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6 Short-Form Video Trends Marketers Should Watch in 2022 [New Data]

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In the HubSpot Blog’s 2022 Marketing Industry Trends Survey, we found that more than half of marketers (51%) who use short-form video plan to increase their investment in 2022. Meanwhile, 38% plan to continue investing the same amount.

What’s more? Short-form video has the highest ROI of any social media marketing strategy as 30% of social media marketers plan to invest in it more than any other trend in 2022.

So, how can you join in on the short-form video action to grow your business? And what are some trends to look for in the next year? Learn what HubSpot marketing experts advise, below.

Brandon Sanders, former digital marketer for HubSpot Academy, highlights that what’s considered short-form can also depend on the platform.

“With the rise of platforms like TikTok, Reels, and Vine, short-form video is actually getting shorter and lending itself more to 60-second to two-minute videos,” he said.

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“I think the perception of short-form content on platforms like YouTube is actually around that 10-minute sweet spot because content on YouTube tends to be more comprehensive and longer.”

So, when you’re thinking of short-form videos, Youtube is the exception, whereas TikTok and other growing short-form platforms are the rule.

A 2020 study by Wyzowl reported that people share videos at twice the rate than any other form of content. It also found that 84% of people were convinced to buy a product or service based on the brand’s video.

So, we already know video content is increasingly becoming an important part of every brand’s content marketing strategy.

But when we look at short-form video specifically, the data (gathered from the HubSpot Blog’s 2021 social media trends report and 2022 video marketing report) speak for themselves.

  • Short-form ranks #1 for lead generation and engagement.
  • Marketers will invest in short-form video more in 2022 than any other content format.
  • Nearly half (47%) of marketers surveyed believe short-form videos are most likely to go viral.
  • 54% of marketers surveyed say their companies leverage short-form videos.

Sanders says short-form videos give creators an innovative way to showcase their content.

“The growth of social media is causing the human attention span to become shorter and shorter,” he said. “So, leveraging the power of short-form content will give you a leg up on your competition and help engage your audience.”

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Aside from length, one thing that sets short-form video apart is the trend culture.

TikTok, for instance, is run by dances, sounds, and social challenges. So, to get on the “For You” page on TikTok — which is equal to the “Explore” page on Instagram — brands must often join in on the fun.

video marketing statistics: 63% of marketers say trendy content gets the most video engagementImage Source

As with any new trend or platform, former HubSpot Senior Content Strategist Amanda Zantal-Wiener says you should always consider your audience first.

“It all goes back to a very old question: Which channels are your audiences using and for what?” she said. “And therefore, for which channels does it make the most sense for your business to create this short-form content?”

This means that while short-form video is often known for its entertainment value, you can adapt it to align with your brand.

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Short-Form Video Trends to Look Out For

1. Brand Challenges

When short-form videos first gained popularity, it was through viral content based on dances, songs, and sounds.

Today, brands can make their own sounds, filters, and challenges go viral.

According to our social media trends report, 20% of marketers surveyed leveraged branded challenges and 42% said they performed better than expected.

In addition, marketers rank them among the most effective social media trends of 2021.

Short-Form Video Example: Colgate

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Colgate launched the #MakeMomSmile challenge, which encourages users all around the world to share videos in which they did something special for their mothers.

tiktok brand challenge

It’s also a great play on words, as Colgate is all about providing beautiful smiles to its customers.

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2. Influencer Ads

Brands have been leveraging influencer marketing for years, that’s nothing new.

However, we’re seeing more brands use them in short-form video content.

HubSpot Blog Research found that 66% of marketers’ companies work with influencers on TikTok. They also rank it #5 in ROI when working with influencers.

For instance, popular TikTok influencer TiffFoods was recently in an ad for food brand Fly by Jing to promote its latest product.

Short-Form Video Example: Fly by Jing

1658158162 840 6 Short Form Video Trends Marketers Should Watch in 2022 New

With short-form content lending itself well to native advertising, brands can create videos that are more likely to generate conversions.

3. Product Teasers

Think about the average commercial you see: It’s usually anywhere between six seconds to 60 seconds. This also happens to be the average length of a short-form video.

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Because of this, brands can leverage short-form video platforms to promote their products organically.

It can be incredibly effective because it doesn’t require a large budget, it has the potential to go viral, and it builds anticipation around your brand.

Short-Form Video Example: KaseMe Design

To build anticipation for its newest product launch, KaseMe Design posts a video using a popular TikTok sound and a cleverly deceptive low-battery sign.

