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How to Become an Effective Leader [+ Expert Tips]



How to Become an Effective Leader [+ Expert Tips]

It’s very easy to spot good leadership when it happens.

Take, for instance, how an old manager of mine used to ask my advice on business strategy in our weekly 1:1s — and then provide constructive feedback on it.

While I might not have recognized it at the time, I now see he was teaching me to think about how my role fit into the company’s bigger mission.

Or, consider how my current manager seeks out learning and development opportunities for each of her direct reports. Whenever she finds a workshop or online class that could help me grow, she passes along the information.

All of which is to say: Good leadership doesn’t look, sound, or act just one way. There are a myriad of ways for a good leader to educate and inspire others.

Which means leadership is a harder skill to master than others. It isn’t like mastering Excel, which requires knowledge of specific, fixed formulas. Instead, good leadership is more ambiguous, and mastering it is less of a linear path. There will be setbacks, and moments where you feel you didn’t act as a good leader should. But there will also be incremental moments of true growth.

Whether you’re an individual contributor or already a team lead, there’s always room for improvement. Here, we’ll cover leadership development on various levels — from individual contributor to senior management and above. Plus, hear leadership tips from Google, LinkedIn,, and HubSpot.

We’ll also explore how to achieve your career goals through actionable steps you can take to level-up and become a stronger, more effective leader.

Let’s begin.

What is a leader?

Before we dive into how to become a leader, it’s important we cover what a leader is.

At its most basic definition, a leader is someone who leads a group of people towards a common goal through inspiration, motivation, and strong vision setting.

For instance, a teacher leads her students towards the goal of learning and uses motivation and inspiration to help them reach that goal.

The motivation and inspiration aspects are key. A leader isn’t just someone who barks orders and hopes people obey. Instead, an effective leader is highly emotionally intelligent and connects with his or her direct reports to create stronger relationships before driving the group towards change.

Additionally, a good leader is someone who is effective at big-picture strategizing, and equally adept at communicating that vision to the rest of the team.

If you’re still unsure what a leader is, here are a few quotes from leaders who’ve defined the term for themselves:

Now that we’ve covered a more broad, basic definition, let’s explore some skills, traits, and qualities of good leadership to understand the definition on a more actionable level.

The Skills, Traits, & Qualities of Good Leadership

Good leadership looks different for every leader. Some leaders are quiet and calm; others are rambunctious and extroverted. There isn’t a specific personality that lends itself best to effective leadership. And that’s a good thing — at its core, leadership is about leading people, and people are diverse, so you want your leadership teams to reflect that diversity.

However, there are a few specific skills, traits, and qualities that have been identified as strong indicators of good leadership.

A few high-level leadership skills include:

  • High emotional intelligence
  • A growth mindset
  • Strong communication skills
  • Reliability
  • Ability to give and receive feedback
  • Decisiveness

To learn more about leadership skills (and how to improve them), take a look at What Are Leadership Skills? [+ How To Get Them].

For now, let’s explore which skills are most relevant for various leadership roles.

Leadership as an Individual Contributor

You don’t have to manage a team to be a leader. Instead, many individual contributors are strong leaders who need to develop leadership skills to manage projects or outcomes.

As an individual contributor, it is oftentimes your responsibility to have influence across the organization to drive projects across the finish line. This includes having the confidence to convince stakeholders that what you’re doing matters to the organization, and that you’re the best leader for the job.

Some of the most critical skills of an individual contributor include strong communication skills, time management skills, ability to work autonomously, and ability to collaborate effectively.

Here are a few specific examples of how individual contributors might need to demonstrate leadership skills:

  • A social media marketer spearheading a new campaign across channels.
  • A website designer who is in charge of re-designing the new company homepage.
  • A blogger who notices a gap in an existing editorial strategy and wants to pitch a new topic cluster to leadership.
  • A product marketer who needs to work with various teams to drive traffic and leads to a new product launch.

All of these employees need strong leadership skills — including the ability to empathize, remain flexible, listen actively to other team’s agendas, and communicate their own vision effectively — and yet, none of them lead a team in a traditional sense.

To develop leadership skills as an individual contributor:

Learn to seek out feedback from the employees with which you work. Once one project is complete, ask them to complete a survey that requests information related to your time management skills, communication skills, or collaboration skills.

Leadership as a Manager

Once you’re a manager, developing leadership skills becomes more a practice of trial-and-error.

To develop or strengthen key leadership skills, you’ll want to request regular feedback from each of your direct reports, as well as your manager, to determine areas for improvement. Ask clear, actionable questions such as, ‘What is one thing you’d like me to start doing? (Specific examples are helpful)’ and ‘What is one thing you’d like me to stop doing? (Specific examples are helpful)’.

Additionally, take the time to reflect on situations to determine how you might shift your behavior moving forward. Good leaders are the first to admit their mistakes.

For instance, if you’re managing an entry-level employee and recognize you didn’t give her enough context or support before suggesting she meet with her first client, you’ll want to reflect and decide how you’ll change moving forward.

