On Influence and Automation

blogging keyboard

Intrigued by a chapter in Naked Conversations, I decided to rebrand my blog today. I had simply called it Douglas A. Karr, digital and database marketing. That really didn’t say to much about who I was and what I was trying to accomplish through my blog, though. Had someone typed into Feedster ‘marketing automation’, I’m sure I would have been no where on the list – though it is a passion of mine.

I tried to simply use a single catch phrase but just couldn’t find it. After long bouts of thesaurus and dictionary checking, I decided there were 2 terms that really summed it up… influence and automation. My belief is that effective marketing really comes down to these 2 terms. The ability to effectively market should influence someone to purchase the product or service you are selling. Automation is the means to continue the process throughout the stages until complete.

Having worked with newspapers, direct mail, magazines, telemarketing, web, blog and email marketing initiatives, it’s always been about maintaining the conversation with the person. Push an ad in front of them and forget about them, and you’re minimizing your chances of closing the sale. You need to persist, but be respectful of the person’s needs or wishes.

Twenty years ago, for a short period before I joined the Navy, I worked at Home Depot. It was a tough job. I was a ‘lot boy’, loading up customers’ cars and trucks in Phoenix, Arizona. But I will never forget my first lesson in Marketing there. The managers encouraged all employees to ask customers what project they were working on. This is different than asking, “Can I help you?”. To that, the simple reply can be “No”. However, when asked what project they were working on, most customers started a great dialogue with the staff on what they were trying to accomplish. This led to happier customers and closed sales.

Via mediums such as the web, it’s still a conversation that we’re trying to start with our customers. Putting a web site out there with some cool imagery is like having a fancy sign outside your store. But it will never take the place of a nice handshake and a hello.

Intrusive advertising models still persist. Stick ads everywhere and someone may see one and buy something. However, the internet brings great mediums for conversing with your prospects and customers. Blogs, RSS, Email, Forms, Web Forums, and Search are all interactive marketing efforts. The more you can tie and automate these into your marketing efforts, the better the conversations between you and your prospects, and the better your business will prosper.

It’s all about influence and automation. I hope you like the new title!

What do you think?

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