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The deprecation of Google Analytics (as we've known it)

Third-party cookies are going the way of the dodo. The looming cookieless world has many marketers more than a little nervous. With Universal Analytics sunsetting and the rise of what’s being called Google Analytics 4 in its place, digital marketing analytics can be a confusing place, so let’s make things clear… and know that I even got some input from Google digital marketing evangelist Avinash Kaushik too!

The changes with Google Analytics 4

Google announced that Universal Analytics will officially retire and stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. Marketing teams have until that point to find analytics alternatives for website analytics. Google analytics alternatives exist, but Google is making things simple for you to stay. Universal Analytics will be replaced by Google Analytics 4. After the official retirement date, you’ll have access to your previously processed data through UA for at least six months.

What makes Google Analytics 4 different from UA, though? The measurement data model is now based on events and parameters. A page view, for example, is an event. A parameter would be tracking video views or page scrolling for example. Here is a long list of automatically collected events and parameters, with no effort required from you.

For those who’ve used it before, you might recognize App + Web since Google renamed it for use as the replacement for Universal Analytics. For those not familiar with App + Web, there are a few key differences between it and the outgoing UA, including a selection of different reports. 

The dawn of a world with no cookies

Cookies have been used for decades to track internet users and deliver a personalized experience. They’re also vital to digital marketing. Google threw a wrench in the works when the company announced that they would phase out third-party cookies from Chrome by 2022. It sent publishers and advertisers into tailspins as they worried about how they’d deal with a cookieless world.

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Of course, there’s some news that might surprise the people who are most worried about their fate once Google makes good on its promise. They’ve been living in a quasi-cookieless world for some time now. Both Firefox and Safari block third-party cookies already. Google is, admittedly, late to the party. Of course, since Chrome commands over 60% of the browser market, the news had more impact than when the other two browsers stopped supporting third-party cookies.

Why are all the major browsers no longer supporting third-party cookies? It’s all about protecting privacy, ensuring transparency, and building trust with consumers. The challenge is going to be how to continue building your audience online without them. Meanwhile, rest assured that first-party cookies will still work.

The following formats and channels are not affected by cookie industry changes:

  • In-App inventory.
  • Audio/podcast inventory.
  • Connected TV.
  • Digital Out-of-Home. 

Targeting not affected

At our agency, when running media, we use the following targeting strategies based on either second party data or Device ID/IP Address, to not be affected by upcoming industry changes:

  • Device ID lookback targeting.
  • Point-of-Interest targeting purchase.
  • Purchase receipt.
  • Mail domain.
  • B2B offline data.
  • Weather-triggered targeting.
  • CRM integration (postal address, email address, IP address).
  • Geo-fencing/geo-targeting.
  • Blocklist/allowlist.
  • Contextual keyword .
  • Vertical.
  • Day-parting.
  • In-language.
  • App detection.
  • Social hashtags/account follows.
  • Automatic content recognition.
  • Voter-file targeting.
  • Social sharing.

The Crux of the Problem: Identity 

The entire point of cookies is to identify a particular consumer online. With third-party cookies being phased out, you’re faced with the quandary of how to continue to target and reach your digital audience. Most U.S. marketers face significant worries here, particularly when it comes to the following:

  • Buy-side adoption.
  • Maintenance.
  • Transparency.
  • Yield.

There’s also concern that whatever new identity solutions are ultimately rolled out; they may not dovetail well with the current tools and platforms that you’re using. The good news is that several identity solutions have already emerged, although there is no clear winner amongst them. For instance, universal IDs are being considered (and rolled out by some organizations, such as The Trade Desk). These work similarly to state-issued identification/driver’s licenses in the real world. All participating companies can then use this ID to identify and target their audiences across the internet.

Another option is to shift toward first-party data. Most publishers and advertisers have access to quite a few channels that offer rich first-party data and maximizing the use of these channels would more than offset the loss of third-party cookies, which, despite their ubiquity, were never 100% accurate.

Two of those channels are email marketing and push notification marketing. Email marketing has been around for a very long time and has remained very effective, particularly for publishers and marketers seeking to gather email addresses and then reach audience members with targeted offerings. 

This is an opt-in channel, which means that consumers automatically have higher trust. It also delivers better ROI and improves yields, while upholding modern privacy standards. Email marketing is also simple to personalize, which speaks to the need to deliver an improved customer experience at all touch points.

