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8 Content Lifecycle Management Stages (And Best Practices)



8 Content Lifecycle Management Stages (And Best Practices)

60% of the content created by leading brands becomes “just clutter,” as Marketing Week puts it, impacting neither consumers’ lives nor business results. 

A pretty dreary statistic for content marketers, right? 

But when you dive deeper into the study, it actually reveals an opportunity. The problem isn’t that consumers don’t want content — it’s that brands aren’t managing content effectively. 

This brings us to content lifecycle management, or the process of developing, publishing, organizing, repurposing, and retiring content during its lifecycle at an organization.

In this article, we’re going to cover the different stages of managing this process so you can get the most out of the content you create. 


Stages of content lifecycle management

When managing the content lifecycle, there are 8 different stages you should go through to do it effectively. Let’s take a look.  

Stage #1: Establish your overall content marketing goals and strategies

Without a content marketing goal (and strategies to help you achieve that goal) you’ll essentially be flying blind with your content.

No wonder having a documented strategy is a common thread among top-performing marketing departments — CMI’s 2022 state-of-the-industry report shows that 62% of top performers run their content marketing with a documented strategy and only 11% of bottom performers do the same. 

So before doing anything else, it’s important to first establish your overall content marketing goals, and then strategies to help you hit them. A good way to do this is by asking yourself and your team a few simple questions. What’s the point of publishing content, for example? What are you hoping to achieve? 

For many businesses, content marketing goals include one or more of the following: 

  • Drive organic traffic to your website. 
  • Generate sales and revenue.
  • Nurture leads through the different stages of the sales funnel.
  • Build loyalty with existing customers by providing resources and education.   
  • Encourage people to take a specific action like signing up for your email list, making a purchase, registering for a course, or downloading a digital product. 
  • Improve the conversion rate on your website.
  • Establish industry authority by becoming a thought leader in your space. 

Then, attach strategies to your specific goals. Let’s say your overall goal is to drive organic traffic to your website, for example. What strategies can you use to achieve this? A good exercise for this stage is to write out a simple chart like this for each goal: 

Content marketing goal: Drive organic traffic to our website


Corresponding strategy: Publish frequent, SEO optimized blog articles

Content marketing goal: Nurture leads in the middle of the sales funnel 

Corresponding strategy: Publish high-quality customer stories (case studies) on our website

Stage #2: Determine the resources needed 

Once you’ve established your goals and corresponding strategies, it’s time to figure out the resources you need to achieve them. For the content lifecycle management process, this can be anything from funding to personnel to software — and everything in between. 

Going back to the goal of driving organic traffic, for example, if you’re going to be publishing frequent SEO optimized blog articles, here are some resources you’ll probably need: 

  • Funding for internal staff, freelance contractors, or an outsourced agency
  • Staff or contractors to strategize, write, edit, and publish content  
  • The right MarTech software to keep everything organized and allow collaboration
  • SEO tools to optimize your content and automate keyword research 

By identifying these needs upfront, you can set priorities for your funding requests using minimal resource expenditure. 

Stage #3: Set up your content team and arsenal

Now that you know what you need for content lifecycle management, it’s time to assemble your team. Most of the roles on content marketing teams can be split into three general categories — management, strategy,  creation, and distribution. 


The Content Marketing Institute goes into further detail, outlining the following roles as critical to large content marketing teams: 

  • Chief content officer (CCO) or director of content marketing – Responsible for setting the overall goals and integrating content across departments. 
  • Content strategy director or content strategists – Responsible for the development and flow of content as an asset throughout the business, including how the content gets distributed. 
  • Content manager (aka managing editor) – Responsible for project management and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the editorial calendar. 
  • Content production director (aka creative director)  – Responsible for managing how your content looks across departments and channels. 
  • Audience development manager  – Responsible for developing subscription assets (email lists, social media followers, etc.) and building engagement across different media. This person may also be in charge of distribution. 
  • Influencer wrangler (aka subject matter expert manager) – Responsible for managing content created by internal and external influencers or experts. 
  • Technical content manager – Responsible for facilitating content marketing processes with technology
  • Content writers, designers, and producers – Responsible for creating the actual written or visual content. 

Stage #4: Determine your distribution plan

When determining your distribution plan,  remember that content distribution can be divided into four main buckets — owned, earned, shared, and paid. 

As a quick review, owned media channels are those that your company owns like your blog, your website, your email and SMS list, and more. 

Earned media is basically publicity. In the past, this meant being featured on a morning TV show or radio spot. Today it refers more to unpaid mentions by influencers or on channels like podcasts or blogs. 

Shared media, on the other hand, refers to social media channels and other online communities. Content in this bucket includes user-generated content, product reviews, customer interactions, shares, retweets, and more. 

