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Where will you be a year from now?



Where will you be a year from now?

I know how you feel right now. It’s the end of 2021 — at last! If you work in retail, you probably want to be anywhere but here and are reading this while you’re on a lunch break, stuck in traffic or zoning out on yet another video call.

So I might be asking a lot from you now, but take a minute to think about where you’ll be this time next year. 

These last two years have been a slog. Everybody has been talking about digital transformation this, fluidity that, agility here, pivoting there, and we’re all just trying to get the next campaign out the door and make our numbers for the year.

And then on top of all that let’s pile on another year of COVID craziness, of relentless news cycles that make one half of the world wonder if the other half has lost its damn mind. 

Is it any wonder that we’re also experiencing the Great Resignation, where millions of workers have either walked away from their jobs or got laid off and then didn’t come back when businesses opened up again?

I want to end 2021 talking about the Great Resignation, and my comments are intended for two audiences: marketers and other workers who are wondering what will come at them next in 2022, and their bosses to make sure they understand that this is what their employees are thinking about now.

3 ways to prep your career in 2022

1. Find a balance between work lives and personal lives

The Great Resignation resonated for many marketers. The way we balance our work lives and personal lives got shaken up in 2020, and now we’re looking for new ways to balance the two. 

“Work-life balance” could rapidly become a cliché because everybody’s talking about it. But it matters because people have realized over the last two years that their lives are out of balance, and they want to fix that.

Employers have been talking for years about how their companies offer workers a great work-life balance, but the people who work there say it’s absolute chaos. Working five days (if you’re lucky) and having two days off is not a sustainable balance if you have to work 20 hours a day and then answer calls and emails on your days off.

People have reached their breaking points, and they are looking for a better balance. Their jobs are no longer everything. The prevailing attitude is “If my company doesn’t respect me, why should I respect the company?” They’re asking their employers to demonstrate what work-life balance means.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming we all have the same expectations. Work-life balance needs to be defined in concrete terms. It should be as important, and as easy to understand, as your salary, vacation pay and benefits.

For employers: Define what “work-life balance” means to you and work at creating conditions that help your employees achieve it. And ask your own bosses the same questions your employees are asking you.

The Great Resignation is happening not because of what you have done. It’s what you haven’t done. Too many companies have not given their employees a collective break or the value they’ve earned. They laid off many valuable employees in 2020 and overloaded the survivors with work beyond their skill-sets. They have not assessed how their corporate changes affect the people who have the least authority to deal with the after-effects.

Employees are telling their bosses, either in person or by leaving, that they have had enough. A friend told me recently they quit so they could have a life and be able to enjoy it.  

They don’t want work to define them anymore.

A year from now, will you have made changes that give you a better life?

2. Make yourself attractive to other offers

One trend fueling the Great Resignation is people who are just looking to see what else is out there. They’re asking, “What will get me excited to get out of bed?” It’s easy to fall into a rut with our jobs, the day-to-day struggle to make sense of a changing world, to cope with schedules, meetings, politics and anything else stressing us now.

But being open to new opportunities can be refreshing. The best career advice I ever got came from when I was early in my career: Always take the interview. Maybe you weren’t really looking. Maybe it’s not for a job you ever thought you would want. It doesn’t matter.

Meeting with someone who’s interested in you keeps you fresh. It helps you practice your interview skills for the day when you are serious about finding a new job. And it’s good to understand what companies are looking for these days and how your skill set would fit in with that.

I have taken interviews even when I’ve been happy in my job, working with a good team and nothing is going wrong. But a compelling offer would be enough to turn my head. 

Plus, it’s an ego boost to be sought out. Those calls reinforce my decisions about my career and where it has gone. It can boost your value at your present job if word gets around that people are checking you out. 

A good friend recently did that. Took the interview with no expectations. Turned out, the company really wanted him and gave him almost double his salary among other things.

As the saying goes, “Look for a job while you have a job.” Take the interview. Talk to a headhunter, or to the HR person calling you because one of your colleagues or clients recommended you. 

Before you sign out for the day, go to your LinkedIn profile and update it. (I do this regularly. Check it out.) When you have time, update your formal resume, the one you upload on Indeed or The Ladders. 

A year from now, will you have been more open to new opportunities?

3. Boast a little

This is hard for marketers. We’re so project-driven that when one job is done we move on to the next without stopping to talk about the goals we achieved, the work we shepherded from concept to completion, and all the ways our companies have prospered because we did more than just send another email campaign.

That’s not right. If you’re an an email marketer, you drive the leading channel in the digital space. You should shout all the time about the great things you accomplish every day.

Besides updating your work profiles and resume, start a list. Call it “Cool Stuff I Did.” Update it every time you score a win. Add it to your resume. Share it with your boss when you ask for more money and remind your team members to create and update their own lists.

When I work with clients to help them get more funding for their programs, I help them talk about all the great things they’re doing and the value they bring to their organizations. 

In most companies the attitude outside the marketing team toward email is just “Send another email.” But if you boast about it enough, if you highlight your accomplishments and the revenue and return on investment that you achieve with it, you can persuade the powers that be that email is a valuable channel to invest in. 

