Robot Takeover, Tips, News and a Warning

Friends and colleagues,

It happened, people, twice. I was actually asked if a marketing automation system did, you know, the marketing. Did “it” plan campaigns, develop creative, deploy said words, pictures and video and work with “the Google” to make it all visible to folks looking for it?  Given the hyper-aggressive way these systems are sold, I was not surprised by the question.  But the answer, friends (and you too, colleagues), is that automation in this case is a silly misnomer.  These systems and solutions are what we make of them. As ever, garbage in, expensive garbage out.

Ok, humans (and I know you’re reading this too, robots), here’s the gunpowder for your cannons:


  1. Conform creatively. You should have a look, feel and voice that are distinctly yours. And you also may have an earnest, cracker-jack brand management team wagging their finger at you to make everything just so.  The danger, of course, is too much sameness. Every communication from every product or solution group has to fit into neatly arranged boxes and sound a certain way.  After not too long, here’s how this looks and sounds to your customer: blah, blah, blorg (for the robots). What to do?  Mix it up. Conform, but creatively so.  Make the template flexible by creating new configurations, adding new colors to the palette, putting round pegs next to square holes.  Let your creative folks out of the cage.
  2. Test un-gating content.  When you force prospects to fill out a form on your sites and landing pages to access your “rich” content, you render that thinking invisible to search engines and ensure a double-digit increase in your abandon rates.  So to ensure the leads you’re collecting are more valuable than those you are giving up, we recommend you set up an A/B test to quantify the difference.
  3. Four ways to improve mobile engagement by 20% or more.   Try these obvious, often overlooked, easily implemented nuggets of ore:
    1) put your call to action in the top 10% of the screen
    2) ensure high contrast (i.e., light on dark; dark on light) call to action buttons
    3) make all calls to action at least pinky-sized buttons or bars
    4) use non-serif typefaces generously leaded and kerned.
    If these don’t work, I will don my heavily used “I am stupid” t-shirt for a month.
  4. Validate your “Big” Data.  A high % of the raw inputs and sophisticated, dashboarded output marketers use to make decisions are unadulterated bovine scatology (yes, bull__).  In short, too much of the data is no good.  One low-cost way to address this challenge is to spot-check the input with, wait for it, your eyes.  Pull 50 to 100 pieces of data on a Nth name (i.e., random) basis and verify its quality before you buy more or use it to run programs or make key decisions.  The best data providers will welcome your trust, but verify curiosity.  The hucksters will not.
  5. Brush your Bluetooth. The real propeller-heads among you will appreciate the incredibly targeted, proximity-based marketing you can do with Bluetooth 4.0 powered beacons.  These tiny devices can interact in real-time with apps to double or triple retail conversion to sale and tradeshow traffic.  Next time you’re developing a campaign or program, consider testing this emerging technology.  Even if you’re uncool, like me, you will appear otherwise.
  6. Trumpet your “__est”.  There is a completely understandable tendency among clients to blurt all the many wonderful features and benefits of their product and solution in a stream of adjectives and adverbs.  They are, after all, proud of their hard work and will assume prospect audiences are as excited as they are to learn more. But it ain’t so.  What time-starved prospectors do want to know is who is the fastest, simplest, cheapest, the smartest, the leanest, the best.  If you can credibly claim and own an “_est” you should consider making that the tip of your spear, the single-minded reason why you need to be on a short list for further consideration.
  7. Curry favor with your influencers.  Make a thorough list of the people and groups your customers and prospects listen to; mention them in your blog postings, case studies and white papers; favorite, like, comment, and re-share their content; Tweet at them; use the same hashtags they do.  Why?  Because people help people who like them, follow them, talk like them and say nice things about them.  But Bower, you say, I don’t like sucking up.  Ok, then you must not like low-cost ways to grow your business #thatjusthappened.


  • We recently established our 100th control creative!
  • The list of acronym’d technology vendors we work with is growing quickly.  Some of the providers we now support:  Salesforce, Oracle (the entire Marketing Cloud Suite), Marketo, Act-On, Adobe Campaign, Pardot, x +1 and numerous others.  We can help you choose, implement, manage and optimize the dizzying range of “automation” options out there.
  • We welcomed three new client relationships in the last six weeks and I don’t have permission yet from any of them to share their identities.  But we’re really proud and excited to know and work with each of these new teams.  More soon.
  • Our international provider network, InterDirect ( has enabled us to extend campaigns to over 40 countries on four continents.  The network includes some of smartest, funniest, coolest (see “__est” above) dudes on planet earth.  We’re now doing campaigns in four different languages.


In the era of big data and marketing automation, we’re at risk of marginalizing what’s truly important.  My simple thesis:  Ideas and relationships are the fuel for technological progress. There will always be newer, better, smarter, faster technology, even more “data,” the next big thing. But the only stuff that endures, that really matters, is people working together to do great things.  Alright then, I’m done with my Hallmark commercial.

Thanks for indulging me!


P.S.:  If, for whatever reason, you’d rather not receive these occasional notes, please let me know.
P.S.#2:  Want to know why I don’t mass customize these notes through an email service provider like Constant Contact, MailChimp, Responsys or CRM system?  Ask me.

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