Throughout my blogs you will undoubtedly hear me preach the need for automation across all areas of marketing as well as any operation. Yet, there are negatives to automation.

Look at your inbox right now (I know you won’t but at least imagine it?) How many of your emails are coming from real people? How many emails do you receive that you are emotionally attached to?

Commonly it is a very small percentage. Automated messages (especially in email) are so easy to create and are making it incredibly easy for marketers to reach an enormous amount of prospects in one send.

But at what cost?

Physical cost.. almost nothing. Email still remains one of the most cost effective mediums in marketing…

The cost of loyalty and attachment to a brand is the cost. They are costing companies more and more each year.

Throughout the digital transformation movement we have been looking for ways to automate the processes across all departments. Although in doing so we have also deteriorated the one-on-one relationships that were typically so important to make a sale.

On the plus side, the cost of acquiring customers has dropped but on the negative side, we are seeing the public lose their loyalty for brands more and more each year.

This is because we are no longer aiming to build a relationship, we are looking to push promotions, sales, and nurture campaigns all through automated messaging.

The truth is, every consumer knows what these emails look like, they have become numb to them and they tend to blend together in your inbox. At no point does someone feel like they are special to that brand in a mass email, because they always know that the email was sent to more than just them.

Many emails have attempted to move to plain text to solves this, but truly it is fooling no one, especially when the unsubscribe button is at the bottom.

Anyways, because of this tactic, consumers and businesses do not have the emotional connection with one particular brand, instead they are moving from brand to brand based on whatever variable means the most to them (this is commonly coming down to price).

This does not mean that you your business should shut down your automated messaging or your large email sends (they are most likely generating a positive ROI), but it does mean that you should be looking into initiatives to delight your customers, create one-on-one relationships, and drive emotion.

In a small business with limited resources it can be tough to build this one-on-one relationship effectively, here are a couple:


1. Personalization to the extreme

Every company is dropping in your contact details from a CRM into mass email cadences. These personalizations do wonders for open rates and click rates, but the truth is they nearly do nothing for loyalty.

In order to really build loyalty you need to show information that goes past the conventional informational plug-ins.

This type of information is typically something that you learned from a discussion and that is commonly a personal trait rather than a company trait. Such as; where you went to school, planned or previous vacation spots, etc. by referring back to these non-typical pieces of information, you prove that an individual is listening and a relationship is able to be established.

This can be easily done with just listening to your customers/prospects and maintaining your CRM. If you know your way around marketing automation, it is very easy to put in a workflow. (Automating works if nobody knows)


2. Presents / rewards (action based)

It feels like everyone has a loyalty program these days. Although do they really drive loyalty? I personally believe they only eliminate even competition but not truly create loyalty.

For example, I loved Delta Airlines. Even before being in their reward club, I preferred their service over any other airline. Even though they are giving me perks to fly with them, I am still cost sensitive. I will happily choose Southwest Airlines if they come in at a lower price.

My point here is that when a rewards program offers the sames incentives to everyone, you can strengthen the preference to use the product, but you do not gain die hard loyalty.

Building Die Hard loyalty takes one-on-one behavior. This can be easily done by sending gifts. Not the typically Holiday gifts companies send “Happy holidays from ABC Company” – that’s not personal at all.

Hungry? Here is the link.

Instead sending them gifts for things then never expected. Some of these events could be; hitting milestones that were not disclosed prior, big news that happened to their company (Google alerts can help you with finding those), promotions, etc.

By catching people by surprise with gifts shows them there is a one-on-one relationship and that they are far more than a typical customer.


3. Putting a face to a product

Think about your shopping experience, how often is another human involved. If you say “frequently” then one of us is shopping wrong.

eCommerce and large bx stores have made the customer service part of buying only there when you need it. Is this bad? Not for me. I wear giant head phones when I shop for a reason.

On a negative side, it makes it really tough to build an emotional connection. You never interact with a human, meaning whatever buy is just a product, which can most likely be found in numerous locations (AKA your competitors)

In an eCommerce setting we have noticed a huge growth in chatbots for this reason (seriously did Drift just become a massive company overnight?) But that is not enough.

Look to putting an actual human face to the experience of buying. Even better the same human face!

Through today’s marketing platforms you can assign a customer to a current employee and make that employee the name that sends emails, the face that is on chat, the one that is on a note in a shipment, etc. By building that one-on-one experience, you can drive a feeling of being a partnership, rather than just a product?

Did I miss other ways to get up in peoples’ personal space? Let me know in the comments below!