It creates suspense by getting users to be even more invested in the launch as they wonder what the reveal is.

4. More User-Generated Content (UGC)

Consumers generally love UGC. In fact, it influences their purchasing decisions more than brand- or influencer-generated content.

According to HubSpot Blog research, UGC also offers great ROI, with 40% of marketers surveyed ranking it a high-ROI format on social media.

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Our research also suggests it’s popular with Gen-Z, which is the biggest demographic on TikTok.

Why is UGC a winning strategy? Well, without using up too many resources, brands can publish videos that evoke emotion. It’s also budget-friendly.

Short-Form Video Example: Chipotle

This is a great example of how you can leverage user-generated content in your strategy. In this instance, Chipotle collaborated with these content producers to create a fun, viral-worthy video.

One of Chipotle’s target audiences might be young, college students looking for inexpensive meals. This video features two creators who reflect the audience they may want to attract. Brands should keep this in mind when considering UGC and ask, “will my audience relate to this?” If the answer’s “yes,” move forward.

5. More Behind-the-Brand Videos

Consumers seek out authenticity and transparency in brands. With short-form video, you only have a few seconds to connect with your audience.

So, how do you do that? Well, there’s no exact science to it, but consumers tend to feel more connected to brands that show the people behind the brand.

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In one Sprout Social study, 70% of consumers said they felt more connected to brands whose CEO is active on social media platforms.

So, going into 2022, brands should pull back the curtain and engage with their audiences on a more personal level.

Our social media trends report revealed that 36% of marketers surveyed currently leverage the authentic, behind-the-scenes content that’s so popular on short-form video platforms like TikTok.

Those who do use it rank it third in ROI, with 68% of marketers saying it’s the most effective content behind funny and interactive content.

Short-Form Video Example: Sierra Nicole

Trendy? Check. Informative? Check. Prompts action? Check! This video works because it has all the ingredients for an effective short-form video.

It first grabs the viewer’s attention by including a popular song and dance. The content addresses pain points viewers may be facing. Then, the call-to-action (CTA) in the caption rounds out the video by turning viewers into potential leads.

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6. More Explainer or Educational Videos

In 2022, brands will likely focus on educational content in their short-form videos – think how-to’s, DIYs, and explainer videos.

A 2020 Wyzowl report found that viewers want to see more of this video style from brands.

Wondering where we currently stand? 32% of marketers surveyed in our social media trends report say they currently leverage educational content and 57% of those who do say it’s one of the most effective content types.

Educational videos are great added-value content because they help audiences in their day-to-day lives. Brands that make education a priority in their marketing strategy can improve lead generation and build stronger brand loyalty.

Similarly, explainer videos target users who are at the decision-making stage of the buyer’s journey and, if done right, they can turn decision-makers into customers.

It’s a win-win situation: Brands get to address their audience’s pain points and offer solutions, which is (surprise!) them. Not sure what I mean? See the example below.

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Short-Form Video Example: Soy Yo Candle

Soy Yo Candle used this formula to create this short-form video. Presumably, one of the biggest struggles of owning candles is making them last.

In just a few seconds, the brand presented a problem, offered a solution, and promoted its product. It can be as simple as that.

Another highlight in this video is that it caters to viewers who may be discovering the brand and those who already know it. Because of the value it offers, the brand can reach a broader audience organically.

Takeaways for Video Marketers

Social Media Content Manager Kelsi Yamada says it’s a low-commitment and engaging way to connect with your audience.

“You can get a good laugh or learn something new in a minute or less on TikTok or Reels,” said Yamada.

“On the flip side, it’s also relatively easy to create, which means there are more people who can share their humor or points of view. Because of this, brands should figure out what their unique point of view is, and how they can stand out in the noise.”

The desire to be on-trend is always tempting. But Yamada stresses that brands should be selective about which trends they partake in.

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“Not every viral TikTok sound or meme format will align with your content strategy or brand, so don’t force it,” she said.

“Focus on catering to your niche and staying authentic first. Don’t be afraid to make something completely from scratch – trends have to start somewhere!”

With this in mind, it’s all about finding the balance between what’s trending and what’s on-brand for your business.

1. TikTok

With at least 47% of its users between 10 and 29 years old, TikTok is definitely the platform for the Millennial and Gen Z population.

TikTok video short form video example

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The TikTok homepage features a timeline of videos separated into two tabs. The “Following” tab with videos posted by the user’s followers, and the algorithm-driven “For You” page based on user behavior (what they like, comment on, scroll past, etc.)