Then, in your 1:1, you can tell her: “I apologize for pushing you into a client situation without ensuring you had all the context and information you needed to succeed. Moving forward, I’ve altered our team training schedule to ensure employees have more time to find their footing before meeting with a client.”

Finally, as you move into a manager role, take the time to identify your management style. Understanding your management style can help you uncover inherent strengths (and weaknesses), and expand upon those.

To develop leadership skills as a manager:

Ask your direct reports for candid, honest feedback. Reflect on situations and iterate on your behaviors over time. Finally, identify your management style and be self-aware about your areas for improvement.

Leadership as a Senior Manager and Above

When you become a senior manager, your job shifts significantly — because you’re now leading a team of managers.  

To be effective as a senior manager, you’ll want to ensure you know how to ask the right questions. In skip level meetings, for instance, you might be speaking with employees who feel intimidated and hesitant to point out issues they’re seeing on the ground-level — but their perspective is invaluable for spotting weaknesses within the organization.

Skip level meetings can also help you determine which areas your direct reports might need coaching, as well as patterns of challenges and inefficiencies across the team.

As a senior manager, it’s also your responsibility to identify and nurture future leaders. Seek out opportunities to coach and mentor lower level leaders to ensure your organization is prepped with leaders who can drive positive change.

Finally, a senior leader is someone who motivates and inspires the department at-large with visions of the future of the company — two, five, and even ten years out. She is someone who is able to clearly articulate where she sees the business, and industry, headed, to create a sense of purpose among employees.

To foster this skill as a senior manager, you’ll want to be intentional about staying up-to-date with the competitive landscape and consistently making note of existing customer pain points and how your company might reduce friction and stay relevant in the years to come.

To learn more about this, take a look at How to Set & Achieve Marketing Objectives in 2021.

To develop leadership skills as a senior manager or above:

Practice the art of active listening and asking the right questions to discover weaknesses and gaps in your organization. Keep up-to-date with the competitive landscape. Find mentors or senior manager peers who will provide you with leadership feedback, and attend conferences or seminars to network with other industry leaders.

How to Achieve Your Leadership Career Goals

1. Identify your leadership style, and know your strengths and weaknesses.

Leadership isn’t one-size, fits-all. So when you first decide you want to become a leader, it’s vital you take the time to determine what type of leader you want to be.

If you’ve never been in a leadership position before, you can start by taking a leadership style assessment to determine your style.

Alternatively, if you have been a leader in a previous position (even informally), take a look at The 8 Most Common Leadership Styles & How to Find Your Own [Quiz] to see which style you feel you fit most accurately.

For instance, let’s say you’ve determined you fit a ‘Coach-Style Leadership’ style. Coach-Style leaders are focused on identifying and nurturing individual strengths of each team member.

Since Coach-Style leaders focus on growth and success of individual employees, it’s vital you’re efficient at communication and relationship-building.

Alternatively, if you felt better suited for a ‘Strategic Leadership’ style, you’d want to hone skills related to strategic, big-picture thinking.

Once you’ve figured out your leadership style, it becomes easier to identify areas for improvement and areas of potential weakness.

To create a more comprehensive list, take the time to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses (and collect external feedback as well) — this can help you determine, with your manager, which areas of growth will be most necessary before you can earn a leadership position.

2. Seek out opportunities to become a role model or mentor.

To become a leader, you’ll need to vocalize to your manager that you want to become one. Then, he or she can help you identify opportunities to begin practicing leadership informally.

Alternatively, try seeking out those opportunities for yourself. There are a myriad of ways to test out your leadership skills. Perhaps you sign up to become a mentor to a new employee, or grab coffee once a week with a new team member to provide guidance and support.

Outside of work, you can look for areas in your community to become a leader. For instance, you could volunteer as a mentor for a local high school.

3. Develop your communication skills.

A core tenant of strong leadership is good communication skills.

Leadership requires you to communicate constantly with various stakeholders, effectively sell them on your goals or vision, and create rapport to build trust among your team.

In a given day, a leader might go from a meeting with executives in which she needs to communicate the resourcing needs of her team, to a meeting with individual contributors where she needs to build trust, inspire, and motivate.

 All of which is to say: Good leadership and strong communication skills go hand-in-hand.

To develop stronger communication skills, you’ll want to start by practicing your active listening skills, learning how to assert your opinion in a helpful way, and asking for feedback from others on your existing communication skills. You might also seek out public speaking opportunities to strengthen your public speaking skills.

Empathy and emotional intelligence are equally critical to communicating effectively, and can help you build stronger relationships with colleagues.

For instance, let’s say a colleague comes to you with a problem. She expresses that she’s been overwhelmed and, as a result, won’t be able to meet the deadline you’d initially agreed upon for a project.

While you might be frustrated or even angry initially, empathy can enable you to put yourself in her shoes, and understand that missing deadlines can happen to all of us. Additionally, emotional intelligence can help you monitor your own emotions and react appropriately.

As a result of having empathy and high emotional intelligence, you might respond like this: “Thanks for letting me know, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve been feeling overwhelmed. We’ve all been there. Give me some time to think over how we can come up with a solution to ensure we don’t get behind on the project as a whole.”