The last bucket, paid media, is your typical paid advertising for content promotion. This includes everything from PPC to paid influencers marketing to native ad placement. 

Of course, many of these buckets overlap and can be used to augment each other — which is why it’s so important to develop a distribution plan. You’ll also want to consider the following: 

  • Your business – Different types of businesses need different distribution methods. An established B2B company, for example, is likely to find success sharing content like case studies and long-form blog posts on owned and shared media, whereas a small B2C startup will probably have more success using paid influencer marketing. 
  • Your audience – B2B customers are typically found on LinkedIn (with 80% of B2B leads coming from LI alone). Gen Z customers, on the other hand, are typically on TikTok. In fact, eMarketer predicts TikTok will surpass Instagram in total Gen Z users in the U.S. by the end of 2021 and Snapchat by 2023.

Stage #5: Set up approval and quality assurance processes

The next stage in the content management process involves setting up your workflow in a way that streamlines the approval and quality assurance process. Otherwise, it’ll be a struggle to keep track of all the different pieces of content that have to move from one desk to another. 

Here’s an example of a streamlined workflow in action: 

  • Your content director sends a request for a podcast episode to the content manager. 
  • The content manager then assigns the script to a writer and editor, with a deadline.
  • The writer turns in the script for approval and it’s automatically routed to the content manager, who likely has the script going through at least one round of revision.
  • The content manager eventually approves the script and it’s automatically passed on to the podcast director, who can then contact the narrator, schedule recording, and pass the raw files automatically to production. 
  • Production finalizes the script and it goes straight out to the podcast. 

This type of system streamlines your quality assurance process, while automatically passing the content to the right roles as soon as it’s signed off on. The people responsible for approval will always get the content in a timely manner and there’s no chance of content getting published without approval. 

There are many software solutions out there that can help you create these workflows — Welcome being one of them. 😉

Stage #6: Start content creation

Now it’s time for the main event — actual content creation. This is a big stage and it includes everything from strategic planning to keyword research to writing and production. 

To manage this process and keep everything (and everyone) organized, it’s a good idea to have some systems in place first. A good project management software or content marketing platform will usually do the trick. 

Welcome‘s content marketing platform, for example, enables teams to create faster, repeatable processes to deliver content your audience will love. Here are a few specific ways our platform helps with content creation: 

  • Keep a pulse on what’s going out across every internal and external channel. Our powerful-yet-flexible calendars allow you to easily visualize what’s going out, to whom, and when. 
  • Centralize the way your team plans every campaign. Plan the effort, craft the communication strategy, and ensure everyone can help amplify the story using tools like shared campaign briefs, project workspaces, and collaborative content editors. 
  • Create and proof content of all formats with our built-in editor. This allows you to author an original piece and upload content directly. That way, your team can create, proof, and version work — all in one place.
  • Leverage‌ ‌real-time‌ ‌search‌ ‌data‌ ‌and‌ ‌recommendations‌ ‌that‌ ‌help‌ ‌inform‌ ‌your‌ ‌content‌ ‌strategy,‌ ‌optimize‌ ‌content‌ ‌so‌ ‌that‌ ‌it‌ ‌ranks‌ ‌well‌ ‌for‌ ‌search,‌ ‌and‌ ‌ensure‌ ‌it‌ ‌resonates‌ ‌with‌ ‌your‌ ‌audience.‌‌
  • Invite internal and external contributors to create, review, and approve content. Whether you work with a staff of writers or an external agency, you can easily empower your team with the tools they need to collaboratively perfect every brand story.

Stage #7: Repurpose your content

Repurposing content means using elements of an existing piece to create a new piece that serves a new or different marketing purpose. It’s much easier and less time-consuming than creating content from scratch. 

Plus, it’s an excellent way to get the most out of each piece, without having to reinvent the wheel each time. Examples include: 

  • Changing content into a new format: Turning a blog post into an infographic. 
  • Breaking up long-form content into a series of shorter pieces (or vice versa): Using content from a 10-page white paper to create several shorter blog posts. 
  • Changing content to suit another channel: Taking a 2,000-word blog post and breaking it up into 5 bite-size LinkedIn posts. 
  • Changing content to suit another audience: Turning a written case study into a video to target younger demographics. 
  • Changing content to suit another stage of the buyer’s journey: Turning a series of blog posts into an ebook.

Stage #8: Keep updating content (or retire it)

The last stage in the content lifecycle is to keep your content updated — especially evergreen or high-performing pieces. Also known as revamping, this process ensures your content remains relevant and continues to serve its purpose. 

For example, let’s say you have a high-performing blog post about email marketing that was published in 2019, before the pandemic. 

Revamping the piece by adding new information to the original article keeps it relevant and ensures that it continues to provide value to your audience. 

You can do this by adding new statistics that have emerged since the article was first posted or by updating the recommendations to reflect current trends. 

