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What is email marketing and how are platforms helping brands succeed?

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What is email marketing and how are platforms helping brands succeed?

Despite being so well-established, email marketing continues to attract more investment. Global spending on email software is expected to climb from $4.5 billion in 2020 to $14.9 billion in 2027, according to Global Industry Analysts’ predictions. That represents a compound annual growth rate of 13.7% over that period.

Email growth continues to chug along because it delivers consistent and impressive results. For every dollar marketers spend on email marketing, they generate $36 in revenue, a Litmus survey of 2,000 email marketers found in 2020. (The company didn’t have ROI numbers for 2021 due to the uniqueness of the year.)

Depending on what industry you’re in, your company’s ROI could be even higher. Agencies in marketing, PR and advertising see a return of $42 for every $1 they spend on email, and businesses in retail, e-commerce and consumer goods are rewarded with $45 in revenue for each dollar spent.

email marketing roi by industry

The centrality of data and the need for updated technology

Email may have been around since the dawn of the internet, but the space doesn’t stand still. Email marketing, and the technology that enables it, have evolved to deal with challenges like spam and deliverability and also to take advantage of opportunities, such as the ever-increasing sophistication of data usage for hyper-personalization.

When MarTech surveyed marketers for the 2021 MarTech Replacement Survey, they said technologies for email distribution and for marketing automation (a chief component of which is email), were the two top martech categories they had replaced over the previous 18 months.

The most common reason given for replacing technologies was to take advantage of new and better features in a different solution. And the capabilities that took center stage involved data centralization and other data capabilities.

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What is email marketing and how are platforms helping brandsWhat is email marketing and how are platforms helping brands

Email marketing helps organizations acquire and retain customers, build businesses and make more money. Explore the platforms essential to email marketing in the latest edition of this MarTech Intelligence Report.

Click here to download!


The latest generation of email technology

When it comes to technology, maturity can be a disadvantage. New businesses can more easily leverage the latest capabilities of software development, while established firms may be saddled with legacy technologies and architectures.

Of course, technology players often introduce new features – some at a higher rate than others. But doing that on top of an aging infrastructure, while also keeping things running for an existing customer base, can be challenging.

The landscape of email marketing players comprises companies that started in the 1990s as well as those launched as recently as 2018.

The biggest recent change in the global environment, the COVID-19 pandemic, increased the importance of digital communications in general and email in particular. Studies by multiple email marketing providers indicate the overall volume of emails sent by marketers rose during the pandemic, as compared with before.

The personalization imperative amid data pressures

Marketers are trying to stand out in a crowded inbox by getting to know their customers and personalizing more messages to achieve greater relevance. But few marketers have the data they need to inform decision-making, a Capgemini survey found.

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Many developments are changing the data landscape, especially in data collection. For example, in an effort to safeguard its customers’ privacy, Apple in mid-2021 announced features in iOS, Mac OS and Watch OS that limit the data available to marketers.

The main impact of these changes on email marketers is the decline of the open rate as a meaningful metric. Because of the way emails are cached under Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection, emails appear to be opened when they actually have not been, skewing the results.

As a consequence, email marketing platform vendors are educating their customers and redesigning interfaces to deemphasize the open rate metric. Some have also been developing new reports and metrics to help marketers as they optimize their messaging.


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Everything you need to know about email marketing deliverability that your customers want and that inboxes won’t block. Get MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table.

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Enterprise email marketing platform capabilities

Email marketing platforms usually offer features for email creation and sending, but consolidation and integrations have added to what one might have once expected. Common capabilities of these platforms include:

  • Message design and creation
  • Workflow automation and collaboration
  • Message previewing
  • Email sending
  • Deliverability management
  • Data management
  • Ecommerce capabilities
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Third-party integrations
  • Automation and landing pages

Some providers may offer more advanced capabilities, such as:

  • More full-featured customer data platform functionality
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities leveraged through different parts of the platform

Here’s a breakdown of the top email marketing platform capabilities to look for that can help marketers succeed in their jobs.