Rather than reacting purely based on personal feelings, emotional intelligence ensures you have the skills to keep your emotions in-check and respond to situations in positive, effective ways.

4. Ask big picture questions and learn to think about strategy.

When asked, “What skills are vital to being a good leader?”, over ⅓ of HubSpot survey respondents reported ‘ability to think strategically and to think about the big picture’. That skill alone won out over communication skills, decision-making skills, and interpersonal skills.

Thinking strategically doesn’t happen overnight. When you’re in a role that requires you to be focused on ground level details, it can be difficult to suddenly pull back and analyze bigger trends, challenges, and solutions — but it’s vital for any leader to be able to do so.

Here are a few ways you can begin exercising that ‘strategic thinking’ muscle:

  • Ask more big picture questions in meetings, even if it’s not directly tied to your role. For instance, if you’re a social media marketer and you’re required to post Instagram stories for an upcoming product launch, you might explore questions such as, ‘Why did our executive team choose to focus on investing in development for this product in particular?’ ‘How will this product expand our value proposition?’ and ‘What narrative are we telling around this product and how it fits into our existing product stack?’
  • Expand your network outside of your immediate team. Grab lunches with members of the sales or services organization, and take the time to speak with those outside of your team. This will help you begin to understand what’s happening in other areas of the organization, what other teams are working on, and challenges other teams are facing.
  • Get organized with how you spend your time. While your day-to-day tasks are important, it’s equally vital you carve out intentional time to focus on bigger projects or professional development opportunities. To do this, you might block off one hour every other week to focus on personal brainstorming — during this time, you might write down a list of higher-visibility projects you’ve been wanting to test out, or seek out workshops and courses in your area that will help you develop skills that your team currently lacks.
  • Be willing to speak up. Beyond asking question in meetings, practice feeling comfortable sharing your own perspective or opinion. Show your colleagues you’re willing to communicate new ideas or get creative when it comes to existing strategies.

How to Become an Effective Leader Expert Tips

Research Credit: Lucid

5. Take on more responsibility.

To begin levelling up in your career, you’ll need to seek out additional opportunities to expand your skillset and demonstrate your willingness to grow professionally.

The easiest way to do this is to have an honest conversation with your manager in which you ask where the team’s needs are, and how you can help your team meet those needs. Alternatively, perhaps you’ve observed a weak spot on your team and you feel confident you know how to fix it — in that case, you might bring your proposal to your manager.

It’s vital you have buy-in from your manager since taking on more responsibility outside of your existing role could look unprofessional if your manager doesn’t know why you’re adding tasks to your plate.

If you’re interested in becoming a team manager, for instance, you might tell your manager: “I noticed we’re hiring a summer intern. If we don’t already have a plan in-place, I’m wondering if I could become the intern’s mentor or manager for the summer to strengthen some of my leadership skills?”

6. Go where the needs are.

I received this advice early in my career after I’d pitched a lengthy project to my manager. The pitch was strong — except my solution didn’t solve a big problem, it solved a small one.

My manager said, “It looks like you created this pitch with your own personal interests top-of-mind. While it’s always great if your passions can match business need, first and foremost, you need to work from the perspective of, ‘What will help our business the most?‘”

She had a point. After some reflection, I realized our team didn’t need infographics designed for blog posts as much as the team needed more SEO knowledge and input. Rather than looking for design courses, I pivoted and signed up for a workshop on SEO. It was less interesting (personally), but it impacted our business on a broader scale.

Effective leaders don’t just suggest random ideas when it suits them. Instead, they start by asking the right questions and analyzing existing weak spots. Then, they work to fill in those gaps and create real change for their organizations.

7. Practice self-awareness.

Self-awareness is an incredibly vital skill for any leader.

For instance, leaders who can see how their employees view them are usually more effective, and have stronger relationships with their employees. Additionally, self-awareness can help you correctly identify what you do well, and which areas you can potentially improve.

But if you think you’re already a master in self-awareness, think again. One study estimates only 10-15% of people are truly self-aware. And, even if you are self-aware, there is always opportunities to strengthen the skill.

In this context of developing leadership skills, self-awareness can help you:

  • Assess your current relationships with your colleagues, and how you might improve it. (Example: You recognize you were dismissive of another colleague’s ideas in a recent meeting, and she’s been avoiding you since. With that self-awareness, you can apologize for your behavior and practice more open-mindedness moving forward.)
  • Analyze your own internal thought patterns, and recognize which ones aren’t serving you, to build confidence. (Example: You feel imposter syndrome every time you present to your team, and you’re self-aware enough to know it’s because you’re constantly thinking, ‘I don’t deserve to be here’. As a result, you work on self-affirmation, and create a folder on your desktop of positive reinforcements from colleagues.)
  • Figure out which skills you lack that you’ll need to develop before moving into a leadership role. (Example: After some reflection, you realize you aren’t often honest about your mistakes, which can make you seem untrustworthy. As a result, you put effort into admitting when you’ve failed to your manager or team.)

