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2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business: Part 1

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2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business: Part 1

2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business

As I considered the topic that would best serve entrepreneurs, business owners, and marketers alike — all of whom I am — I mused over what I needed most throughout the last year. 

I needed to take back control of my business. 

And I am charging you to do the same. 

While I have provided two strategic ways to do so, the first outlined below and the second outlined in this blog post, it is critical that we first identify the root issue. 

Why are you and I not operating in the driver’s seat of our marketing and/or businesses? 

Three fundamental core challenges come in the form of 3 Cs: Competition, Colleagues, and Customers.

Who Are You Listening To?

1. Competition

We know the feeling all too well.

We feel a pit in our stomach or a slight racing of the heart when our competitors’ ads or organic content seem to be taking over social media and the internet: Google Ads, YouTube, TikTok, newsletters, LinkedIn, programmatic…

And don’t forget traditional advertising.

Especially if you are in the home services or specialty services spaces where direct mail is 100% where you need to be, but don’t forget the QR code and UTMs and unique landing pages and geotargeted ads and email nurturing sequence for a holistic approach. 

Our competition’s budget appears never-ending, and their marketing team must be fantastic. 

Is theirs the strategy we should adopt, deviating from our carefully charted course agreed upon at the outset of the year?

2. Colleagues

Or perhaps it’s that of the peers in our Masterminds or networking groups or online communities. 

After all, within these groups resides a wealth of knowledge and expertise, tried-and-true insights, and wins. I am guilty as charged — my talk at T&C 2024 was chock-full of recommendations guiding marketers on their path to generating over 800% ROAS…
Should our marketing strategy or business’s bottom line deviate then?

3. Customers

Oh! But the power of our customers…when their phone call just after 5:00 PM because they saw their competitor’s ad and want to change course. 

Or when our customers’ higher-ups ask why you didn’t generate enough leads last month and how the bottom line is threatened if we don’t do something fast.

And how they joke about your job being on the line if numbers don’t change.

Do any of these resonate? 

If you are a human with a soul that cares about your business, team, and customers, I anticipate your hand is raised alongside mine. 

Friends, it is time we unbuckle the seatbelt of the 3 Cs and graciously escort them out. 

It’s time for you to regain control.

How to Regain Control of Your Business: Knowing What You Want

I cannot tell you how many times my question, “What do you want?” is met with blank stares. 

Such a simple question with such significant ramifications. 

To assume control, we must know what we want for the following three reasons.

1) Knowing what you want keeps you focused on the bottom line.

So many of us fail to regularly take stock of where we are actually going. 

Our heads are down, focused on tasks before us, rather than heads up, looking to the finish line yet equally aware of how our strategies today are or are not moving us closer to that target. 

With our heads down, the focus is on the key performance indicators (KPIs) of the necessary activations to achieve the bottom-line goal rather than the focus being on the goal itself. 

The trick is maintaining clarity of the goal and bottom line to then inform the strategic direction.


EXAMPLE: The Knowing Agency serves as fractional CMO for a waterproofing company. A major — colossal, even — KPI is lead generation. 

This KPI is obviously important because you need leads to get customers.

However, in 2023, our lead count was down significantly. 

With the 3 Cs close at hand, I questioned myself: Am I leading the team in the wrong direction!? 

We must be willing to ask tough questions and pursue the truth, even if it may prove that we are heading in the wrong direction — especially then! 

For we must first know the truth to then be changed by it. 

But I had to zoom out in order to know. 

With the bottom line as the primary focus, I then considered the KPI. 

When we zoomed out and measured that KPI in light of the bottom line, revenue, rather than as a standalone metric, we actually saw a significant increase in overall revenue and profits despite a lower lead count.

This means that while we were driving fewer leads, they were much more qualified, hence driving higher revenue.


My question for you is: Do you know what you want? 

And do you know your bottom line goal and the KPIs necessary to get there?

2) Knowing what you want protects you from the 3 Cs. 

The bottom-line goals of your company or department serve as guardrails to keep you on the straight and narrow when one of the 3 Cs comes calling. 

Protection from Competitors: Their bottom line could very well be entirely different from yours. Perhaps you seek to expand into a new region and must allocate funds by cutting budgets on top-of-funnel brand awareness tactics. Yet your competitor is dominating TV. Don’t deviate; your bottom line is at stake. 

Protection from Colleagues: Perhaps your bottom line is similar, but your target audiences are different. They are finding wild success with newsletters reaching an older demo while your audience is highly engaged with podcasts. Yes, perhaps explore newsletters, but not at the expense of your engaged audience on your podcast. 

Protection from Customers: Hopefully, you both have the same bottom line! However, when my client called with concerns about the KPI of lead numbers, which is indeed important, my ability to maintain focus on the bottom line guided their right thinking about what matters most: Revenue. 

Protection from the 3 Cs does not mean turning a blind eye or ignoring what is working for them. But it does keep your bottom line as the chief focus.

3) Knowing what you want protects you from running on auto-pilot.

Knowing what you want maintains momentum and breathes energy into tasks that otherwise would be monotonous.

Lead yourself or your team in revisiting the vision for the company regularly.

Nine-to-five employees increasingly seek to align with impact-driven organizations, and keeping the transformation the company aims to procure top-of-mind will drive motivation.

The transformation is always emotional, even surrounding a product or service.


EXAMPLE: Returning to the waterproofing company our team supported. Waterproofing a basement transforms the customers’ emotional states from one of anxiety or worry into one of peace or assurance. 

What once was: We are a waterproofing company servicing homeowners in Destin, Florida, for 54 years. Trust our team to waterproof your basement! 

Turns into: Our company cares for your family. Our company preserves homeowners’ greatest investment. Our company, ultimately, protects your home, which is where life happens. 

Suddenly, a waterproofing company has empathy.

Just like that, we are serving families and homes, not just servicing a basement.


But before you can truly know what you want, you first have to know who you are.

Head on over to Part 2! (Coming soon…)


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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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