, but my CPAs went up 400% - 500% with the initial campaigns they created. After a week or two of tweaking, I was able to get them back down to good levels. But hey, they saved me a ton of grunt work, and my initial efforts probably wouldn't have been a whole lot better.
So I will say this: the reps can save you a ton of time, but in the end, they're just like you and me. They're doing a lot of guessing (when you're starting a new campaign, anyway), and it takes time, data, and tweaking to get a campaign running efficiently.