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TikTok Discover tab

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The “Discover” tab on TikTok highlights trending topics and hashtags, a great resource for marketers to generate new content ideas.

B2B marketers have been wary of using the platform, but it could be because success on the platform relies on emotional appeal. Yet, that emotional appeal may be exactly what they need.

According to a LinkedIn study, B2B strategies that appeal to emotions are seven times more effective for revenue generation than “rational messaging.”

Still not quite convinced TikTok is a viable marketing platform for your business? Check out this video explanation of how TikTok has grown into one of the most go-to platforms for short-form content today.

Now, it may be time to start practicing those dance moves.

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2. Reels

Some call it TikTok 2.0, but Instagram Reels is proving to be its own beast.

Instagram Reel short form video

The Reels tab on Instagram is a scrollable video timeline, similar to what users see on their Explore page. From this page, users can click on the music the account used to see what other Reels feature that sound.

With over 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram already had consumers’ attention. When they launched Reels back in August of 2020, it became another marketing tool for brands and a worthy opponent for TikTok.

Instagram caters to a broader age demographic than TikTok. And when considering their other marketing features, Reels is another way for brands to expand their reach in a minute or less.

3. YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts is Youtube’s latest attempt to turn its long-form video platform into one that also houses short-form content.

YouTube first started testing it in September 2020 and it is now available to users globally.

youtube shorts

When using YouTube’s mobile app, you’ll see that Shorts now have their dedicated tab on the platform. Users can create Shorts up to 60 seconds and, similarly to other short-form video platforms, can edit the videos directly within the app.

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4. Triller

Triller is Tiktok’s musical theater friend (or rival), the one who bursts into song anytime, anywhere without cause or notice.

Triller Discovery Page

Triller’s homepage looks similar to other short-form video platforms. However, They have made music a prominent feature on the app by making top and trending music the main tab.

The platform is popular among musical artists and allows users to edit 60-second videos within the app. This includes music, filters, effects, and transitions. Triller grew in popularity earlier this year when there was some uncertainty surrounding a TikTok ban in the United States.

With music playing a key role on the app, marketers should use music as a storytelling element in their videos. For instance, the song “You Got It” by Vedo, a song about unlocking your potential, made its rounds on Triller last year.

A recruiting firm could’ve used that sound to create a short video targeting job seekers. The song would also work great as a backdrop for a business coaching company advertising its services. The limit does not exist.

5. Hippo Video

If you want to take short-form video content beyond social media, there’s Hippo Video.

The video marketing platform gives brands a one-stop-shop to produce, distribute, and analyze their video content. Users can also embed forms, CTAs, and annotations within the video, making conversions easier.

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Hippo Video Homepage

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For example, let’s say a SaaS company is launching a new product and the marketing team is using Hippo Video for the email campaign.

On launch day, they can send a product teaser video to current customers and include a “Schedule a Demo” CTA, leading users to a meeting scheduling page.

During the campaign, the team can track key metrics like total plays and average watch rate — taking video analytics to another level.

6. Magisto by Vimeo

Vimeo recently acquired Magisto, a video editing software that makes video marketing easy through artificial intelligence (AI).

The first step is uploading your videos. The software will then analyze the videos and put them together based on the video editing style you’re looking for. They have over 10 editing styles ranging from real estate and fitness to Facebook and YouTube ads.

Magisto Homepage

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Once you select the style you’re looking for and the video is complete, you can distribute it on social media platforms and track the analytics.

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This platform is ideal for brands that don’t want to spend too much time or too many resources on video marketing. This app does it so you don’t have to.

7. Lately.ai

If your brand is short on time and resources but wants to leverage short-form video, consider Lately.ai.

short form video tool lately.ai

This software, powered by AI, takes long-form audio, video, and text and atomizes it into snackable posts for social media. How does it know what will work? That’s where the AI comes in.

It looks at what content your audience is most likely to respond to based on historical data and creates from there. It’s a great tool for brands who are dipping their toes in short-form content and want to build from their current library.

8. Wistia

Wistia is a leader in the video hosting industry, helping more than 300,000 businesses manage their video content and grow their audience.

short form video tool wistia

When using this platform, you can build a customizable video player that matches your brand, use lead generation tools, and track your videos’ performance to gain insights.

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You can also create custom ad audiences for search and social to ensure your content reaches the right audience and use integrations to sync all your tools.