8. Take the time for quiet reflection.

Becoming an effective leader doesn’t happen overnight. And, unfortunately, there’s no ‘end’ to becoming a good leader. For your entire leadership journey, you’ll continuously iterate and grow.

When setbacks and failure happens, it’s important you become adept at reflection. As you put these leadership tips into practice, take the time to regularly assess how you’re doing. Leadership is trial-and-error, and as you practice new behaviors to grow your leadership skills, you’ll want to determine which feel most authentic to you.

Ultimately, good leadership doesn’t mean mirroring what others have done. It means figuring out what works for your personality and style, and expanding on those innate qualities. Since authentic leadership is the single strongest predictor of an employee’s job satisfaction, it’s imperative you take the time to grow into a leader in the way that’s right for you.

1641266294 185 How to Become an Effective Leader Expert Tips

Why Goal Setting Is a Critical Component of Good Leadership

As you move into a leadership role, you might feel pulled in many different directions by stakeholders with different goals.

This is why setting goals is vital for leading a team successfully: It keeps you focused on what matters for your team.

When you create goals for your team, you’re effectively prioritizing what you will say yes (and no) to over a given period. Additionally, you’re ensuring your team clearly knows where they’re headed and how to get there — an essential component of good leadership.

Here are a few other reasons goal setting is a critical component of good leadership:

  • Goal setting helps you enable your employees to work more autonomously. If they know what results you’re expecting from them, it doesn’t necessarily matter when, where, or how they reach those.
  • Goal setting helps you stay focused on what matters most for your business. It ensures you don’t get distracted with quick wins, and instead remain fixated on long-term success.
  • Goal setting can spark more engagement from employees. If your employees understand the purpose and long-term vision behind their daily tasks, they’ll likely feel more motivated.
  • Goal setting increases a team’s creativity and collaboration. Once you’ve decided where your team is headed, you don’t necessarily need to dictate how to get there. Instead, empower your employees to brainstorm and test out interesting strategies to drive the team forward towards that goal. It’s more interesting — and likely more effective — to gather unique perspectives when driving towards a common goal.
  • It helps you know when to say no. When your employees come to you with interesting projects or experiments, it can be tempting to say yes. By setting clear team goals, you’re ensuring each team member uses their time intentionally in pursuit of that goal alone.

When setting goals, consider using a SMART framework to ensure your goals are clear, actionable, and specific.

The Eisenhower Matrix can also help you figure out which tasks are highest priority once you’ve determined your team’s short and long-term goals. The Eisenhower Matrix enables you to categorize your tasks in order of urgency and importance.

1641266295 670 How to Become an Effective Leader Expert Tips

Now that we’ve covered goal setting as a vital component of leadership, let’s explore a few other critical factors according to Google, LinkedIn,, and HubSpot.

What Makes an Effective Leader? Tips from Google, LinkedIn,, and HubSpot

1. Effective leadership is humbling. 

Anders Mortensen, Google’s Managing Director of Channel Partners, says effective leadership is humbling. 

He told me, “In my early years of leadership, I was focused on the what — the results — while my team was focused on the how. It took me six years to realize that you don’t define your leadership success, it’s defined by others, and the how matters more than the what.”

Mortensen adds that he believes your definition of team will either limit leaders, or elevate them.

“To become an effective leader,” Mortensen says, “you have to make people around you better. Success is collaborative and your definition of ‘team’ will either limit you, or elevate you.”

“The broader you define ‘team’, the more holistically you’ll lead, and you’ll become the bridge-builder that solves for the entire company, versus optimizing for just your own.”

Ultimately, being a good leader means more than delivering exceptional results. It also means consistently motivating and supporting your team — through the highs, but also through the lows. 

anders mortensen quote on effective leadership

2. Effective leaders show compassion and encourage authenticity.

Alyssa Merwin, Vice President of LinkedIn Sales Solutions, told me compassion is a key characteristic of effective leaders.

As Merwin puts it, “For many reasons, employees may struggle to show up as their full selves at work, creating barriers for them to be successful in certain parts of their roles. Whether because of caregiving responsibilities, mental health concerns, being part of an underrepresented group, or any other number of factors that make them feel different from the broader group, employees may experience increased stress of showing up to their desks — or Zoom, these days — on top of the pressure to perform in their roles.”

Employees desire the opportunity to show up as their authentic selves at work, which is a critical factor for long-term employee satisfaction and engagement. 

Merwin says, “To truly support their teams, it’s imperative that leaders not only recognize that these challenges may exist for some team members, but that they also commit to integrating diversity, inclusion, and belonging into their day-to-day operations.”

“Creating and enabling great cultures and welcoming environments is just the starting point,” Merwin adds.

“Effective leaders focus on how each individual team member is feeling and showing up to work, and they facilitate safe spaces for open discussion about how team members can better support one another.”

3. An effective leader is someone who walks side-by-side with their team. 

Effective leaders are able to provide strong, actionable support and guidance for their team. 

As Hila Levy-Loya, VP of Customer Success at, told me, “Being an effective leader is about choosing to walk side-by-side with your team — not forging ahead and looking back to check where they are.”

