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Perspectives on Effective Leadership in 2021 and Beyond

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Perspectives on Effective Leadership in 2021 and Beyond

In an ever-changing business environment, strong leadership is essential to an organization’s survival and success. The competition is relentless and the threat of digital disruption looms large. Since 2000, half of Fortune 500 companies have breathed their last breath from not being digitally nimble.

As the world progresses, business leaders face challenges that didn’t seem like such a big deal even ten years ago. Here is a look at some key organizational issues worthy of your focus.

#1: Removing internal silos and increasing inter-departmental collaboration

Hyper-collaboration has entered the business lexicon and open office arrangements have become increasingly common. Yet, departmental silos remain in place, often to the detriment of companies seeking fast growth. Leaders face the challenge to break down these silos.

Redesigning the organizational structure is out of bounds for most organizations given how time-consuming and expensive it can be. Nurturing a silo mindset is a viable option. It involves promoting the idea that departments exist not to succeed as individual units but to serve other departments and to unify to move the organization forward. A concrete action would be to train people from different departments to engage effectively at interfaces. In this regard, new businesses can consider gaining useful guidance from a reputed provider of executive coaching in the District of Columbia.

#2: Remaining competitive in the war for talent

How successfully have you been able to attract the most talented and skilled employees to your company? In all industries, the war for talent is getting fiercer, and some businesses are at a disadvantage. Here’s why.

A lack of robust HR policies is proving problematic to recruitment efforts. To cite an example, not having a relocation package means you will miss out on a top-tier candidate. Outdated hiring practices are preventing companies from selecting the best candidates from the available talent pool. For example, a business may focus excessively on qualifications and not enough on 21st century skills like critical thinking, creativity, and flexibility. Or the hiring manager may schedule one too many interviews that antagonize applicants. A good starting point would be to revisit your HR policies and procedures, and investigate your hiring practices along with outcomes like attrition rate, individual and team performance, rate of innovation, and financial performance.

#3: Driving growth and innovation

Businesses today acknowledge the need to act quickly on ideas and keep the wheels turning with idea generation. A maze of rules and micromanaging people is counterproductive to these priorities. Our experience delivering executive coaching in Maryland also finds that they exhaust both managers and the managed.

Giving people autonomy and ownership over their work, and accepting new ideas easily are crucial to empowering people. The extent to which these actions deliver outcomes will depend on the quality of your workforce. Hiring talented, motivated, and passionate individuals can help you hit the ground running on your growth and innovation goals. For example, as HR manager, you can make it a priority to hire people who not only fit the bill as far as skills and work history are concerned, but also share the same values as your organization.

#4: Serving multiple stakeholders

Why do businesses exist? Even fifty years ago, this question would have elicited the following answer from most organizations: to make a profit and serve stakeholders’ needs. In 1970, the well-known economist Milton Friedman famously said that companies had no duty to serve their employees or to benefit the world. He argued that their duty was solely to maximize profits and minimize costs so as to generate the most value.

Friendman’s views would be shot down today. Indeed, the legendary management Peter Drucker said that while profitability is an absolute for businesses, it isn’t the sole reason for a business to exist. According to Drucker, profits give businesses ‘energy’ by supporting the core functions of marketing and innovation, and provide capital for more jobs and better jobs. Today, business leaders would argue that they are duty-bound to multiple stakeholders, from shareholders and employees to customers and communities. Profits enable businesses to do something new or better.

How do you go about satisfying multiple stakeholders? A results-focused program relating to executive coaching in Maryland would guide companies to develop a plan for managing multiple stakeholders. Companies could first identify stakeholders, determine their interests, manage conflicts of interest, define outcomes, organize communication, and implement reporting methods.

#5: Making the most of employees’ talents

You have hired top-level candidates. How effectively you leverage their talents will ultimately decide whether your superstar hires contribute to your business goals. They must be sufficiently engaged to perform to expectations in their role and remain with your company for a few years at least to make a sizable difference to your growth and innovation goals. For this, aligning engagement, performance, and employee development is paramount. A possible strategy would be to:

  • Understand the strengths of your people and use them to improve outcomes
  • Establish an effective performance management and reward system
  • Provide developmental opportunities to help employees grow their skills, including running leadership training programs

Developing identifiable career paths is a key aspect of retention plans. A lack of career growth is one of the top reasons why people leave their company. Making career development for promising employees a top-of-mind issue can help you avoid the revolving door of talent.

#6: Getting blindsided by disruptors

Gazing into your crystal ball to correctly predict the medium to long term future of your industry hinges on your willingness to watch trends, competitors, emerging services, and the business ecosystem, on a continual basis. You will also want to ask ‘what’s new?’, ‘what’s next?’, and ‘where can we improve?’.

Hindsight is not an option in our fast-moving business landscape; there is an urgent need to understand and act, as any executive coaching Maryland professional would tell you. A comprehensive business strategy and effective change management initiatives are critical to not just survive disruption but also thrive in a changing business environment.

Self-reflect to stay motivated and build stronger teams

Self-reflection is touted as a beneficial leadership practice, and for good reason. To err is human; we all have our weaknesses and implicit biases that can come in the way of making the best possible decisions allowed in our position of authority and power. Asking yourself why you did what you did and why you aren’t doing something that has its merits, will help you better understand the leadership areas you need to work on, biases to overcome, and gain clarity on your core values. It will mold you into a well-rounded leader and help you get comfortable around improving your leadership abilities throughout your entire life.

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

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

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

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

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

Display Ads

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

Companion Banners

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

In-feed Ads

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

Outstream Ads

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

Masthead Ads

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

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

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

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

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

Bumper Ads

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

In-feed Ads

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

Display Ads

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

Outstream Ads

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

Masthead Ads

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Amazon pillows.

(more…)

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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

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

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

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

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

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

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

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

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

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

Finally, trust

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

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

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