There are hundreds of ways to incorporate short-form videos into your marketing strategy. But no matter which trends come and go, it will always come back to your audience.

Try a few approaches, and listen to where the data tells you to go next.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in Jan. 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

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5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

Welcome to Creator Columns, where we bring expert HubSpot Creator voices to the Blogs that inspire and help you grow better.

I’ve tested 100s of psychological tactics on my email subscribers. In this blog, I reveal the five tactics that actually work.

You’ll learn about the email tactic that got one marketer a job at the White House.

You’ll learn how I doubled my 5 star reviews with one email, and why one strange email from Barack Obama broke all records for donations.

→ Download Now: The Beginner's Guide to Email Marketing [Free Ebook]

5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

Imagine writing an email that’s so effective it lands you a job at the White House.

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Well, that’s what happened to Maya Shankar, a PhD cognitive neuroscientist. In 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs asked her to help increase signups in their veteran benefit scheme.

Maya had a plan. She was well aware of a cognitive bias that affects us all—the endowment effect. This bias suggests that people value items higher if they own them. So, she changed the subject line in the Veterans’ enrollment email.

Previously it read:

  • Veterans, you’re eligible for the benefit program. Sign up today.

She tweaked one word, changing it to:

  • Veterans, you’ve earned the benefits program. Sign up today.

This tiny tweak had a big impact. The amount of veterans enrolling in the program went up by 9%. And Maya landed a job working at the White House

Boost participation email graphic

Inspired by these psychological tweaks to emails, I started to run my own tests.

Alongside my podcast Nudge, I’ve run 100s of email tests on my 1,000s of newsletter subscribers.

Here are the five best tactics I’ve uncovered.

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1. Show readers what they’re missing.

Nobel prize winning behavioral scientists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky uncovered a principle called loss aversion.

Loss aversion means that losses feel more painful than equivalent gains. In real-world terms, losing $10 feels worse than how gaining $10 feels good. And I wondered if this simple nudge could help increase the number of my podcast listeners.

For my test, I tweaked the subject line of the email announcing an episode. The control read:

“Listen to this one”

In the loss aversion variant it read:

“Don’t miss this one”

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It is very subtle loss aversion. Rather than asking someone to listen, I’m saying they shouldn’t miss out. And it worked. It increased the open rate by 13.3% and the click rate by 12.5%. Plus, it was a small change that cost me nothing at all.

Growth mindset email analytics

2. People follow the crowd.

In general, humans like to follow the masses. When picking a dish, we’ll often opt for the most popular. When choosing a movie to watch, we tend to pick the box office hit. It’s a well-known psychological bias called social proof.

I’ve always wondered if it works for emails. So, I set up an A/B experiment with two subject lines. Both promoted my show, but one contained social proof.

The control read: New Nudge: Why Brands Should Flaunt Their Flaws

The social proof variant read: New Nudge: Why Brands Should Flaunt Their Flaws (100,000 Downloads)

I hoped that by highlighting the episode’s high number of downloads, I’d encourage more people to listen. Fortunately, it worked.

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The open rate went from 22% to 28% for the social proof version, and the click rate, (the number of people actually listening to the episode), doubled.

3. Praise loyal subscribers.

The consistency principle suggests that people are likely to stick to behaviours they’ve previously taken. A retired taxi driver won’t swap his car for a bike. A hairdresser won’t change to a cheap shampoo. We like to stay consistent with our past behaviors.

I decided to test this in an email.

For my test, I attempted to encourage my subscribers to leave a review for my podcast. I sent emails to 400 subscribers who had been following the show for a year.

The control read: “Could you leave a review for Nudge?”

The consistency variant read: “You’ve been following Nudge for 12 months, could you leave a review?”

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My hypothesis was simple. If I remind people that they’ve consistently supported the show they’ll be more likely to leave a review.

It worked.

The open rate on the consistency version of the email was 7% higher.

But more importantly, the click rate, (the number of people who actually left a review), was almost 2x higher for the consistency version. Merely telling people they’d been a fan for a while doubled my reviews.

4. Showcase scarcity.

We prefer scarce resources. Taylor Swift gigs sell out in seconds not just because she’s popular, but because her tickets are hard to come by.

Swifties aren’t the first to experience this. Back in 1975, three researchers proved how powerful scarcity is. For the study, the researchers occupied a cafe. On alternating weeks they’d make one small change in the cafe.

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On some weeks they’d ensure the cookie jar was full.