Let’s establish this one-on-one relationship

Starting with your email.

I would assume very few houses have been erected without a plan.
The truth is if you are looking to build a quality home, you do not just walk into Home Depot buy a bunch of plywood, two by fours, and nail gun and later end up with a house that your neighbors are all jealous of.
Every structure needs to have a well thought out plan before you start to invest time and money into it.
Architects need to plan for the climate and abide by regulations for every build, similarly, marketers must do the same.
Although many new business owners may think it is impossible to know what kind of marketing plan will help their business grow, there are a couple clear giveaways that will at least help guide to where the best return on investment may lie.
One question that typical marketers ask is
Are we B2C or B2B?
To be fair, this plays a large role in what channels you choose, a B2B marketer most likely will not have a great ROI through SnapChat or Instagram like a B2C marketing campaign would have.
Although, there is another simple question that plays a role in how a business should market, and that simple question is:
Is a business in a blue ocean or red ocean environment?
red ocean business is a company that has numerous competitors and the products and services are fairly well known.
A blue ocean business typically has few competitors (if any) and their offering is fairly unknown to the general public.

How does this help the marketing plan?

By knowing a business type leadership can assess what a typical customer looks like and their knowledge of your offering. This helps you identify your biggest objective.
If you are a red ocean product then your potential customers are most likely already searching for a product and you need to find ways to make yourself first in the hunt for their purchase, or make yourself look better than the competition.
On the other end, if you are blue ocean, very few consumers will be actively looking for your product, therefore your main objective should be to understand your potential buyer and inform them of your offering in their day-to-day lives.
Due to the fact that prospects are not actively looking for the product, marketers need to position themselves between their target market’s typical search and lifestyle.
This can be done through the following ways:

Be Adventurous

If you take only one thing away from this blog I hope it is this,
“Blue Ocean products are full of UNCERTAINTY.” 
What does this mean for your business? It means that nobody can tell a new blue ocean business that a certain channel will drive results. You can not apply typical marketing to this type of business, as it is not a typical business.
To find out the best way to drive revenue, try everything. 
I know what you are thinking – “Try everything? Being a tiny company, I do not have the ability to do it all.” 
But you do!
Small businesses have an extreme advantage, they have the ability to use almost the exact same technology as a large corporation but without the red tape around using it.
Making it easy for a small business to quickly make, test, and shut down campaigns, while automating the entire process to maximize reach, efficiency, and productivity.


Customers are not always easy to get, but once there are one or two they will give clues as to how to get more.
I am not talking about word of mouth as a marketing channel, but I am talking about listening to their journey of finding the business, what they were doing beforehand, what drew them to you, etc.
All of these items play a massive role in finding similar audiences, while giving the messaging to reel them in. 
By dropping these themes into current marketing channels marketers can narrow the target market and be more efficient with budget while of course growing revenue.

Follow the data

Although this goes against the previous paragraph, customers are not always right.
They give clues to help you build marketing, but Blue Ocean is FULL OF UNCERTAINTY.
What a customer says is still loaded with their own personal biases and personal experiences. So before a small business uses their agility and jumps into a large marketing spend due to customers’ suggestions, be sure to test what they are saying. 
What drives a good test? It is the same as what drives a great business, revenue. 
The use of marketing automation and CRMs have allowed almost any business to dive deep into their sales funnel and see what campaigns have had the highest return of revenue.
Although other metrics like leads, engagement, or reach are commonly correlated with revenue, they are not the causation of it and therefore they should not be seen as an indicator of success.
A business owner will always be attached to their customers and their own personal beliefs about how a company should be represented, but the best way to find success is through following unbiased data.

Disrupt the Red Ocean

Just because a business is Blue Ocean, does not mean you can not take sales from Red Ocean companies.
There are a lot of businesses that may offer similar products and/or speak to satisfying similar pain points, by aligning to those target audiences will undoubtedly make it easier to explain how your product works and its public need.
Creating Google audiences, targeting certain social followings, mimicking content, or advertising on specific company or product searches are great ways to jump in front of these audiences.



Blue Ocean companies, need to know 1 thing.. That nothing is certain, but by being adventurous, listening to customers, following data, and advertising to similar markets any business can learn your top channels for growth and grow quickly.


Here’s one way to decrease uncertainty.

One email – right to your inbox every Thursday

If you have met me in person, or read any of my blog previously, you will quickly find out that I am not a very serious person. I love to find humor in everything, whether it is at work, my personal life, or just myself.

