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The 5 Types of Social Media and Pros & Cons of Each (Research)

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The 5 Types of Social Media and Pros & Cons of Each (Research)

Marketers commonly use social media to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and improve traffic.

If you’re tasked with starting a social media strategy for your company, you might be wondering which type of platforms you should be on. Your platform choice will likely change based on your audience.

The list of social media platforms is growing, and well-known platforms like Facebook are always evolving and adding new features.

With a greater and greater need for a social presence and an overwhelming amount of platform choices, it can be hard to pick which social channels to use.

You might not want to spread yourself too thin by managing a channel on every imaginable platform, but you also don’t want to miss great brand-awareness opportunities.

To help you make informed decisions about which platforms to use, this post will guide you through some of the core types of social media, examples of platforms within each category, and the pros and cons that each type might present.

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By the end, you should have a much clearer idea of what kind of social media strategy will work for your business.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

Social Networking

Examples of Major Platforms

Social networking is possibly the most traditional form of social media.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are often called “networking” platforms because they allow user accounts to interact with each other in a variety of different ways.

Professional Uses

If you’re a small business, like a restaurant, a platform like Facebook could be a great place to start your social strategy. With Facebook, you can build a business profile that includes links to your website and details about your menu.

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Once your profile is all set up, you can post regular updates about your business, “like” other pages, and answer customer post comments or messages. Business profiles also allow other Facebook users to give you reviews.

You can also leverage Facebook’s community feature and set up a community page for customers to ask questions or rave about your products and services.

In fact, we found that businesses that leverage social media communities will see excellent results in the marketing strategy.

According to our State of Social Media Survey, 90% of marketers say building an active online community is crucial to a successful social media strategy in 2023.

This makes sense, considering our Consumer Trends survey found 20% of social media users joined an online community in the past three months, and 22% actively participated in one.

For companies looking to offer a professional service, B2B or publishing companies, LinkedIn is another great way to grow your following. LinkedIn emphasizes career-related networking.

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Brands looking to build an audience of professionals from a certain industry can create a business profile there, categorize it with an industry type, and then use posts and messaging to publish updates.

They can also use messaging and comment features to interact with their audiences, or users who comment on their posts.

A Twitter account could be helpful to companies in a wide spectrum of industries, from entertainment to e-commerce. This platform similarly allows you to create a profile where you can list and link company information.

You can then use Twitter to post about company updates, tag companies or customers in posts, retweet positive customer tweets, and respond to customer questions via tweet or direct messages.

Like Facebook, you can also post content like photos or videos.

On all three networks, users can easily communicate with others through simple actions like tagging, hashtagging, commenting, private messaging, reacting to posts, and re-sharing content.

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Aside from social interaction, newsfeeds on common social networking platforms are designed to show off a mix of text and visuals, rather than one primary content type.

This flexibility makes social networking platforms easy to begin a social strategy on because you can experiment with different forms of content before branching out to platforms that require more specific content types.

Here’s an example of Facebook’s newsfeed:

Facebook newsfeed

For those who want to dabble in video or graphics, these platforms could be a great place to test this new content.

With the growth of video marketing, many have begun to launch more advanced features like Facebook Stories and Twitter’s live streams.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have also started to encourage native video and photo uploads more heavily.

Recently, Facebook even adjusted its algorithms to favor live video and image uploads. This has caused these types of native content to gain greater user engagement.

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If you’re still not sure where to get started, check out our beginner’s guides for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Photo Sharing

Example of Major Platforms

One of the biggest platforms that specialize in photo sharing is Pinterest. Pinterest describes itself as a “visual discovery engine” for users looking for cooking, style, home decor, and general visual inspiration.

If you’re wondering why Instagram isn’t mentioned here — don’t worry! We’ll have more on that when we get to the video platforms. 

Like the social networking platforms above, Pinterest users on most photo-sharing platforms can interact with others through tags, likes, comments, or direct messages.

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Professional Uses

Photo-sharing platforms would be helpful to companies like restaurants or stores that want to take photographs, display content, and update followers about their food, goods, or products in a crisp, clean way.

Pinterest is well-suited for ecommerce companies, such as those who sell home goods, and businesses that would like a place to share crisp standalone product images with links.

It similarly offers a photo-based feed with posts that can include a photo and short description. The platform also allows all users to link directly to websites or product landing pages in posts.

One interesting aspect of the platform is that users can heart posts from others, or assign them to a themed “board.” For example, users might make boards centered around topics like “Inspirational Quotes” or “Bedroom products.”