On other weeks they’d ensure the cookie jar only contained two cookies (never more or less).

In other words, sometimes the cookies looked abundantly available. Sometimes they looked like they were almost out.

This changed behaviour. Customers who saw the two cookie jar bought 43% more cookies than those who saw the full jar.

It sounds too good to be true, so I tested it for myself.

I sent an email to 260 subscribers offering free access to my Science of Marketing course for one day only.

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In the control, the subject line read: “Free access to the Science of Marketing course”

For the scarcity variant it read: “Only Today: Get free access to the Science of Marketing Course | Only one enrol per person.”

130 people received the first email, 130 received the second. And the result was almost as good as the cookie finding. The scarcity version had a 15.1% higher open rate.

Email A/B test results

5. Spark curiosity.

All of the email tips I’ve shared have only been tested on my relatively small audience. So, I thought I’d end with a tip that was tested on the masses.

Back in 2012, Barack Obama and his campaign team sent hundreds of emails to raise funds for his campaign.

Of the $690 million he raised, most came from direct email appeals. But there was one email, according to ABC news, that was far more effective than the rest. And it was an odd one.

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The email that drew in the most cash, had a strange subject line. It simply said “Hey.”

The actual email asked the reader to donate, sharing all the expected reasons, but the subject line was different.

It sparked curiosity, it got people wondering, is Obama saying Hey just to me?

Readers were curious and couldn’t help but open the email. According to ABC it was “the most effective pitch of all.”

Because more people opened, it raised more money than any other email. The bias Obama used here is the curiosity gap. We’re more likely to act on something when our curiosity is piqued.

Email example

Loss aversion, social proof, consistency, scarcity and curiosity—all these nudges have helped me improve my emails. And I reckon they’ll work for you.

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It’s not guaranteed of course. Many might fail. But running some simple a/b tests for your emails is cost free, so why not try it out?

This blog is part of Phill Agnew’s Marketing Cheat Sheet series where he reveals the scientifically proven tips to help you improve your marketing. To learn more, listen to his podcast Nudge, a proud member of the Hubspot Podcast Network.

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The power of program management in martech

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The power of program management in martech

As a supporter of the program perspective for initiatives, I recognize the value of managing related projects, products and activities as a unified entity. 

While one-off projects have their place, they often involve numerous moving parts and in my experience, using a project-based approach can lead to crucial elements being overlooked. This is particularly true when building a martech stack or developing content, for example, where a program-based approach can ensure that all aspects are considered and properly integrated. 

For many CMOs and marketing organizations, programs are becoming powerful tools for aligning diverse initiatives and driving strategic objectives. Let’s explore the essential role of programs in product management, project management and marketing operations, bridging technical details with business priorities. 

Programs in product management

Product management is a fascinating domain where programs operate as a strategic framework, coordinating related products or product lines to meet specific business objectives.

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Product managers are responsible for defining a product or product line’s strategy, roadmap and features. They work closely with program managers, who ensure alignment with market demands, customer needs and the company’s overall vision by managing offerings at a program level. 

Program managers optimize the product portfolio, make strategic decisions about resource allocation and ensure that each product contributes to the program’s goals. One key aspect of program management in product management is identifying synergies between products. 

Program managers can drive innovation and efficiency across the portfolio by leveraging shared technologies, customer insights, or market trends. This approach enables organizations to respond quickly to changing market conditions, seize emerging opportunities and maintain a competitive advantage. Product managers, in turn, use these insights to shape the direction of individual products.

Moreover, programs in product management facilitate cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing. Program managers foster a holistic understanding of customer needs and market dynamics by bringing together teams from various departments, such as engineering, marketing and sales.

Product managers also play a crucial role in this collaborative approach, ensuring that all stakeholders work towards common goals, ultimately leading to more successful product launches and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Dig deeper: Understanding different product roles in marketing technology acquisition

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Programs in project management

In project management, programs provide a structured approach for managing related projects as a unified entity, supporting broader strategic objectives. Project managers are responsible for planning, executing and closing individual projects within a program. They focus on specific deliverables, timelines and budgets. 

On the other hand, program managers oversee these projects’ coordination, dependencies and outcomes, ensuring they collectively deliver the desired benefits and align with the organization’s strategic goals.

A typical example of a program in project management is a martech stack optimization initiative. Such a program may involve integrating marketing technology tools and platforms, implementing customer data management systems and training employees on the updated technologies. Project managers would be responsible for the day-to-day management of each project. 