Message design and creation

Providers typically offer a library of templates designed to simplify the process of message design and creation. The sophistication of these templates and the interface for using them differ from provider to provider, and most offer the capability for building your own templates from scratch.

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These builders usually feature either a drag-and-drop interface or a code-centric option using HTML or MJML, an open-source email-specific markup language created by Mailjet. Many providers let marketers choose from these interfaces and some incorporate technologies that enable interactivity such as AMP for email or CSS.

Workflow automation and collaboration

Some of these standalone designer tools have won customers by developing features that allow users to smooth their workflows – especially where it comes to working within a team or coordinating between a brand and its agency.

Many of the larger platforms also offer capabilities along these lines. For example, solutions oriented toward franchise businesses let licensors provide assets, templates and such to their franchisees to guide and support their local efforts.

Message previewing

Though previewing goes hand in hand with message creation, we’re discussing it separately because there’s so much specialization involved in this part of the process. One of email’s biggest challenges is that recipients view emails on a wide variety of platforms. For each of the platforms that run email software – mobile phones, browser-based inbox providers and desktop clients – there are multiple brands and possible interfaces.

This means the ability to preview how messages look in all of these types of inboxes is an important feature to look for in an email marketing platform.

Email sending

The majority of email platform providers send emails, but their technologies – both software and hardware – and approaches for doing so can differ. This has the most significant impact on marketers sending large volumes of emails or doing sophisticated personalization.

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More full-featured vendors may offer capabilities for managing and conducting SMS communications, as well, which have grown in importance in the COVID era, given their role in things like curbside delivery and other time-sensitive messaging.

Deliverability management

Email marketing platform vendors typically do a great deal to ensure the delivery of the messages they send. For example, tools that marketers use to preview emails can also warn them if the content of the email is likely to trigger spam filters so they can make changes before they send it.

Other deliverability measures include putting authentication protocols such as DKIM, SPF and DMARC in place, to reassure inbox providers that messages are not forged. A new protocol, called Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) has recently been gaining ground. When senders implement BIMI, a brand-controlled logo can appear next to a message in an inbox that supports the feature, adding to the message’s credibility and building brand recognition.

Email marketing platform vendors also build personal relationships with inbox providers, designating specialists on their teams to serve as liaisons with the biggest ISPs. Through these relationships, which often leverage technology integrations to collect feedback, they can keep up with changes and head off issues before they affect clients’ businesses.

Data management

The ways that email marketing platforms allow marketers to capture, analyze and act on data are
the areas of the greatest competition and differentiation between email marketing platforms.

The most sophisticated email marketing platforms, however, go well beyond this by incorporating CDP functionality. These systems gather data from your recipients’ interactions with your emails, but can also append information from a variety of on- and off-line touchpoints, as well as third-party data sources.

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Given marketers’ shift to prioritizing first-party data, an email address is often the most valuable information about a customer or prospect, especially because it can lead to gathering additional information.

Most email marketing platforms have tools that help marketers manage list hygiene, eliminating bounces and unsubscribes in keeping with regulations like CAN-SPAM. Some providers may also include tools to reactivate or unsubscribe addresses that have not interacted with your messages for a given period.

More sophisticated applications for data include audience building and segmentation, including the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to surface insights from big data stores.

Analytics and reporting

At a minimum, email marketing platforms offer reporting on things like delivery rates, clickthrough rates, bounces and unsubscribes. If you’re able to connect the platform to data from the point of purchase, or to other conversion events, you may be able to tie your email messages to specific returns.

E-commerce capabilities

Email is especially valuable to e-commerce, direct-to-consumer and multichannel retailers. Some providers offer functionalities created specifically for integration with e-commerce platforms, which enable personalization for cross-selling and upselling, as well as interactivity to allow purchases directly from an email message.