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Push notifications are also a form of opt-in marketing, and they allow you to reach individuals via their devices. They offer the ability to send real-time alerts, and they can also help you gather additional first-party marketing data. 

Building your future

You already have access to a wide range of tools that can offset the loss of data from any third-party cookies. However, you still need to test to refine your campaigns and maximize your ROI. That can be challenging to do in-house but working with a trusted agency partner can help.

Don’t miss our June 7 Master Class: “Successfuly transitioning to Google Analytics 4”

Understanding the Importance of Google Analytics 4

With the demise of Universal Analytics on the horizon, it’s time to get up close and familiar with its replacement. Google Analytics 4 offers some pretty compelling benefits and advantages, and the learning curve is not particularly steep.

Be prepared

One thing to understand from the outset is that Google Analytics 4 doesn’t care about your historical data. It won’t import past data at all, nor can you access historical data through it. It will begin collecting data from the moment it is set up and you’ll have access to that information only. 

Simple to upgrade

While many platforms force you to jump through hoops to upgrade, that’s not the case with Google Analytics 4. Just go to google/com/analytics. Once there, you’ll need to access your account and then find the property column. You’ll see an option for upgrading right there. Or go here.

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Better features for better performance

Another key benefit of Google Analytics 4 is that you’ll have access to better features than what’s currently on offer with UA. For instance, the new Analytics platform offers predictive analysis, as well as deep insights thanks to the presence of well-developed AI and machine learning. The new platform also generates custom reports, and you can track up to 300 events.

Google ads

Google Ads can be improved by pulling the performance data from GA4. It can help you have better ads created on your behalf, improve conversion rates, and more. Of course, assuming that your positioning and messaging of your ads are on point.  AI can’t help much with that.

Greater agility

Improved agility is critical in today’s world, and the new Google Analytics 4 offers what you need. You can tailor your reports to your unique needs, and you get faster access to more detailed data than what’s possible with UA. That means you can make decisions in real-time to deliver the best possible user experience. 

Exploring the differences between UA and Google Analytics 4

While both AU and GA4 share Google’s DNA, there are quite a few differences in how the two platforms operate. We’ll explore those below.

User tracking changes

With UA, you used session tracking to monitor users. That changes to event-based tracking with GA4.

What users are doing

That event-based focus extends throughout GA4. The goal here is simple – to give you the best idea of what your users are doing on the website. 

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Digging through your data

One of the high points of GA4 is the access to customizable, flexible reports. With UA, you have set reports that can be customized to some degree, but GA4 is different. It only offers a few top-level, built-in reports. Getting access to specific data is as simple as clicking on the analysis tab. You can easily find key data and organize how your reports display.

Lastly, you can access raw GA data and SQL away!

Can you upgrade early?

Yes, GA4 is available right now. You can upgrade at any time from your Analytics account. The 2023 date is specific for sunsetting the Universal Analytics platform, which will no longer be accessible after that date (although your data will be available for at least six months, as mentioned previously).

Event-based monitoring in Google Analytics 4

As discussed previously, GA4 uses event-based monitoring, unlike Universal Analytics, which uses a session-based format. It’s important to understand these events and how they are categorized so that you’re able to plan and structure your events. 

You will need to ensure that the event that you want is one of those the platform automatically collects. If not, it may be found among the Enhanced Measurement events. You may also need to check Recommended Events and how they are named. Finally, you can create custom events to better suit your needs.

The four event types

Google Analytics 4 is pre-configured with four different types of events. These are as follows:

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Custom events. These are events that you create on your own. These should be used if you are unable to locate your event in any of the other categories. Note that custom events may not show up in most standard reports, so you will need to customize your reporting to access this data.

Automatically collected events. Once you set up your data collection parameters, these events are automatically collected. They will show in most standard reports.

Enhanced Measurement Events. Once you set enhanced measurements, these events will be automatically collected. They will be displayed on most standard reports, as well.

Setting up Google Analytics 4

If you’ve decided to take the plunge, or you’re just getting prepared for the big day ahead of UA’s sunsetting date, you’ll want to know how to get Google Analytics 4 set up. Thankfully, it’s relatively simple.

  • Make sure you have a GA account. If you don’t, now’s the time to create one.
  • Go to Google Analytics.
  • Click on settings admin.
  • Find the property column.
  • Select the UA property.
  • Click GA4 setup assistant.
  • Click “get started” below the heading that says, “I want to create a new GA 4 property”.
  • Enable data collection using existing tags.
  • Click “create property”.

Follow those simple steps and the setup wizard will take care of the rest. 