In contrast, the program manager ensures a cohesive approach, minimizes disruptions and realizes the full potential of the martech investments to improve marketing efficiency, personalization and ROI.

The benefits of program management in project management are numerous. Program managers help organizations prioritize initiatives that deliver the greatest value by aligning projects with strategic objectives. They also identify and mitigate risks that span multiple projects, ensuring that issues in one area don’t derail the entire program. Project managers, in turn, benefit from this oversight and guidance, as they can focus on successfully executing their projects.

Additionally, program management enables efficient resource allocation, as skills and expertise can be shared across projects, reducing duplication of effort and maximizing value. Project managers can leverage these resources and collaborate with other project teams to achieve their objectives more effectively.

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Dig deeper: Combining martech projects: 5 questions to ask

Programs in marketing operations

In marketing operations, programs play a vital role in integrating and managing various marketing activities to achieve overarching goals. Marketing programs encompass multiple initiatives, such as advertising, content marketing, social media and event planning. Organizations ensure consistent messaging, strategic alignment, and measurable results by managing these activities as a cohesive program.

In marketing operations, various roles, such as MOps managers, campaign managers, content managers, digital marketing managers and analytics managers, collaborate to develop and execute comprehensive marketing plans that support the organization’s business objectives. 

These professionals work closely with cross-functional teams, including creative, analytics and sales, to ensure that all marketing efforts are coordinated and optimized for maximum impact. This involves setting clear goals, defining key performance indicators (KPIs) and continuously monitoring and adjusting strategies based on data-driven insights.

One of the primary benefits of a programmatic approach in marketing operations is maintaining a consistent brand voice and message across all channels. By establishing guidelines and standards for content creation, visual design and customer interactions, marketing teams ensure that the brand’s identity remains cohesive and recognizable. This consistency builds customer trust, reinforces brand loyalty and drives business growth.

Programs in marketing operations enable organizations to take a holistic approach to customer engagement. By analyzing customer data and feedback across various touchpoints, marketing professionals can identify opportunities for improvement and develop targeted strategies to enhance the customer experience. This customer-centric approach leads to increased satisfaction, higher retention rates and more effective marketing investments.

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Dig deeper: Mastering the art of goal setting in marketing operations

Embracing the power of programs for long-term success

We’ve explored how programs enable marketing organizations to drive strategic success and create lasting impact by aligning diverse initiatives across product management, project management and marketing operations. 

  • Product management programs facilitate cross-functional collaboration and ensure alignment with market demands. 
  • In project management, they provide a structured approach for managing related projects and mitigating risks. 
  • In marketing operations, programs enable consistent messaging and a customer-centric approach to engagement.

Program managers play a vital role in maintaining strategic alignment, continuously assessing progress and adapting to changes in the business environment. Keeping programs aligned with long-term objectives maximizes ROI and drives sustainable growth.

Organizations that invest in developing strong program management capabilities will be better positioned to optimize resources, foster innovation and achieve their long-term goals.



As a CMO or marketing leader, it is important to recognize the strategic value of programs and champion their adoption across your organization. By aligning efforts across various domains, you can unlock the full potential of your initiatives and drive meaningful results. Try it, you’ll like it.

Fuel for your marketing strategy.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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

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

2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business

Before we dive into the second way to assume power in your business, let’s revisit Part 1. 

Who informs your marketing strategy? 

YOU, with your carefully curated strategy informed by data and deep knowledge of your brand and audience? Or any of the 3 Cs below? 

  • Competitors: Their advertising and digital presence and seemingly never-ending budgets consume the landscape.
  • Colleagues: Their tried-and-true proven tactics or lessons learned.
  • Customers: Their calls, requests, and ideas. 

Considering any of the above is not bad, in fact, it can be very wise! However, listening quickly becomes devastating if it lends to their running our business or marketing department. 

It’s time we move from defense to offense, sitting in the driver’s seat rather than allowing any of the 3 Cs to control. 

It is one thing to learn from and entirely another to be controlled by. 

In Part 1, we explored how knowing what we want is critical to regaining power.

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1) Knowing what you want protects the bottom line.

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

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

You can read Part 1 here; in the meantime, let’s dive in! 

How to Regain Control of Your Business: Knowing Who You Are

Vertical alignment is a favorite concept of mine, coined over the last two years throughout my personal journey of knowing self. 

Consider the diagram below.