Once a board is created, other users can also follow it. A business could potentially make a board with their own product posts, or find their products on another user’s board.

Here’s an example of what a board looks like:

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Pinterest Home and DIY board

Before getting started on a platform like Pinterest, you’ll want to determine whether your goal is to gain brand awareness or link-based traffic.

When choosing a platform, you may want to consider your content-related bandwidth. Both require visual imagery, but you might also need to include video creation within your strategy.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • These kinds of platforms help with brand awareness. Approximately 80% of Pinterest users say they’ve learned about products or services on the app.
  • Pinterest provides an outlet for showing off visual content or product shots.

Cons

  • Upkeep on these platforms might require a photo budget or dedicated production time.
  • Some platforms, require you to post from a mobile app.

Video Sharing

Examples of Major Platforms

Professional Uses

Roughly 88% of marketers say video gives them a strong ROI and 90% feel the level of video competition has increased.

Adding a video platform to your social strategy could make your brand look relevant and keep you up to speed with your competitors.

Video can be helpful to a wide range of industries. While a restaurant could have a vlog with cooking tips, a technology company might focus its video strategy around product demos.

To help you pin down a strategy that’s right for your industry and service, check out our video marketing guide.

When it comes to long-form video, YouTube is one of the leading platforms.

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While YouTube has the bigger audience base and better SEO capabilities, Vimeo’s smaller platform is very community driven.

YouTube also seems to have better opportunities for advertisers and monetization, while Vimeo offers viewers the perk of no pre-roll ads.

For a longer list of similarities and differences, check out this head-to-head piece where we compare the business capabilities of Vimeo and YouTube.

Along with YouTube and Vimeo, the more traditional social networking platforms have also begun to embrace video marketing more aggressively.

In the last few years, Facebook launched Facebook Stories and Facebook Live, and added a tab on their mobile app dedicated to video. Meanwhile, Twitter has allowed users to launch live video streams which are powered by its Periscope software.

Another top contender for video platforms is Instagram. You’re probably thinking, “But isn’t Instagram a photo-sharing app like Pinterest?”

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However, to compete with apps like TikTok, Instagram has shifted away from being a photo-sharing app.

In fact, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri clarified in 2021, “We’re no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app.”

While users can still post photos to Instagram, the platform mainly promotes Reels and video stories. It’s also worth mentioning that Instagram video posts are more than twice as likely to generate engagement than image posts.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Interactive Media

Examples of Major Platforms

Apps like Snapchat and TikTok allow users to share photos and videos, they also have a variety of unique interactive and highly experimental features.

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These two apps include AR/VR filters, musical overlays, and interactive games. Their audience bases are also prominently Gen-Z.

Professional Uses

Because mainly large companies are just starting to experiment with these new applications, marketers who are just beginning a social strategy don’t need to prioritize these interactive apps before traditional social networking platforms.

The large companies on these platforms tend to produce high production-level content. Brands with large followings might also publish Snapchat Stories, or videos that are curated from fans.

Without a high-budget or giant online following, these strategies might be difficult for a company that’s just starting out on social.

Brands and influencers on these apps tend to cater their content to the platforms’ younger audiences. For example, on Snapchat, you might see stories that present beauty tutorials, wellness tips, news, or trendy new products.

If you’re really interested in interactive media, there are still a few viable ways you could get involved with Snapchat or TikTok.

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While major brands, like VICE and BuzzFeed have become Snapchat Discover partners, the average business can still create a Snapchat business account that can be searched and friended by users.

This account allows you to send publish temporary stories, just like individual accounts can. However, those with a business account can also purchase ad space.

Here’s a comprehensive video that explains how to use Snapchat:

If you’ve set up an account, check out this guide to getting started on Snapchat.

TikTok, an app based around short, repetitive clips offers five types of advertising options for businesses. While large businesses may find value in all five, smaller businesses may lean more towards “In-Feed Ads.”

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These ads are 9-15 second clips that can be skipped by the user.

Guess is one notable brand that has used its account to create trending campaigns with trendy hashtags. Universal Pictures has also had influencers create posts to promote its films.

If you do test out these platforms, you might want to make sure your industry and content fits in with the young age demographic.

You should also try to properly estimate the time and money that might go into keeping these accounts up-to-date and relevant.

If you’re unsure of how short video ads can benefit your business, remember short-form videos have the highest ROI when compared to other video formats.

Furthermore, 54% of social media marketers report using short-form videos like TiKTok videos and IG Reels in their strategy.

