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8 easy ways to improve your marketing capabilities

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8 easy ways to improve your marketing capabilities

The CEO and CMO are talking about investing in the marketing team to develop their skills.

The CEO asks, “What if we invest in our people, and they leave?”

The CMO replies, “What if we don’t and they stay?”

Legend has it that this conversation is real and may have even happened at your company.

Marketing is about people. That means the people you serve — your customers — and the people who do the marketing — your team. The problem is that marketers are often too focused on the former and not enough on the latter. 

Your people are the most valuable asset in any marketing team. If you want better performance and results from your marketing, then you must give your people the support and resources they need to excel.

Here are eight simple, low-cost ways to improve your marketing capabilities with minimal effort.

1. The 20% rule

Google became famous for its “20% rule,” which stated that employees could spend 20% of their time on a personal project that they felt would benefit the company the most. And all employees must report their progress and present their projects.

Giving up 20% of employee time sounds like a massive waste, but it turns out it’s quite the opposite. Gmail and AdSense, two of the most well-known and profitable products from Google, are the results of employees’ 20% projects.

Your people have great ideas — they just need the time and permission to make them a reality.

Are you giving your people space to innovate? Or are you suffocating their innovation?

2. Pairing up

Programmers have many interesting tricks to build highly sophisticated software consisting of millions of lines of code and hundreds of people working on the same thing.

One of the most brilliant tactics is a practice called “pair programming.” Just like the 20% rule from Google, pair programming seems like a waste of resources at first glance. Here’s how it works.

Instead of one programmer working on one task, two programmers pair up (hence the name) and work on one task together — except that they both sit at the same computer. One monitor, one keyboard, one mouse and two programmers.

That means that only one programmer is “driving” or operating the computer at a time — they take turns. One person will write some code while the other one watches, learns, asks questions and points out potential problems to avoid. Then they switch roles and keep going.

Having two people work together on the same task means that it gets done faster and more accurately, and now both people understand exactly what happened, how it was done and what decisions were made.

Pair programming is extremely collaborative and magnificently powerful. I recommend all of my clients have at least a half day where their marketing team pairs up to tackle a day’s tasks. The team will learn a lot, get stuff done and get to know and understand each other better.

3. Vault access

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve the skills of your marketing team is to provide access to a vault of training materials they can access as they wish. Several great platforms, like LinkedIn Learning, can provide lots of value to help your team improve their skills.

These platforms often excel in breadth but lack depth. However, they are a great starting point for marketing teams to expand their knowledge and skills continually.

Dig deeper: Why UX is critical to digital marketing


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4. Selective stipend

You can give your team a training stipend to combat the depth issue of providing access to a vault of training materials. The team can spend a set amount of money on specific self-development resources like courses, books, events and more.

Having a stipend is an easy way to manage your investment in the team’s skills while also providing flexibility. However, it requires managing the budget with an approval process to ensure balance and equal access to different resources among the team.

5. Have lunch together

When was the last time your marketing team had lunch together? 

Everyone loves a free lunch, and it’s a great way to give your team time to connect and hang out. Plus, you can host a lunch-and-learn where you have someone from the team teach or share their experience.

This is another great example of cross-pollination of skills, just like in pair programming. 

It’s not feasible to do a lunch a learn every week, but hosting one once a month or once a quarter is a productive and realistic frequency.

Dig deeper: 20 ways to make your marketing team more productive

6. Play a game

Games can bring people together and think outside the box. Running a tabletop exercise is a fun way to challenge your team in a safe environment and come up with brilliant ideas and solutions.

A tabletop exercise is a “what if” brainstorming session. You set up a hypothetical scenario and then have the team react as if it actually happened. What would we do? How would we deal with it? How could we make the most of it?

Here’s an example.

Imagine getting most of your website traffic, leads and sales from Google Ads. Now pretend that Google bans your industry from running Google Ads. Poof! All of your traffic, leads and sales are gone overnight.

How would your team respond? What tactics should they pursue instead? How would they reallocate the money that was being spent on Google Ads?

It may seem silly and fictitious, but it stretches the team to challenge their assumptions and explore new and alternative ways of reaching their goals.

And just think what would have happened if companies had run a tabletop exercise to imagine if in-person events disappeared due to a global pandemic — they would’ve been much better prepared.

7. Quarterly workshops

Quarterly workshops are similar to vault access to training materials and a self-development stipend with one major difference. Quarterly workshops are ideally suited to giving a larger group of your team in-depth, custom training on a certain topic or tactic. 

For example, you could have a quarterly workshop for your digital marketing team to learn about conversion rate optimization.

This is a cost-effective way to provide collaborative and interactive training for a specific group within your team to improve together. This is especially helpful if you recognize a certain area, tactic, or skill set that the group needs to improve in.

The benefits are immediate and long-lasting. Many of the quarterly workshops I’ve hosted for my clients result in quick wins and conversations in the halls and meetings that demonstrate the lasting impact and transformation of the training experience.

8. Coaching key individuals

When it comes to individual performance improvement, there is no more powerful approach than coaching. You already know who your key team members are — the people who are pivotal to the organization’s success. They must be supported with coaching to some degree if you want the best results. Coaching can turn even great marketers into world-class experts.

The other benefit of coaching is that it improves retention. When people see you’re willing to invest in them, especially with one-on-one coaching, they are more likely to stay engaged and are motivated to push themselves to perform at a higher level.

Dig deeper: Marketers: Where will you be a year from now?

Improving your marketing starts with people

If you want to improve your marketing performance, it starts with your people.

All of these are great recommendations to improve your marketing capabilities. Choose one to start with and make it happen. Identify the budget, people, and time required. Put it on the calendar and communicate it to the team.

Once you’ve tried one, feel free to try the others. Not all of these will be a good fit for every team, but several are guaranteed to create a positive and lasting improvement in your marketing team’s skills, collaboration, and morale.

Improving your marketing capabilities doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, it just requires commitment.


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


About The Author

Tim Parkin is a consultant, advisor, and coach to marketing executives globally. He specializes in helping marketing teams optimize performance, accelerate growth, and maximize their results.
By applying more than 20 years of experience merging behavioral psychology and technology, Tim has unlocked rapid and dramatic growth for global brands and award-winning agencies alike.
He is a speaker, author, and thought leader who has been featured in AdAge, AdWeek, Inc, TechCrunch, Forbes, and many other major industry publications. Tim is also a member of the American Marketing Association, Society for the Advancement of Consulting, and an inductee to the Million Dollar Consulting Hall of Fame.

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

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

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

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

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

Display Ads

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

Companion Banners

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

In-feed Ads

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

Outstream Ads

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

Masthead Ads

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

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

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

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

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

Bumper Ads

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

In-feed Ads

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

Display Ads

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

Outstream Ads

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

Masthead Ads

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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

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

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

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

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

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

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

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

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

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

Finally, trust

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

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

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