Being able to walk side-by-side, Levy-Loya adds, requires you to take the time to have deeper conversations with your team and understand their daily activities. “The first step in achieving this is to take the time to understand the details of your team’s work and what keeps them up at night. Get to know their day-to-day responsibilities and stresses, and in turn you will become trusted to lead an informed discussion with your team.”

hila levy-loya quote on effective leadership

Along with discussing your team’s responsibilities, you’ll want to remain transparent about the bigger picture — including your long-term vision and goals. 

Levy-Loya says, “The second step is granting your team access into your motivations so they can understand your ‘zoomed out’ view just as you do. Sharing the good, the bad, and the unknown creates an environment of trust and transparency that is crucial to achieving incredible results. With that ability to tap into each others perspectives, you and your team are able to pave the way together.”

4. An effective leader always assumes good intent.

Lisa Toner, HubSpot’s Director of Content Network, told me effective leaders always assume good intent, even when a team member makes a mistake. 

As she puts it, “No one sets out to make a bad decision or mistake. When it happens, they’re likely going to be more upset about it than you are, so no matter how frustrated you are, approach the issue with empathy, and calmly and supportively lead your team member towards a better outcome.”

“Always assume good intent,” Toner adds. “Reacting negatively will only knock their confidence in themselves — and you — in the long run.”

Ultimately, good leadership doesn’t happen overnight. To become an effective leader, you’ll want to consistently request honest, candid feedback from your direct reports, and practice self-awareness to recognize — and improve — your leadership weaknesses. 

Fortunately, your direct reports don’t expect you to be perfect; they expect you to be human. Be humble, admit when you don’t know, and collaborate with your team to leverage each person’s expertise — all of which will bring you that much closer to truly leading effectively. 

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AI driving an exponential increase in marketing technology solutions



AI driving an exponential increase in marketing technology solutions

The martech landscape is expanding and AI is the prime driving force. That’s the topline news from the “Martech 2024” report released today. And, while that will get the headline, the report contains much more.

Since the release of the most recent Martech Landscape in May 2023, 2,042 new marketing technology tools have surfaced, bringing the total to 13,080 — an 18.5% increase. Of those, 1,498 (73%) were AI-based. 

Screenshot 2023 12 05 110428 800x553

“But where did it land?” said Frans Riemersma of Martech Tribe during a joint video conference call with Scott Brinker of ChiefMartec and HubSpot. “And the usual suspect, of course, is content. But the truth is you can build an empire with all the genAI that has been surfacing — and by an empire, I mean, of course, a business.”

Content tools accounted for 34% of all the new AI tools, far ahead of video, the second-place category, which had only 4.85%. U.S. companies were responsible for 61% of these tools — not surprising given that most of the generative AI dynamos, like OpenAI, are based here. Next up was the U.K. at 5.7%, but third place was a big surprise: Iceland — with a population of 373,000 — launched 4.6% of all AI martech tools. That’s significantly ahead of fourth place India (3.5%), whose population is 1.4 billion and which has a significant tech industry. 

Dig deeper: 3 ways email marketers should actually use AI

The global development of these tools shows the desire for solutions that natively understand the place they are being used. 

“These regional products in their particular country…they’re fantastic,” said Brinker. “They’re loved, and part of it is because they understand the culture, they’ve got the right thing in the language, the support is in that language.”

Now that we’ve looked at the headline stuff, let’s take a deep dive into the fascinating body of the report.

The report: A deeper dive

Marketing technology “is a study in contradictions,” according to Brinker and Riemersma. 

In the new report they embrace these contradictions, telling readers that, while they support “discipline and fiscal responsibility” in martech management, failure to innovate might mean “missing out on opportunities for competitive advantage.” By all means, edit your stack meticulously to ensure it meets business value use cases — but sure, spend 5-10% of your time playing with “cool” new tools that don’t yet have a use case. That seems like a lot of time.

Similarly, while you mustn’t be “carried away” by new technology hype cycles, you mustn’t ignore them either. You need to make “deliberate choices” in the realm of technological change, but be agile about implementing them. Be excited by martech innovation, in other words, but be sensible about it.

The growing landscape

Consolidation for the martech space is not in sight, Brinker and Riemersma say. Despite many mergers and acquisitions, and a steadily increasing number of bankruptcies and dissolutions, the exponentially increasing launch of new start-ups powers continuing growth.

It should be observed, of course, that this is almost entirely a cloud-based, subscription-based commercial space. To launch a martech start-up doesn’t require manufacturing, storage and distribution capabilities, or necessarily a workforce; it just requires uploading an app to the cloud. That is surely one reason new start-ups appear at such a startling rate. 

Dig deeper: AI ad spending has skyrocketed this year

As the authors admit, “(i)f we measure by revenue and/or install base, the graph of all martech companies is a ‘long tail’ distribution.” What’s more, focus on the 200 or so leading companies in the space and consolidation can certainly be seen.

Long-tail tools are certainly not under-utilized, however. Based on a survey of over 1,000 real-world stacks, the report finds long-tail tools constitute about half of the solutions portfolios — a proportion that has remained fairly consistent since 2017. The authors see long-tail adoption where users perceive feature gaps — or subpar feature performance — in their core solutions.