Third-party integrations

While, for many marketers, email is one of their most important channels, it’s unlikely to be the only one. Therefore, integrations with other marketing and business applications are critical. Most vendors offer integrations to other systems, but workflows are smoother within some interfaces compared to others.

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Automation and landing pages

Another feature offered in email marketing platforms is the ability to automate the sending of individual emails or series of messages, such as warm-up series, drip campaigns or messaging triggered by a particular recipient behavior (such as shopping cart abandonment, for example).

Like automation, the creation of landing pages tailored for individual marketing campaigns is another feature typically associated with marketing automation platforms.

The benefits of email marketing platforms

While any but the most nascent of businesses will likely have adopted some approach to email, given its centrality to business in general, adopting an enterprise solution offers many benefits. These may include:

  • Data unification across channels. Some email marketing platforms include full-fledged customer data platforms, but, even if they don’t, the customer databases associated with these systems can serve as a single source of truth across an organization. Such unification can provide businesses with a complete portrait of their customers, permitting them to leverage data for marketing, customer service and product development purposes. Platforms can also assist with compliance with CAN-SPAM and other privacy regulations.
  • A more unified technology stack overall. Most email marketing platforms offer extensive integrations with other business technologies, allowing companies to more easily work across silos.
  • Ability to identify more profitable audiences and segmentation strategies. The unified data trove gives marketers the opportunity to get to know their customers better, and also to identify lookalike audiences by connecting to additional data sources. Artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities can surface useful insights that marketers may not know to look for.
  • More efficient workflows. Every email message that’s meant to be delivered to an audience or segment typically goes through an internal review and approval process. Some email marketing platforms feature the ability to collaborate and obtain approvals within the platform, which is especially helpful for larger more-distributed organizations and those in more regulated industries. Franchises and other multilocation businesses benefit from even more complex systems aimed at sharing useful assets and establishing guidelines, while also allowing those closest to the customers to add valuable customization.
  • More personal and efficient communication with customers. Template design combined with data insights and segmentation can allow businesses to deliver more personalized, relevant and timely messaging. Automation and triggered-messaging features allow for more efficiency, as well. When systems include SMS or mobile notification options, this allows businesses to extend communications to those channels.
  • Improved deliverability and design of email messages. Email marketing platforms’ deliverability systems – both technological and relationship-oriented – can help businesses ensure their messages make it to the inbox. Once they arrive, design and preview features give marketers more control over how their messages appear, no matter where they are viewed.
  • Access to more advanced templating and interactivity. Interactive capabilities via AMP for email or CSS are more easily accessible with the help of email marketing platforms, allowing businesses to create more engaging messages with better return.
  • Better ability to measure return on investment (ROI) and more. Data and reporting capabilities can tie email messages to specific business goals, allowing marketers to optimize content and targeting to achieve the best possible results.

About The Author

Does your marketing team need a digital experience platform DXPDoes your marketing team need a digital experience platform DXP

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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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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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. 

1713005766 526 2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business1713005766 526 2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business

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.” 

1713005767 148 2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business1713005767 148 2 Ways to Take Back the Power in Your Business

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.


Disruptive Design Raising the Bar of Content Marketing with Graphic

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Roundel Media Studio: What to Expect From Target’s New Self-Service Platform

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By Tinuiti Team

Roundel™ Media Studio (RMS) has arrived, revolutionizing Target’s advertising game. This self-service platform offers seamless activation, management, and analysis of Target Product Ads, with more solutions on the horizon.

Powered by first-party data from both in-store and online shoppers, RMS provides new audience insights. Coupled with Target’s new loyalty program, Circle 360, advertisers gain precision targeting like never before.

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But Target isn’t stopping there. With the rollout of a paid membership program on April 7th, bundling Target Circle, the Circle Card, and Shipt delivery, Target is elevating its media and membership offerings to rival the likes of Walmart and Amazon.