For that reason, I fell in love with memes, the mix of humor and truth are typically responsible for a disturbing chuckle in the office. So I decided to make a collection of memes for sales and marketing..

If you end up not laughing at them.. those are probably the ones I made personally.. Don’t worry I am not offended.


TAKEN, your IP


We have all visited sites (if not run them ourselves) that do not like the idea of you bouncing from their site, or calling the relationship off by shutting down your browser.  They constantly remind you of your past experiences with digital ads spread across social media and other advertising networks.. Telling you to come back! Again, again, and again.


We got something to say, and we say it a lot.

There are very few marketing channels that offer the ability to send a direct message to a single client effectively.. Sadly, due to email being the medium with this magical power, people are always tempted to send off an email for everything, mass outbound, product updates, last-minute sales pitch to meet quota, newsletters, blog feeds, etc.

The truth is, with more communication sent the fewer people want to hear from you – boosting your SPAM ratings and unsubscribes.


Being clear, very, very clear.

As funny as this meme is, it holds truth. As marketers, we have been told to make very clear CTAs. Your CTA should at a minimum tell the audience what they do if they click, a sale? an ebook? a demo?

As for is the – “Click Here” – on a banner ad really needed? The better question is, “Can a person that does not understand how banner ads work, become a good customer?”


Chipping away at the competition.

I take the competition seriously. So much so that I click on every ad I see from the competition to get them to pay for it. I am sorry you all had to learn about my dark side.


“Just give me the SWAG and nobody has to get hurt”

Trade show attendees love free stuff, but not always the pressure of talking to a salesperson. I must admit, I am to blame for this too! I have gone to booths solely to get a cellphone power block, coffee, or something to eat with no intention of ever learning about the product.


Enjoy getting the eBook sent to your inbox.

As a marketer, we get excited when we see a lead come in. Sadly, a lot of prospects do not like the idea of giving their real email address. For this reason, many marketers have elected to send you the ebook / whitepaper via email in an attempt to eliminate the anonymous downloaders.

Some of these prospects have adapted to this email technique creating 1-time email addresses, and for that I applaud you. If you put in that much extra work into keeping your email private,  instead of just hitting a single unsubscribe button, then you can keep it. You deserve it!


Let the lead read.

Content marketing undoubtedly brings in great quality and quantity of leads. The thing is, people are downloading content to learn, not to make a buying decision. The second an ebook is downloaded sales is tempted to reach out ASAP. Although reaching out to prospects fast is a good characteristic for a sales team, you have to at least give them a couple of days to read the thing they downloaded!


Watching the Sales FUNnel

The fun of seeing all your marketing payoff! Watching the lead submit a form, engage with the brand enough to MQL, all the way to sales qualifying them as an opportunity.


Boss: “Go viral on Social Media.”

I have heard from numerous superiors to make viral content. But if I knew how to make viral content 100% of the time, I would be a YouTube millionaire.

Making viral content is a little strategy, and a lot of luck.


The Day-to-Day Sales Romance

Writing a cold email is like writing a pick-up line on an online dating platform – in order to be successful, you need to be smart, funny, and witty. You put in a lot of time asking silly questions like “am I personalizing this email enough? Am I personalizing it too much? Should I not include his kid’s names in the email?” – The answer to the last question is a very clear NO.

Although, this is agonizing to write sentences to only delete them, and then most likely rewrite them with a very small tweak. The most nerve-racking thing is actually sending it! That one click of a button that has the power to make your masterpiece into a possible mistake.

“Did I have a typo in that? is he David, or does he go by Dave?” Either way, the decision is done and now it is only a matter of time before you find out if this person likes you enough to escalate the relationship and “BUY”.

Then you see it! A response and your heart goes wild! Does he like me? is he telling me to F* off? or is he out of office.. it is the sales day-to-day love drama. Sadly, if he likes you, repeat all steps.


Get Rid of Paper Processes

I have never ordered anything from a catalog. I guess, at my age, when I finally had money to spend eCommerce came around and made the catalog obsolete.. or so I thought.

There are some industries still using it. Which is mind-blowing to me considering I typically do 2 types of purchases.

The first is a purchase I have an immediate need for in which I will go to a retail location for. The second purchase behavior for me is something I do not need immediately and ordering online is more convenient and comes with a HUGE bonus. I do not have to talk to anyone!

Then here comes the catalog, that does not satisfy an immediate need, but is still forcing me to talk to people!

Subscribe to the newsletter – just one email a week

Not the over communication in the meme above.