Composability and aggregation

The other two trends covered in detail in the report are composability and aggregation. In brief, a composable view of a martech stack means seeing it as a collection of features and functions rather than a collection of software products. A composable “architecture” is one where apps, workflows, customer experiences, etc., are developed using features of multiple products to serve a specific use case.

Indeed, some martech vendors are now describing their own offerings as composable, meaning that their proprietary features are designed to be used in tandem with third-party solutions that integrate with them. This is an evolution of the core-suite-plus-app-marketplace framework.

That framework is what Brinker and Riemersma refer to as “vertical aggregation.” “Horizontal aggregation,” they write, is “a newer model” where aggregation of software is seen not around certain business functions (marketing, sales, etc.) but around a layer of the tech stack. An obvious example is the data layer, fed from numerous sources and consumed by a range of applications. They correctly observe that this has been an important trend over the past year.

Build it yourself

Finally, and consistent with Brinker’s long-time advocacy for the citizen developer, the report detects a nascent trend towards teams creating their own software — a trend that will doubtless be accelerated by support from AI.

So far, the apps that are being created internally may be no more than “simple workflows and automations.” But come the day that app development is so democratized that it will be available to a wide range of users, the software will be a “reflection of the way they want their company to operate and the experiences they want to deliver to customers. This will be a powerful dimension for competitive advantage.”

Constantine von Hoffman contributed to this report.

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Continue Reading


Mastering The Laws of Marketing in Madness



Mastering The Laws of Marketing in Madness

Mastering The Laws of Marketing in Madness

Navigating through the world of business can be chaotic. At the time of this publication in November 2023, global economic growth is expected to remain weak for an undefined amount of time.

However, certain rules of marketing remain steadfast to guide businesses towards success in any environment. These universal laws are the anchors that keep a business steady, helping it thrive amidst uncertainty and change.

In this guide, we’ll explore three laws that have proven to be the cornerstones of successful marketing. These are practical, tried-and-tested approaches that have empowered businesses to overcome challenges and flourish, regardless of external conditions. By mastering these principles, businesses can turn adversities into opportunities, ensuring growth and resilience in any market landscape. Let’s uncover these essential laws that pave the way to success in the unpredictable world of business marketing. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to integrate these insights into your career. Follow the implementation steps!

Law 1: Success in Marketing is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Navigating the tumultuous seas of digital marketing necessitates a steadfast ship, fortified by a strategic long-term vision. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Take Apple, for instance. The late ’90s saw them on the brink of bankruptcy. Instead of grasping at quick, temporary fixes, Apple anchored themselves in a long-term vision. A vision that didn’t just stop at survival, but aimed for revolutionary contributions, resulting in groundbreaking products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

In a landscape where immediate gains often allure businesses, it’s essential to remember that these are transient. A focus merely on the immediate returns leaves businesses scurrying on a hamster wheel, chasing after fleeting successes, but never really moving forward.

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A long-term vision, however, acts as the north star, guiding businesses through immediate challenges while ensuring sustainable success and consistent growth over time.

Consider This Analogy: 

Building a business is like growing a tree. Initially, it requires nurturing, patience, and consistent care. But with time, the tree grows, becoming strong and robust, offering shade and fruits—transforming the landscape. The same goes for business. A vision, perseverance, and a long-term strategy are the nutrients that allow it to flourish, creating a sustainable presence in the market.

Implementation Steps: 

  • Begin by planning a content calendar focused on delivering consistent value over the next six months. 
  • Ensure regular reviews and necessary adjustments to your long-term goals, keeping pace with evolving market trends and demands. 
  • And don’t forget the foundation—invest in robust systems and ongoing training, laying down strong roots for sustainable success in the ever-changing digital marketing landscape.

Law 2: Survey, Listen, and Serve

Effective marketing hinges on understanding and responding to the customer’s needs and preferences. A robust, customer-centric approach helps in shaping products and services that resonate with the audience, enhancing overall satisfaction and loyalty.

Take Netflix, for instance. Netflix’s evolution from a DVD rental company to a streaming giant is a compelling illustration of a customer-centric approach.

Their transition wasn’t just a technological upgrade; it was a strategic shift informed by attentively listening to customer preferences and viewing habits. Netflix succeeded, while competitors such a Blockbuster haid their blinders on.

Here are some keystone insights when considering how to Survey, Listen, and Serve…

Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty:

Surveying customers is essential for gauging their satisfaction. When customers feel heard and valued, it fosters loyalty, turning one-time buyers into repeat customers. Through customer surveys, businesses can receive direct feedback, helping to identify areas of improvement, enhancing overall customer satisfaction.


Engaging customers through surveys not only garners essential feedback but also makes customers feel valued and involved. It cultivates a relationship where customers feel that their opinions are appreciated and considered, enhancing their connection and engagement with the brand.

Product & Service Enhancement:

Surveys can unveil insightful customer feedback regarding products and services. This information is crucial for making necessary adjustments and innovations, ensuring that offerings remain aligned with customer needs and expectations.