Curious to learn more? We sat down with our experts at Tinuiti to dive deeper into the potential implications of this platform for brands and advertisers alike.

What is Roundel Media Studio?

Roundel™ Media Studio is an integrated platform that consolidates various solutions and tools offered by Roundel™. At its core, it kicks off with our sponsored product ads, known as Target Product Ads by Roundel™.

example of target roundel ad
Example of Target Product Ads by Roundel™
Image Source: Target.com

This comprehensive platform grants access to the complete range of Target Product Ad placements, featuring tailored slots like “More to Consider” and “Frequently Bought Together” to enhance relevance and personalization.

Moreover, Roundel™ Media Studio operates without any DSP or access fees for Target Product Ads, ensuring that your media budget is optimized to deliver greater efficiency, more clicks, and ultimately, increased sales.

“One of the larger benefits of the transition is that advertisers have an opportunity to capitalize on the additional dollars saved by switching to RMS. Without the 20% fee, brands can re-invest those funds to scale campaigns or optimize budgets, all without having to allocate more funds which drives better results. Roundel™ is putting more control in the hands of advertisers by introducing this new self-service platform.”

– Averie Lynch, Specialist, Strategic Services at Tinuiti

To summarize, key benefits of using RMS include:

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  • No Access or DSP Fees
  • All Target Product Ads Inventory
  • 1st Price Auction with Existing Floor Prices
  • Closed Loop Sales & Attribution
  • Billing via Criteo Insertion Order
  • Access Using Partners Online

How to access Roundel Media Studio 

According to Target, there’s 3 steps to access Roundel™ Media Studio:

Step 1. Check that you have a Partners Online (POL) account for access. Don’t have one? Reach out to your POL admin to get set up with an account (reach out if you need help locating your organization’s admin). 

Step 2. Once you have gotten access to POL, reach out to your Roundel representative who will grant you access to the platform. 

Step 3. Users can access Roundel™ Media Studio in 2 ways:

Roundel Media Studio Best Practices

Target offers a variety of tips on how to best leverage their latest offering to drive performance. 

Let’s take a look at the latest best practices for strategies such as maximizing efficiency or driving sales revenue. 

Recommended bidding tactics for maximizing efficiency:

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  • Set your line-item optimizer to Revenue for the highest return on ad spend (ROAS) or to Conversions for the lowest Cost per Order (CPO).
  • Since the Revenue and Conversions optimizers modulate the CPC you enter to maximize performance, it is useful to set a CPC cap to make sure that your bid will not exceed the maximum amount you wish to pay. The CPC cap should always remain at least 30% above the bid you enter to allow the engine to optimize effectively.
  • Set your bids competitively to balance scale and performance (ROAS or CPO) targets.
  • Optimize bids with respect to your CPO targets: lower CPCs slightly to increase efficiency, or raise them to increase scale

Recommended bidding tactics for maximizing sales revenue:

  • Set the line-item optimizer to Revenue.
  • Set bids to maximize scale and competitiveness while staying above KPI thresholds. Since the Revenue optimizer modulates the CPC you enter to maximize performance, it is useful to set a CPC cap to make sure that your bid will not exceed the maximum amount you wish to pay.
  • Adjust your bids progressively and preferably at the product level: filter the top products by Spend and then slightly reduce any bids that have a ROAS below your threshold.
  • In general, slightly lower CPC to increase efficiency or raise CPC to increase win rates and therefore increase sell-through.

Takeaways & Next Steps

This is just the start for RMS. In the future, Tinuiti will continue its partnership with Roundel to refine features and introduce additional ad types and functionalities.

When exploring any new advertising opportunity, the best results are typically realized when partnering with a performance marketing agency that understands the unique landscape. Our team boasts years of hands-on experience advertising in new and established marketplaces, including Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Working directly with Roundel, we ensure our clients’ ads harness the full functionality and features Target has to offer, with results-oriented scalability baked in.

Ready to learn more about how we can help your brand? Reach out to us today!

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