#3 – Focus on variables you can control (in life and in marketing)

by | Jan 31, 2024 | Newsletter Editions | 0 comments

Is it me or is the internet giving us more information than necessary? Maybe the algorithms know what piques our interest and the compounding effect of your habits only supports it. I’m subscribed to more newsletters than I’d like to admit, but I’m intentional about those subscriptions. 

I only want to take in information that I’ll practically use in some form or another, the rest is irrelevant. It’s easy to doomscroll the web and gaze through endless updates about…well, everything. 

More so than ever, being intentional about what we’re focusing on, is a must. Entertaining the vast majority of options we can do in our personal or professional lives, is a designation to burnout and unhappiness. 

The question is what should you focus on?

Asking that question is the right first step. We then have to be clear about our current state and forecast where we may be heading. Being able to focus on variables that you can control is a recommended venture into progress. Having too many options out of your control will only slow you down, it can even halt your movement. 

Story: As you all know, as of this newsletter posting, I’m on a job hunt. And while I cater to the roles in between a Growth/Performance/Digital Marketer, as most companies have different terms they use for what they need from the hire. They also have different ways of explaining the role, and sometimes, they don’t make as much sense (did an AI create this spec?).

I can easily get bogged down with the specifics of each job posting and start to think if I meet it 100%. And if I had that approach, I would overthink and likely wouldn’t have applied to it. 

Going back to controlled variables, what I do know is that I may not meet the spec 100%, but I can figure it out. And so I pitch, I interview and get one step closer to the goal of getting a job – irrelevant of the requirements (progress over perfection).

When I look at a job specification, there are only 3 questions I need to answer to dictate if it’s a fit for me (and if the company will see me as a fit):

Do I understand what the business is and how they make revenue?

Do I understand their current problems and how my role can positively impact or help solve them?

Do I believe in their proposition as a business and can I see myself developing my skills further?

Assuming it’s a yes on all three, I pitch. Irrelevant of if I 100% meet the job spec or if it’s a hybrid or remote role. Focusing on variables I can control, gives me leverage in deploying my resources (time and energy) a lot more efficiently. 

As a marketer here are questions that can help you create a sense of controlled output:

How can I justify the next campaign I will launch for the business?

What marketing KPIs should I focus on that ties either to increased revenue or increased customer acquisition or retention?

How can I progress my current skills so I can be of more value to my job/clients?

If this was my business, using my own money, how would I strategically deploy it across teams, channels and activations?

Do I truly understand marketing? Can I explain this in one sentence?

I feel close to securing a role, even though it has been 2 months of constant applying/interviewing. I’ve never seen the market this competitive, even with my background. That won’t stop me, because if I keep pitching and putting myself out there, something is bound to stick. That is a variable I control

What are variables that are in your control?

Is Everything an Ad Network?

Every influencer and thought leader will ”eventually’ be an ad network (if they choose to).

The ecosystem of the internet and many big tech companies gain a lot of their cash flow, not from its audience, but from selling ad inventory (ad space) to businesses. Selling data, to businesses, to be precise.

As these platforms are open for saturation since the barrier to advertising is nonexistent (unless you use those sneaky DSPs) – attention and preference from customers have slowly but surely gone to people. Causing all sorts of chaos and paradigm shifts for marketers.

While still in the early stages, business deals with influencers will only gain traction… as the old adage comes to full realisation:

“People buy from people” 

Actually, people buy with EMOTIONS. But that’s a story for another day.

I’m talking way beyond influencer marketing here. I’m talking about influencers who are digitally savvy and create a platform where their brand or business deals are a part of their business itself, naturally. 

Soon, we might even be seeing businesses buy ‘ad inventory’ from influencers and thought leaders, directly outside the use of social media platforms. 

Tangent: I wonder if there is a SaaS for this already 🤔

What’s your take and where do you see the future of influencer marketing heading into?

(Source 1: MDM)

(Source 2: The Drum)

Meta’s Updates to Detailed Audience Targetting

As I predicted, we’re now starting to see more ad tech platforms turn their audience targeting capabilities, less narrow and more broad. Meta’s recent announcement, states that they will now be either removing or consolidating (aggregating) some audience targeting options. Why?

For a myriad of reasons, including, some of the audience targeting can be deemed:

Not widely used


Too specific or granular

Too sensitive (health, race) 

We’re still yet to see if this will be detrimental to your campaign’s performance, but my inclination is that going broad in your target audience is the future, where AI (algorithm) will base your performance more on who they think is the right person to show ad impressions to. Sooner or later, we’ll all have to at least try out their new Advantage+ Audience targetting.

(Source: Meta)

Email Privacy as a Consideration

What I love about email marketing is that your engagement and conversion rates tend to be a lot higher than other marketing channels. The fact that you’re using 1st-party data (customers have permitted you to contact them), is an incredible leverage for any campaign initiative you want to launch and promote.