Data Collection:

Surveys are instrumental in collecting demographic information. Understanding the demographic composition of a customer base is crucial for tailoring marketing strategies, ensuring they resonate well with the target audience.

Operational Efficiency:

Customer feedback can also shed light on a company’s operational aspects, such as customer service and website usability. Such insights are invaluable for making necessary enhancements, improving the overall customer experience.


Consistent surveying allows for effective benchmarking, enabling businesses to track performance over time, assess the impact of implemented changes, and make data-driven strategic decisions.

Implementation Steps:

  • Regularly incorporate customer feedback mechanisms like surveys and direct interactions to remain attuned to customer needs and preferences.
  • Continuously refine and adjust offerings based on customer feedback, ensuring products and services evolve in alignment with customer expectations.
  • In conclusion, adopting a customer-centric approach, symbolized by surveying, listening, and serving, is indispensable for nurturing customer relationships, driving loyalty, and ensuring sustained business success.

Law 3: Build Trust in Every Interaction

In a world cluttered with countless competitors vying for your prospects attention, standing out is about more than just having a great product or service. It’s about connecting authentically, building relationships rooted in trust and understanding. It’s this foundational trust that transforms casual customers into loyal advocates, ensuring that your business isn’t just seen, but it truly resonates and remains memorable.

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For instance, let’s talk about Oprah! Through vulnerability and honest connections, Oprah Winfrey didn’t just build an audience; she cultivated a community. Sharing, listening, and interacting genuinely, she created a media landscape where trust and respect flourished. Oprah was known to make her audience and even guests cry for the first time live. She had a natural ability to build instant trust.

Here are some keystone insights when considering how to develop and maintain trust…

The Unseen Fast-Track

Trust is an unseen accelerator. It simplifies decisions, clears doubts, and fast-forwards the customer journey, turning curiosity into conviction and interest into investment.

The Emotional Guardrail

Trust is like a safety net or a warm embrace, making customers feel valued, understood, and cared for. It nurtures a positive environment, encouraging customers to return, not out of necessity, but a genuine affinity towards the brand.

Implementation Steps:

  • Real Stories: Share testimonials and experiences, both shiny and shaded, to build credibility and show authenticity.
  • Open Conversation: Encourage and welcome customer feedback and discussions, facilitating a two-way conversation that fosters understanding and improvement.
  • Community Engagement: Actively participate and engage in community or industry events, align your brand with genuine causes and values, promoting real connections and trust.

Navigating through this law involves cultivating a space where authenticity leads, trust blossoms, and genuine relationships flourish, engraving a memorable brand story in the hearts and minds of the customers.

Guarantee Your Success With These Foundational Laws

Navigating through the world of business is a demanding odyssey that calls for more than just adaptability and innovation—it requires a solid foundation built on timeless principles. In our exploration, we have just unraveled three indispensable laws that stand as pillars supporting the edifice of sustained marketing success, enabling businesses to sail confidently through the ever-shifting seas of the marketplace.

Law 1: “Success in Marketing is a Marathon, Not a Sprint,” advocates for the cultivation of a long-term vision. It is about nurturing a resilient mindset focused on enduring success rather than transient achievements. Like a marathon runner who paces themselves for the long haul, businesses must strategize, persevere, and adapt, ensuring sustained growth and innovation. The embodiment of this law is seen in enterprises like Apple, whose evolutionary journey is a testament to the power of persistent vision and continual reinvention.

Law 2: “Survey, Listen, and Serve,” delineates the roadmap to a business model deeply intertwined with customer insights and responsiveness. This law emphasizes the essence of customer-centricity, urging businesses to align their strategies and offerings with the preferences and expectations of their audiences. It’s a call to attentively listen, actively engage, and meticulously tailor offerings to resonate with customer needs, forging paths to enhanced satisfaction and loyalty.

Law 3: “Build Trust in Every Interaction,” underscores the significance of building genuine, trust-laden relationships with customers. It champions the cultivation of a brand personality that resonates with authenticity, fostering connections marked by trust and mutual respect. This law navigates businesses towards establishing themselves as reliable entities that customers can resonate with, rely on, and return to, enriching the customer journey with consistency and sincerity.

These pivotal laws form the cornerstone upon which businesses can build strategies that withstand the tests of market volatility, competition, and evolution. They stand as unwavering beacons guiding enterprises towards avenues marked by not just profitability, but also a legacy of value, integrity, and impactful contributions to the marketplace. Armed with these foundational laws, businesses are empowered to navigate the multifaceted realms of the business landscape with confidence, clarity, and a strategic vision poised for lasting success and remarkable achievements.

Oh yeah! And do you know Newton’s Law?The law of inertia, also known as Newton’s first law of motion, states that an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion… The choice is yours. Take action and integrate these laws. Get in motion!