In the case of content that’s truly outdated, the final step of content management is to retire it and take it out of circulation. This reduces clutter and keeps your web presence fresh and timely. 

Best practices for choosing content lifecycle management software

1. Make sure you need it

Before choosing any new type of software, it’s always important to make sure you really need it. You don’t want to overwhelm your marketing stack with unnecessary or overlapping tools. 

With that in mind, think about whether you’re experiencing the following pain points related to content management: 

  • Siloed teams within your marketing organization.  
  • Lack of collaboration, leading to wasted content and duplicated efforts.
  • Lack of a centralized system to store and manage marketing assets.
  • No real insight or reporting on how your content is performing across channels. 
  • Lack of visibility into marketing campaigns, including their progression and performance. 
  • Collaboration is primarily done via email and spreadsheets.
  • Inefficient workflows and approval processes that slow down content and campaign production.

If these sound all too familiar, it’s probably time to add content lifecycle management software to your stack.

2. Determine what’s most important 

Once you’ve figured out that you need CLM software, it’s a good idea to take a good look at your current situation to determine what’s most important. Ask your team the following questions: 

  • Where are our current processes falling short?  
  • How would a content lifecycle management solution fit into our daily workflow, both as individuals and as a team? 
  • What are our main goals as a marketing team? 
  • How do we currently execute and measure our goals? 
  • What are we lacking based on the pain points listed above?

Then, use the answers to these questions to prioritize what you need most out of a CLM platform. For example, if your team is managing campaigns mostly via shared spreadsheets, you might place emphasis on finding a platform that improves collaboration and workflows. 

Or maybe you’re lacking a central place to store campaign assets. In this case, you’d want to prioritize a platform with marketing resource management capabilities.  

3. Use as few tools as possible

Once you’ve identified exactly what you need your content management system to do, it’s important to look for a solution that uses as few tools as possible. Otherwise, it can get overwhelming (and ineffective) pretty fast. 

For example, imagine coordinating all of the stages of the content lifecycle using a separate project management system, SEO tool, content development tool, asset management solution, content distribution tool, marketing automation platform, email marketing tool, etc. 

If that has you stressed out just thinking about it, there’s an easy fix — Welcome. (Sorry! We can’t resist one more shameless plug, lol.)

Welcome’s software combines just about everything you need to manage the content lifecycle into one, easy-to-use platform. Plus, our software is designed to integrate easily with your other systems, giving you one central place to manage everything. 


4. Prioritize integration


Speaking of integration, making sure your software plays well with others is another best practice when choosing CLM software (or any MarTech solution for that matter). 

Because even if you’re careful to select as few tools as possible, you’re still going to have other platforms and systems that your CLM will need to work with. 

Welcome, for example, was built to bring software and people together – that means a centralized platform that integrates with the marketing tools you need most, from Marketo to WordPress to Jira and everything in between.

5. Avoid compromising on quality

When choosing software to help you manage the content lifecycle, it’s important not to skimp on quality. One of the best ways to make sure you’re not getting duped is to read through unbiased and verified reviews on sites like G2 or Gartner’s Peer Insights

These will often give you an honest idea of a software’s level of quality along with insights into what kind of customer support you can expect from them. Of course, no single review should be weighed too heavily, but an overall theme or score can be very useful. 


You can also ask other colleagues in the industry if they have experience using any of the solutions you’re considering. If so, you can gain valuable insights by listening to their experiences — the good and the bad.

Content lifecycle FAQs

What’s a content management process?

The content management process is the overall coordination of your content lifecycle, from idea to finished product. It involves things like coordinating with various stakeholders, organizing interdependent tasks, and distributing content to the right channels. 

What skills does a content manager need?

A good content manager needs to be highly skilled in the areas of organization and communication. Their main role is to guide a piece of content through its various stages and creative influences and deliver it on time, on brand, and on budget. 


Hopefully, you’re feeling more confident now about managing the content lifecycle at your organization. If you follow the steps outlined here, you’ll be on your way to producing “clutter-free” content in no time. 

Here’s a quick recap: 

Stages of content lifecycle management: 

  1. Establish your overall marketing goals and strategies
  2. Determine the resources needed
  3. Set up your content team and arsenal 
  4. Determine your distribution plan 
  5. Set up your approval and quality assurance processes
  6. Start content creation 
  7. Repurpose content
  8. Keep updating content

Best practices for choosing content lifecycle management software: 

  1. Make sure you need it
  2. Determine what’s most important
  3. Use as few tools as possible 
  4. Prioritize integration 
  5. Avoid compromising on quality 

8 Content Lifecycle Management Stages And Best Practices

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5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails



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.


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.


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”


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.


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?”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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.

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. 


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. 


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? 


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. 


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?


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. 


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.


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? 


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. 


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. 


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.


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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