Hey everyone! My name is John Short, and I’m the founder and CEO of Compound Growth Marketing. I’m a friend of DG and an occasional contributor to his network of content (as is evidenced by this blog). I came up in the world of digital marketing with a demand generation slant. I’ve worked at companies like Monster, LogMeIn, Yesware, and Workable, rising up to the level of VP of Demand Generation at Workable where I managed a team of 8 people, and helped them grow 14X from Series A to just before they raised their Series C. Since starting CGM, I have had the opportunity to work with clients like Airtable, Drift, Robin, Workbar, and more.
But using technology just for the sake of using technology can demolish your chance to build trust with the prospect you’re trying to sell to. Marketers tend to like shiny new objects, and have a tendency to forget about the end goal.
I saw this happen in a recent outbound sales email I received. It got me thinking about how we use tech in marketing and how to use it most successfully.
Don’t forget the human side of things.
We have to use data in a way that feels natural, maintains respectful boundaries, and – in short – feels human. Let me explain.
First of all, here’s that email I was talking about:
Let’s just say I wasn’t impressed. It came off as robotic, insincere, and like the sender was using data augmentation for the sake of using data augmentation.
Why spend the extra time and money accessing this data when a more direct ask would work better? Knowing where I live or what the weather is like won’t help you make a sale with me. It’s more likely just to creep me out.
Listen, I know I’m not breaking new ground by calling out outbound emails. But there were so many errors in this one – errors I see too often – that I decided it was worth breaking down.
Let’s dig a little deeper into why I disliked this email so much – and why it ultimately failed.
- Irrelevant information – Why bring up weather? That’s the small talk you make at the beginning of a call when you have nothing better to say. Emails don’t need small talk beyond a polite greeting.
- Invasive use of data – It’s a little creepy that they mentioned the town that I live in. It’s a small town, and I don’t advertise my location. I tend to keep it private. When using data, we need to be smart about respecting boundaries, just like in a normal relationship.
- Stating the obvious – Maybe this is more of a personal preference, but I HATE when companies say, “it looks like you work in [insert industry category here].” This is an example of data that’s publicly available but completely unnecessary to use. It’s a waste of time.
In each of these instances, data augmentation was used to get an “in” with the audience but ultimately left me much less likely to do business with them.
Technology like data augmentation can add enormous value to our marketing efforts, but you need an intelligent approach. Social guidelines still apply – like respecting people’s privacy, using emotional intelligence, and not wasting people’s time. Ultimately, when using technology, we still have to be human about it.
Yes, outbound still works, and technology is one of our greatest tools. But I can’t imagine this type of email works.