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Intro to Amazon Non-endemic Advertising: Benefits & Examples



Intro to Amazon Non-endemic Advertising: Benefits & Examples

Amazon has rewritten the rules of advertising with its move into non-endemic retail media advertising. Advertising on Amazon has traditionally focused on brands and products directly sold on the platform. However, a new trend is emerging – the rise of non-endemic advertising on this booming marketplace. In this article, we’ll dive into the concept of non-endemic ads, their significance, and the benefits they offer to advertisers. This strategic shift is opening the floodgates for advertisers in previously overlooked industries.

While endemic brands are those with direct competitors on the platform, non-endemic advertisers bring a diverse range of services to Amazon’s vast audience. The move toward non-endemic advertising signifies Amazon’s intention to leverage its extensive data and audience segments to benefit a broader spectrum of advertisers.

Endemic vs. Non-Endemic Advertising


Let’s start by breaking down the major differences between endemic advertising and non-endemic advertising… 

Endemic Advertising

Endemic advertising revolves around promoting products available on the Amazon platform. With this type of promotion, advertisers use retail media data to promote products that are sold at the retailer.

Non-Endemic Advertising

In contrast, non-endemic advertising ventures beyond the confines of products sold on Amazon. It encompasses industries such as insurance, finance, and services like lawn care. If a brand is offering a product or service that doesn’t fit under one of the categories that Amazon sells, it’s considered non-endemic. Advertisers selling products and services outside of Amazon and linking directly to their own site are utilizing Amazon’s DSP and their data/audience segments to target new and relevant customers.

7 Benefits of Running Non-Endemic Ad Campaigns


Running non-endemic ad campaigns on Amazon provides a wide variety of benefits like:

Access to Amazon’s Proprietary Data: Harnessing Amazon’s robust first-party data provides advertisers with valuable insights into consumer behavior and purchasing patterns. This data-driven approach enables more targeted and effective campaigns.

Increased Brand Awareness and Revenue Streams: Non-endemic advertising allows brands to extend their reach beyond their typical audience. By leveraging Amazon’s platform and data, advertisers can build brand awareness among users who may not have been exposed to their products or services otherwise. For non-endemic brands that meet specific criteria, there’s an opportunity to serve ads directly on the Amazon platform. This can lead to exposure to the millions of users shopping on Amazon daily, potentially opening up new revenue streams for these brands.

No Minimum Spend for Non-DSP Campaigns: Non-endemic advertisers can kickstart their advertising journey on Amazon without the burden of a minimum spend requirement, ensuring accessibility for a diverse range of brands.

Amazon DSP Capabilities: Leveraging the Amazon DSP (Demand-Side Platform) enhances campaign capabilities. It enables programmatic media buys, advanced audience targeting, and access to a variety of ad formats.

Connect with Primed-to-Purchase Customers: Amazon’s extensive customer base offers a unique opportunity for non-endemic advertisers to connect with customers actively seeking relevant products or services.

Enhanced Targeting and Audience Segmentation: Utilizing Amazon’s vast dataset, advertisers can create highly specific audience segments. This enhanced targeting helps advertisers reach relevant customers, resulting in increased website traffic, lead generation, and improved conversion rates.

Brand Defense – By utilizing these data segments and inventory, some brands are able to bid for placements where their possible competitors would otherwise be. This also gives brands a chance to be present when competitor brands may be on the same page helping conquest for competitors’ customers.

How to Start Running Non-Endemic Ads on Amazon


Ready to start running non-endemic ads on Amazon? Start with these essential steps:

Familiarize Yourself with Amazon Ads and DSP: Understand the capabilities of Amazon Ads and DSP, exploring their benefits and limitations to make informed decisions.

Look Into Amazon Performance Plus: Amazon Performance Plus is the ability to model your audiences based on user behavior from the Amazon Ad Tag. The process will then find lookalike amazon shoppers with a higher propensity for conversion.

“Amazon Performance Plus has the ability to be Amazon’s top performing ad product. With the machine learning behind the audience cohorts we are seeing incremental audiences converting on D2C websites and beating CPA goals by as much as 50%.” 

– Robert Avellino, VP of Retail Media Partnerships at Tinuiti


Understand Targeting Capabilities: Gain insights into the various targeting options available for Amazon ads, including behavioral, contextual, and demographic targeting.

Command Amazon’s Data: Utilize granular data to test and learn from campaign outcomes, optimizing strategies based on real-time insights for maximum effectiveness.

Work with an Agency: For those new to non-endemic advertising on Amazon, it’s essential to define clear goals and identify target audiences. Working with an agency can provide valuable guidance in navigating the nuances of non-endemic advertising. Understanding both the audience to be reached and the core audience for the brand sets the stage for a successful non-endemic advertising campaign.



Amazon’s venture into non-endemic advertising reshapes the advertising landscape, providing new opportunities for brands beyond the traditional ecommerce sphere. The  blend of non-endemic campaigns with Amazon’s extensive audience and data creates a cohesive option for advertisers seeking to diversify strategies and explore new revenue streams. As this trend evolves, staying informed about the latest features and possibilities within Amazon’s non-endemic advertising ecosystem is crucial for brands looking to stay ahead in the dynamic world of digital advertising.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on all things Amazon, but if you’re looking to learn more about advertising on the platform, check out our Amazon Services page or contact us today for more information.

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