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1713005765 267 2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business1713005765 267 2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business

Vertical alignment is the state of internal being centered with who you are at your core. 

Horizontal alignment is the state of external doing engaged with the world around you.

In a state of vertical alignment, your business operates from its core center, predicated on its mission, values, and brand. It is authentic and confident and cuts through the noise because it is entirely unique from every competitor in the market. 

From this vertical alignment, your business is positioned for horizontal alignment to fulfill the integrity of its intended services, instituted processes, and promised results. 

A strong brand is not only differentiated in the market by its vertical alignment but delivers consistently and reliably in terms of its products, offerings, and services and also in terms of the customer experience by its horizontal alignment. 

Let’s examine what knowing who you are looks like in application, as well as some habits to implement with your team to strengthen vertical alignment. 

1) Knowing who You are Protects You from Horizontal Voices. 

The strength of “Who We Are” predicates the ability to maintain vertical alignment when something threatens your stability. When a colleague proposes a tactic that is not aligned with your values. When the customer comes calling with ideas that will knock you off course as bandwidth is limited or the budget is tight. 

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I was on a call with a gal from my Mastermind when I mentioned a retreat I am excited to launch in the coming months. 

I shared that I was considering its positioning, given its curriculum is rooted in emotional intelligence (EQ) to inform personal brand development. The retreat serves C-Suite, but as EQ is not a common conversation among this audience, I was considering the best positioning. 

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She advised, “Sell them solely on the business aspects, and then sneak attack with the EQ when they’re at the retreat!” 

At first blush, it sounds reasonable. After all, there’s a reason why the phrase, “Sell the people what they want, give them what they need,” is popular.

Horizontal advice and counsel can produce a wealth of knowledge. However, we must always approach the horizontal landscape – the external – powered by vertical alignment – centered internally with the core of who we are. 

Upon considering my values of who I am and the vision of what I want for this event, I realized the lack of transparency is not in alignment with my values nor setting the right expectations for the experience.

Sure, maybe I would get more sales; however, my bottom line — what I want — is not just sales. I want transformation on an emotional level. I want C-Suite execs to leave powered from a place of emotional intelligence to decrease decisions made out of alignment with who they are or executing tactics rooted in guilt, not vision. 

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Ultimately, one of my core values is authenticity, and I must make business decisions accordingly. 

2) Knowing who You are Protects You from Reactivity.

Operating from vertical alignment maintains focus on the bottom line and the strategy to achieve it. From this position, you are protected from reacting to the horizontal pressures of the 3 Cs: Competitors, Colleagues, and Customers. 

This does not mean you do not adjust tactics or learn. 

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However, your approach to adjustments is proactive direction, not reactive deviations. To do this, consider the following questions:

First: How does their (any one of the 3 Cs) tactic measure against my proven track record of success?

If your colleague promotes adding newsletters to your strategy, lean in and ask, “Why?” 

  • What are their outcomes? 
  • What metrics are they tracking for success? 
  • What is their bottom line against yours? 
  • How do newsletters fit into their strategy and stage(s) of the customer journey? 

Always consider your historical track record of success first and foremost. 

Have you tried newsletters in the past? Is their audience different from yours? Why are newsletters good for them when they did not prove profitable for you? 

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Operate with your head up and your eyes open. 

Maintain focus on your bottom line and ask questions. Revisit your data, and don’t just take their word for it. 

2. Am I allocating time in my schedule?

I had coffee with the former CEO of Jiffy Lube, who built the empire that it is today. 

He could not emphasize more how critical it is to allocate time for thinking. Just being — not doing — and thinking about your business or department. 

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Especially for senior leaders or business owners, but even still for junior staff. 

The time and space to be fosters creative thinking, new ideas, and energy. Some of my best campaigns are conjured on a walk or in the shower. 

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Kasim Aslam, founder of the world’s #1 Google Ads agency and a dear friend of mine, is a machine when it comes to hacks and habits. He encouraged me to take an audit of my calendar over the last 30 days to assess how I spend time. 

“Create three buckets,” he said. “Organize them by the following:

  • Tasks that Generate Revenue
  • Tasks that Cost Me Money
  • Tasks that Didn’t Earn Anything”

He and I chatted after I completed this exercise, and I added one to the list: Tasks that are Life-Giving. 

Friends — if we are running empty, exhausted, or emotionally depleted, our creative and strategic wherewithal will be significantly diminished. We are holistic creatures and, therefore, must nurture our mind, body, soul, and spirit to maintain optimum capacity for impact. 