Your executive team is looking for investable strategies. Sell your channel as vigorously as you sell your company’s products, and ask for the pat on the back because you are doing some frickin’ cool stuff.

A year from now, will more people know about the great things you’re doing in email?

For employers: Pretend your employees are reading this advice. How does that change your management style? I’ll wait…

Wrapping up

I’m not encouraging everybody to walk off the job right now. But when it’s late December 2022, I hope you have been able to make changes that put you in a better place.

Me? I want COVID to be manageable at last. I don’t want to feel weird when I go to conferences. I want to continue the career of my dreams. 

I have been blessed with an amazing career and to work with some spectacularly brilliant people. But I have done the slog, too, felt the blood, sweat, tears and frustrations. Seven years ago, I made a conscious decision to not just accept what was given to me. I stuck up for myself and determined that I deserved a better work-life balance, pay that reflects my worth and contributions, and the opportunities and positions that came along with it. 

This major mindset change put me in control of my career and life.

What I wish for you over the next 12 months is that you can say the same thing. Stand up for yourself. Demand a better work-life balance because you aren’t a robot. 

Happy holidays. See you in 2022, and as always, don’t let the zombies win.

About The Author

As the co-founder of, Ryan Phelan’s two decades of global marketing leadership has resulted in innovative strategies for high-growth SaaS and Fortune 250 companies. His experience and history in digital marketing have shaped his perspective on creating innovative orchestrations of data, technology and customer activation for Adestra, Acxiom, Responsys, Sears & Kmart, BlueHornet and infoUSA. Working with peers to advance digital marketing and mentoring young marketers and entrepreneurs are two of Ryan’s passions. Ryan is the Chairman Emeritus of the Email Experience Council Advisory Board and a member of numerous business community groups. He is also an in-demand keynote speaker and thought leader on digital marketing.

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The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling



The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling

Storytelling is an art.

Not a process, method, or technique. And — like art — it requires creativity, vision, skill, and practice. Storytelling isn’t something you can grasp in one sitting, after one course. It’s a trial-and-error process of mastery.


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How to Blog When You Have No Time



How to Blog When You Have No Time

Finding the time to blog is a frequent challenge for many marketers. Marketers often wear many hats and it can be difficult to focus long enough to churn out quality articles when you’re pressed for time.

How to blog when you have no time? We spoke with author and marketing expert David Meerman Scotton how to avoid common time management mistakes by developing a routine.

No matter what you’ve got on your marketing plate, it won’t get done without proper time management. Learning how to make the most of your time will greatly affect your productivity and overall success as a blogger.

Why is blogging time management important?

When it comes to creating content, maintaining consistency is key. This is why blogging time management is so important. You may not always feel motivated to create on a regular basis, but establishing a schedule will help you to stay consistent with your blog output.

For example, you may find that you’re better at writing in the mornings. So you can set aside 2 to 3 hours each morning to work on writing based on how many articles you’d like to produce each week.

Create a content calendar to help you plan your content in advance and set reasonable deadlines. Make note of holidays or seasonal events that may impact your content schedule.

Getting organized will help you set and achieve goals for your blog. If you’re starting from scratch, check out our guide to starting a blog.

How to Blog When You Have No Time

1. Use blog templates.

An easy way to jump-startyour creative process is to start with a template. Why suffer through writer’s block staring at a blank document if you don’t have to? HubSpot’s free blog post templatescan help you format your article and get started writing faster than starting from scratch.

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Templates function as an easy to follow outline where you can organize your thoughts and start to flesh out your content. HubSpot’s offer includes six templates ranging from how-to posts to pillar pages and infographics.

2. Develop a blogging routine.

In many ways blogging reminds David of exercising. In order to be successful at it, you will need to develop a routine. “It is programmed in,” David says. “It is about building it into your life and making it a second nature, like running in the mornings or doing yoga after work.”

Dedicate time each day to writing or allocate one to two designated writing days per week. Block time off on your calendar and turn off messaging apps to avoid interruptions while you write.

Once you’ve gotten organized and created a routine, you may find you had more time to write than previously thought.

3. Keep a list of ideas.

One way to save time coming up with content is to make sure you always have a running list of fresh ideas to work with. That way you’re not scrambling at the last minute for worthy topics.

Creating topic clusterscan help you flesh out your blog content strategy. A topic clusteris multiplearticles grouped by a shared topic or related topic. For example, you may have one pillar page that gives a broad overview of a topic. From there, you can create more in-depth, specific articles on related subtopics.

This will not only help you plan content but organize your site architecture as well.

4. Perform research prior to writing.

It’s much easier to write when you have all the pertinent information you want to include in one place. Research your chosen topic before sitting down to write and organize the information in a quick outline.

Include any keyword researchin this process so you can ensure your content aligns with what readers are searching for online. This way when you sit down to write, your only job is to write — not look up new facts.

5. Don’t edit while writing.

When writing it’s very tempting to want to stop and make corrections. Don’t do this. It breaks your writing flow.