Is GA4 missing any features?

While Google does a great job of regularly introducing new features, the company does sometimes take tools and capabilities away, often with little warning. So, what’s missing in Google Analytics 4?

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  • You cannot set up views.
  • Some older reports are missing.
  • There’s a lack of e-commerce support.

According to analytics expert and author Avinash Kaushik,  this new platform is a work in progress. After a direct communication with him, Avinash assured me: “Life is about evolution, in that spirit GA 4 has a lot of new stuff that is good, it prepares for a future where privacy changes (like those at Apple) don’t completely kill analytics, and has a new paradigm that scales. Of course, some things are not yet there, but they will get there.”

He went on to detail: “With the integration into Big Query, GA 4 should allow you to take a lot more detail out of GA if you want. And (for enterprise-level brands), if you are using GA Premium ($150,000/year USD), I don’t know if you are losing a lot with the switch.  Adobe Analytics is a good alternative to GA as well.“ 

He also shared a good source of alternative platforms to consider.

What is interesting is how the highest hit-type metrics focus on the next step in a customer journey compared to universal analytics:

  1. Engaged Sessions.
  2. Engagement Rate.
  3. Engaged Sessions Per User. 
  4. Average Engagement Time.

This seems to point to showing us when a visitor actually becomes important to measure so we can focus our energies better.  Tire-kickers, be gone!  I am a big believer in qualitative metrics to dig deeper into meaningful answers on user behavior — so bring it on.


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Should you make the switch now?

Tracking on G4 only starts tracking the day you implement it. While you can switch over to GA4 right now, there’s nothing that says you cannot use both Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4, at least for the time being. That might be the best way to get your feet wet and it allows you to compare them side-by-side. With that being said, there will come a time when you must switch over to GA4 and say goodbye to UA. However, if you’re new to Google Analytics entirely, it’s probably best to start with GA4 since it will eventually replace Universal Analytics.

In summation

It’s highly recommended that brands take advantage of the ability to move to Google Analytics 4 soon. If you haven’t already done so, get your GA4 properties set up and configured. Doing so early will help you avoid any delays and ensure that your marketing efforts are ready to hit the ground running when UA finally retires. 

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This will also allow you to find ways to deal with the data that UA currently stores, and experiment with email marketing, push notification marketing, and other solutions to the lack of third-party cookies. And remember – Universal Analytics will stop functioning (other than for access to historical data) on July 1, 2023. 

Personally, I will deeply miss the granularity of UA but we are also moving into an era where we’ve had all this data, yet we’ve hardly used it, let alone understood how it impacted our bottom line.  This new, streamlined version seems to be moving us towards a sharper view of what is happening in your business and getting a clearer answer, faster.

The Google Analytics platform is moving away from simply being a reporting tool. It’s beginning to use AI to do what corporations hire me to do, which is: To be a change agent and tell sharper stories with their data to help clarify where the opportunities are, as well as predicting where things are headed, all while taking action to get there as fast as possible.  

GA4 may be the future of measurement, but don’t forget…analytics in general are more like your car’s speedometer, while your brand is the car engine itself. Obviously a car can work fine without a speedometer but not the other way around!  Your brand is the actual engine that actually moves your organization, but if only you fully leverage it.  I wish some of you were more panicked about your brand and creativity, than your analytics — if I’m being really honest. 

Forrester analyst, Jay Pattisall, said that we have collectively overspent (an unbelievable) $19 billion on technology and have completely underfunded creativity.  At the end of the day,  accessing data is hardly the problem, since your analytics does not fix anything on its own. Once you are done with the work of analysis, you still need talent, experienced with storytelling, to engineer a solution to move your insights towards impacting predictability to your bottom line.  


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

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About The Author

1647382971 437 Building a brand strategy Essentials for long term success

Allen Martinez has $25 billion dollars of media spend behind his career’s work. He works as a fractional CMO and Chief Strategist at Noble Digital agency, which he founded. Allen knows how data is done and can translate data into meaningful and compelling stories to supercharge brands in the digital age. He has launched and even exited all types of brands – from funded platform startups like: Fundrise and Telesign, to SharkTanks like: Plated and big brands like New Balance, Mutual of Omaha, Coca-Cola, Subway, Nestle, and AT&T to name only a few. Allen continues to leverage Noble Digital as a platform to launch, scale and exit products and brands.

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MARKETING

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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MARKETING

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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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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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MARKETING

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

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Commerce


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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