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I shared this hack with a friend of mine. Not only did she identify meetings that were costing her money and thus needed to be eliminated, but she also identified that particular meetings could actually turn revenue-generating! She spent a good amount of time each month facilitating introductions; now, she is adding Strategic Partnerships to her suite of services. 


ACTION: Analyze your calendar’s last 30-60 days against the list above. 

Include what is life-giving! 

How are you spending your time? What is the data showing you? Are you on the path to achieving what you want and living in alignment with who you want to be?

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Share with your team or business partner for the purpose of accountability, and implement practical changes accordingly. 


Finally, remember: If you will not protect your time, no one else will. 

3) Knowing who You are Protects You from Lack. 

“What are you proud of?” someone asked me last year. 

“Nothing!” I reply too quickly. “I know I’m not living up to my potential or operating in the full capacity I could be.” 

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They looked at me in shock. “You need to read The Gap And The Gain.”

I silently rolled my eyes.

I already knew the premise of the book, or I thought I did. I mused: My vision is so big, and I have so much to accomplish. The thought of solely focusing on “my wins” sounded like an excuse to abdicate personal responsibility. 

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But I acquiesced. 

The premise of this book is to measure one’s self from where they started and the success from that place to where they are today — the gains — rather than from where they hope to get and the seemingly never-ending distance — the gap.

Ultimately, Dr. Benjamin Hardy and Dan Sullivan encourage changing perspectives to assign success, considering the starting point rather than the destination.

The book opens with the following story:

Dan Jensen was an Olympic speed skater, notably the fastest in the world. But in each game spanning a decade, Jansen could not catch a break. “Flukes” — even tragedy with the death of his sister in the early morning of the 1988 Olympics — continued to disrupt the prediction of him being favored as the winner. 

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The 1994 Olympics were the last of his career. He had one more shot.

Preceding his last Olympics in 1994, Jansen adjusted his mindset. He focused on every single person who invested in him, leading to this moment. He considered just how very lucky he was to even participate in the first place. He thought about his love for the sport itself, all of which led to an overwhelming realization of just how much he had gained throughout his life.

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He raced the 1994 Olympic games differently, as his mindset powering every stride was one of confidence and gratitude — predicated on the gains rather than the gap in his life. 

This race secured him his first and only gold medal and broke a world record, simultaneously proving one of the most emotional wins in Olympic history. 

Friends, knowing who we are on the personal and professional level, can protect us from those voices of shame or guilt that creep in. 


PERSONAL ACTION: Create two columns. On one side, create a list of where you were when you started your business or your position at your company. Include skills and networks and even feelings about where you were in life. On the other side, outline where you are today. 

Look at how far you’ve come. 

COMPANY ACTION: Implement a quarterly meeting to review the past three months. Where did you start? Where are you now? 

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Celebrate the gain!

Only from this place of gain mindset, can you create goals for the next quarter predicated on where you are today.


Ultimately, my hope for you is that you deliver exceptional and memorable experiences laced with empathy toward the customer (horizontally aligned) yet powered by the authenticity of the brand (vertically aligned). 

Aligning vertically maintains our focus on the bottom line and powers horizontal fulfillment. 

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Granted, there will be strategic times and seasons for adjustment; however, these changes are to be made on the heels of consulting who we are as a brand — not in reaction to the horizontal landscape of what is the latest and greatest in the industry. 

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In Conclusion…

Taking back control of your business and marketing strategies requires a conscious effort to resist external pressures and realign with what you want and who you are.

Final thoughts as we wrap up: 

First, identify the root issue(s).

Consider which of the 3 Cs holds the most power: be it competition, colleagues, or customers.

Second, align vertically.

Vertical alignment facilitates individuality in the market and ensures you — and I — stand out and shine while serving our customers well. 

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Third, keep the bottom line in view.

Implement a routine that keeps you and your team focused on what matters most, and then create the cascading strategy necessary to accomplish it. 

Fourth, maintain your mindsets.

Who You Are includes values for the internal culture. Guide your team in acknowledging the progress made along the way and embracing the gains to operate from a position of strength and confidence.

Fifth, maintain humility.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of humility and being open to what others are doing. However, horizontal alignment must come after vertical alignment. Otherwise, we will be at the mercy of the whims and fads of everyone around us. Humility allows us to be open to external inputs and vertically aligned at the same time.

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Buckle up, friends! It’s time to take back the wheel and drive our businesses forward. 

The power lies with you and me.


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