Instead, write a rough draft withjust pops into your mind first. Follow your train of thought without stopping to fix typos or edit. The goal is to just get your thoughts on the page. Once your initial draft is written, you can always go back and make changes.

6. Perform article updates.

Another strategy is to build upon existing content by performing an article update. Giving your older content a refresh is not only good for SEO and your readers, but it can be a quick win for adding new content in a time crunch.

With older content, you may need to include additional research and update it for accuracy, but it generally takes less time than writing a new article from scratch. Review your existing content. Are there articles you can do a deeper dive on? Have there been industry advancements you can include? Is there a new angle to explore?

7. Find content ideas wherever you go.

By making blogging a life routine, you will come across creative content ideas much more frequently. Keep an open mind, observe new things that interest you personally and find ways to turn them into fodder for a blog post. By noticing world dynamics that get you excited and relating them to your audience, the process of blogging becomes a lot more natural and fun.

Accumulate content ideas from different situations in life and find ways to apply them to your industry.

8. Hire a freelancer.

Sometimes your workload is just too heavy and your efforts can be better used elsewhere. If you have the resources and budget to do it, hiring outside help may also be a great option.

Sites like Upwork, Contenta, and MediaBistro make it easy to find writing professionals. If looking to generate content on a larger scale, consider working with a content agency.

Blog Like A Pro

Creating content with a consistent cadence is an obstacle busy marketers frequently struggle with. Creating a schedule and mastering blogging time management will allow you to create even when you’re short on time.

This article was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How clean, organized and actionable is your data?



90% of marketers say their CDP doesn't meet current business needs

A customer data platform (CDP) centralizes an organization’s customer data, providing a single 360-view of each consumer that engages with the company. Yet there are still data-related considerations that organizations have to make beyond what the CDP does.

“[CDPs] were designed to fill a need – to enable a marketer to easily get to the data they need to create their segmentation and then go on and mark it from that point,” said George Corugedo, CTO of data management company Redpoint Global, at The MarTech Conference. “But the issue is that CDPs really don’t take care of the quality aspects of the data.”

Maintaining data quality also impacts segmentation, campaigns and privacy compliance challenges for marketing teams that use this data.

Data quality

The data in a CDP depends on the quality of where it came from. Therefore, an organization using a CDP must also consider the quality of the data sources and reference files used to build out the CDP.

“The inevitable question is going to be, how good is this data?” said Corugedo. “How much can I trust it to make a bold decision?”

This is something that has to be on every organization’s radar. For instance, when identity resolution is used, the issue depends on the quality of the third-party reference files. If they are provided by a telecommunications company or credit bureau as the data partner, those files might only be updated quarterly.

“It’s just not an optimal solution, but every single CDP on the market uses some form of reference file,” Corugedo stated.

It’s up to the data scientists and other team members working within the organization to own the accuracy of these data sources.

Read next: What is a CDP?

Segmentation and other actions

The quality of the data using specific reference files and sources will vary and will impact the confidence that marketers have in creating segments and using them when deploying campaigns.

Marketers have to make this decision at a granular level, based on the trustworthiness of data from a particular lineage.

“If they have a campaign that is reliant on suspect data, they can actually delay that campaign and say maybe we wait until that data gets refreshed,” said Corugedo.

Otherwise, marketers are just “spraying and praying.”

Using rules instead of lists

The advantage of having a CDP is unification of all data. But the data is being updated all the time. Instead of deploying campaigns based on a fixed list of customers, the use of rules to define segments allows marketers to update who they engage in the campaign.

“A list, as soon as it’s detached from the database, starts to decay because it doesn’t get any updates anymore,” Corugedo, adding that using lists takes longer to execute a campaign.

Lower quality from data that isn’t updated can have serious implications for healthcare and other industries, where accuracy is essential. 

“Instead, rules are passed through the campaign just like they would be with a list, but those rules reevaluate every time there’s a decision point to make sure that only the qualified people get the particular content at that point,” Corugedo explained.

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Privacy and regulatory compliance

Maintaining data quality through a Redpoint Global dashboard, or a similar combination of tools and data personnel, will also help an organization manage privacy.

The crucial point is that people on the team know where the data came from and how it’s being used in campaigns. The stakes for sending out relevant messaging are high. Privacy and compliance issues raise the bar even higher.

If you’re using a CDP, you can save headaches and extra labor by using a tool that has compliance and privacy baked in, so to speak.

“What we’ve done is embrace some of this complexity and absorb it into the environment, so the marketer never even sees it,” said Corugedo. “What we do is with every implementation, we will implement a PII vault that keeps PII data super secure, and we can anonymize the marketing database.”

This way, personal information of individual customers (PII) is never violated.

“Marketers ultimately don’t necessarily need to have visibility to PII,” Corugedo explained “They like to see it for testing purposes and making sure that it looks right and everything, but the truth is we can do that in other ways without revealing PII.”

Having a handle on data quality adds to the confidence marketing teams have in creating segments and executing campaigns, and it can also help protect the customer’s privacy and guard against regulatory infringements.

Facts not fiction: Beyond the CDP from Third Door Media on Vimeo.

About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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