How To Create Customer Based Marketing That Won’t Creep Your Audience.


When personalization goes too far. & why I’m over client profiles but I’ll make one for you anyway.

“Even when you are marketing to your entire audience or customer base, you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time.”


That means don’t send me a pregnancy congrats coupon Target, or let some guy load an album onto my icloud for eternity Apple, or, dare I even say: judge me. Though keep doing this Amazon:

This is just funny.

Creepy marketing experiences have three (3) traits according to marketing blog consensus:

  • It’s invasive because it touches on something personal you haven’t shared publicly or with the brand
  • What you’re selling is irrelevant & uninteresting (fair enough!)
  • You sound like a used car salesman

The third one is the most interesting to me because it’s the hardest to figure out & often where the top of the funnel, sequencing, data collecting type stuff I’m used to designing/thinking about in regards to conversion lives. It’s the ”Fan” or first impression. Qualification. The difference between a creepy experience & an email address that can open a whole new conversation up is in being just suggestive enough not to be creepy. It’s also why I design most of my small business digital affinity campaigns only after I’ve done a lot of research & observing the entire ecosystem.

”People know that when they interact with a brand online, they are likely putting themselves on a “list” to be marketed to in the future. In many cases, consumers may have forgotten that they gave such permission to a company, or they perhaps did so inadvertently” says Seth Hardy, Editor of

As business-owners are looking to survive the lockdown, it’s vital to know what’s driving traffic to you. & what interactions bring them back. How do you remind people you’re still here, or will deliver or have a new outdoor dining area when you don’t know if they see you on Facebook or Instagram? How do you digitize the relationship you have with customers you are used to interacting with in person? What messages are you sending them right now? When do you stop? Do you adapt your messaging & keep trying? What’s the etiquette about stereotyping in our client profiles? & how much of the water-cooler talk is public when it’s in the comments? How do you turn all that into an opt-in?

In the dark ages that is 2016 – 2020, History will write about how marketing can feel a lot like a Russian hoax. Or a conspiracy.

I had a client once want to move from a monthly subscription-centric marketing plan to a more authentic one based around engagement metrics they *thought* they could monetize, it was soulless. & their expectations were too high. They weng back to selling used cars. But I designed an amazing infastructure for collecting affinity campaign data!

Authentic customer-centric marketing will always require a human component & priming period. If you need a quick solution, it’s not automation platforms or engagement marketing campaigns because there’s a long term commitment involved, but you won’t be worse off for trying if you do it smart.

When I was an automation analyst at the largest technology company in the world, I was an engine way before I figured out how to code it. But data access, much like generalizations and other commitments, should be used responsibly.

When trying to close the gap between your brand and consumers, you’ll have to meet them where they are. That means talking to them in in a relatable manner that feels natural. Maybe that’s not a fully automated marketing campaign, maybe that’s simply engaging more and automating the reminders to follow up.

In fact, one of the reasons storytelling & engagementbis so important to digital marketing is that it adds a layer of authenticity to your product and authenticity will only become more important to consumers in the years to come.

If you’re still reading but not sure you know what the next steps are, you can hire me to help you design a communication strategy or generate content that will be more than just a call-to-action.


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