Unfortunately, Google and Yahoo are implementing stricter rules for emailing in bulk, which may affect your send rates. Both giants aim to reduce spam and tighten up security, which overall, is a good thing. Here is what else you need to know:

Email Authentication: Google is making it mandatory for high-volume email senders to authenticate their emails securely, without expecting users to understand the technical details. This will enhance email security and close vulnerabilities exploited by attackers.

Easy Unsubscription: Large email senders must provide a one-click option for Gmail users to unsubscribe from commercial emails, ensuring prompt processing within two days. These requirements are based on open standards, making it easier for everyone to manage their email preferences.

Reducing Spam: Google is setting a clear spam rate threshold that senders must adhere to, ensuring Gmail users receive fewer unwanted messages. This measure aims to keep inboxes cleaner and free from spam.

(Source: Beehiv)

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Content Marketing is a Business Strategy

Whether you’re a social media manager, SEO copywriter or graphic designer, you know that the value of content marketing is more than impressions. Having read Springboard’s Top 50 Content Marketing Brands of 2023, let’s take a look at some brands winning at content marketing;

Canon: Canon excels in offering a diverse range of content, from educational articles and ‘Meow-ditation’ sessions for photographers, to the Canon Co-Lab campaign showcasing visionary perspectives on photography, all while captivating its 3.5 million Instagram followers with a mix of artistic and user-generated content.

Go Pro: GoPro’s content hub and YouTube channel offer a thrilling and diverse array of content, from sport-specific tutorials and sustainability stories to awe-inspiring user-generated videos, showcasing their commitment to both adventure and environmental stewardship.

Duo Lingo: Duolingo’s content marketing expertly combines education and entertainment, using its playful brand voice across various platforms like podcasts, YouTube, and social media, and especially shines on TikTok with their iconic mascot, Duo the Owl, engaging Gen Z and Millennials through viral, humorous content.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn’s content strategy, aimed at professional development and knowledge-sharing, offers a diverse range of resources like blogs, certifications, and webinars, and effectively uses social media and their YouTube series ‘LinkedIn Role Models’ to engage and inspire a younger generation with relatable success stories.

Slack: Slack’s content, through its design-forward blog and YouTube channel, skillfully combines product updates, industry news, and human-interest stories with practical resources like webinars, focusing on enhancing work-life simplicity and productivity, and smartly integrates lead-generation tactics like gated content.

(Source: Springboard)

Garner’s Top 5 Marketing Predictions for 2024

Prediction 1: AI will increase creative talent spending, not reduce it

Prediction 2: CMOs will guard brands against deception unleashed by GenAI

Prediction 3: One-half of consumers will significantly limit interactions on social media

Prediction 4: Acoustic brands will differentiate themselves as AI-free

Prediction 5: AI will reduce brand visibility in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP)

(Source: Gartner)

Is Climate Tech a Dark Horse Vertical?

While most VCs and professionals are clamouring for AI, climate tech is in the race for funding and is booming in recognition. While these types of companies are heavily focused on the corporate side of marketing, I predict that when there are 1000s of climate tech products out in the market, marketers will be in serious demand for these companies. Most climate tech companies come from an academic or engineering background, they could care less about sales and marketing… until they have to. 

(Source: TechCrunch)

Google is Taking Our Cookies and IDs

As of January 4, 2024, Google is officially disabling 3rd-party cookies. As marketers, we now have to better understand and utilise our first-party data. This will pose a massive challenge for marketers who don’t have volumes of data to play with. What will happen if you’ve built all your retargetting campaigns based on a cookie, for e.g. Meta Pixel? 

Now is the time to utilise smarter ways of acquiring and utilising data, in this case, using server-side tracking. While 3rd-party cookies won’t entirely remove the use of cookies, it will affect the type of data a cookie may acquire. We’ll likely see platforms outside Google start to create smarter and more innovative ways of helping marketers attribute their campaigns…and their spend. (Source: Marketing Dive)

Google’s Privacy Sandbox Summarised for Marketers

The phasing out of 3rd-party cookies (pixel-based customer tracking)

By Q4 of 20224, all 3rd-party cookies are ‘planned’ to be fully removed

To replace third-party cookies, Google introduces a suite of tools to balance user privacy with marketers’ needs, using methods like aggregating user data (from Chrome and Android users) and keeping personal information on the user’s device.

(Source: Google)

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Worthy Reads

Global mobile ad spend to reach $402B in 2024 fueled by social, creators (Source: Marketing Dive)

Domestic humanoid backed by OpenAI closer to market after $100M raise (Source: TNW)

CMOs gain business savvy and confidence of CEOs, survey finds (Source: Marketing Dive)

2024 and beyond: Will it be economic stagnation or the advent of productivity-driven abundance? (Source: McKinsey)

Aftermath Of Google Ads Sales Layoffs Have Major Impact On Agencies, Brands (Source: MediaPost)

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