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Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Producing regular content could be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Business accounts aren’t promoted up-front on the Snapchat interface. You may want to promote your channel on your website or other social channels because users will need to search for you with your Snapcode or username.
  • Snapchat and TikTok are limited to mobile and aren’t as easy to use.

Blogging/Community

Examples of Major Platforms

Tumblr and Reddit both allow users to post about interesting niche topics, like memes, events, politics, and pop-culture.

When users publish a post, these platforms allow other users to share them or add to the conversation with their own commentary.

Professional Uses

Both blogging and community building platforms could be helpful to those who want to encourage discussion around very niche industries or topics.

For example, on these platforms, you might see discussion about anything from alternative health to machine learning.

By blogging, you can write posts about topics in your company’s industry and link them to your product or site.

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While many people have a blog on their website, platforms like Tumblr might be great to use if you haven’t set this feature up — or just want to see what others in your industry are blogging about.

With a discussion site like Reddit, you could share a link or a post about a specific topic on a discussion board related to your industry and see how users respond.

You could also start your own board if a topic you’re looking to encourage discussion on doesn’t have one yet.

These two platforms specifically encourage web chatter and post shares from users that care about the same topics.

Both also allow users to follow you or subscribe to your blogs or Reddit boards so your content could show up on their feeds. Here’s an example of what Reddit’s feed looks like.

Reddit feed

When someone publishes something on Reddit, other users can up-vote or down-vote it. Up-voting makes a post show up higher in Reddit feeds while down-voting does the opposite.

On Tumblr, the feeds are organized by time. However, a post can show up higher when it is re-shared by other users. When a user shares or interacts with your Tumblr content, they give it a note.

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When they reshare, they have the option to post a comment with the post that gets added to a thread.

Here’s an example of how notes and threads can be used to encourage discussion:

Tumblr music recommendation thread

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Both platforms allow you to share text posts, photos, and videos about your business, brand, or individual thoughts.
  • These platforms enable you to start conversations about a topic.
  • Both platforms allow linking to outside websites.

Cons

  • Longer blog posts might take time to craft or write.
  • Getting downvoted on Reddit or no reaction from Tumblr users means your posts may go unseen.
  • Your audience might be too niche or limited to just those on the specific platform you use.

A Few Things to Consider

Before you start logging in and setting up your accounts on a bunch of platforms, be sure to consider these factors:

  • How much time do you have to devote to strategizing around a social platform?
  • Do you have resources for creating graphics or videos?
  • Do your goals involve boosting brand awareness, or traffic and revenue?
  • Will you need an additional staff member to run this platform, or will it be easy to maintain?

Once you’re on a platform or two, be sure to stay in the know of how it’s changing and what marketers are doing. For a current outlook, check out our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing.

social media content calendar

 



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5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

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5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

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

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

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

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

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

5 Psychological Tactics to Write Better Emails

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

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

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

Previously it read:

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

She tweaked one word, changing it to:

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

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

Boost participation email graphic

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

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

Here are the five best tactics I’ve uncovered.

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1. Show readers what they’re missing.

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

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

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

“Listen to this one”

In the loss aversion variant it read:

“Don’t miss this one”

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

Growth mindset email analytics

2. People follow the crowd.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Praise loyal subscribers.

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

I decided to test this in an email.

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

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

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

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

It worked.

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

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

4. Showcase scarcity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Email A/B test results

5. Spark curiosity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Email example

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

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

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

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The power of program management in martech

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The power of program management in martech

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

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

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

Programs in product management

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dig deeper: Understanding different product roles in marketing technology acquisition

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Programs in project management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dig deeper: Combining martech projects: 5 questions to ask

Programs in marketing operations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Embracing the power of programs for long-term success

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

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

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

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



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

Fuel for your marketing strategy.

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

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

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

2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business

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

Who informs your marketing strategy? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1) Knowing what you want protects the bottom line.

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

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

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

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

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

Consider the diagram below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1713005765 14 2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business1713005765 14 2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Knowing who You are Protects You from Reactivity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Operate with your head up and your eyes open. 

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

2. Am I allocating time in my schedule?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Include what is life-giving! 

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

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


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

3) Knowing who You are Protects You from Lack. 

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

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

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

I silently rolled my eyes.

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

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But I acquiesced. 

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

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

The book opens with the following story:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Look at how far you’ve come. 

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

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Celebrate the gain!

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


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

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

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

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In Conclusion…

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

Final thoughts as we wrap up: 

First, identify the root issue(s).

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

Second, align vertically.

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

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Third, keep the bottom line in view.

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

Fourth, maintain your mindsets.

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

Fifth, maintain humility.

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

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

The power lies with you and me.


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