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Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● Feb 13, 2023

Where have all of the humans gone?

"Treat people like human beings." Inbound Organization, 2017.

Chat GPT and AI in marketing are hot topics today. I even read about it this morning in the NY Times email news summary I get.


So I started thinking about my role with my clients and how this might impact my work with them.

And right on cue, my nephew sent me this cold outreach gem so it felt like I had to share the below example of nonsense non-human prospecting - generate/buy/rent a giant list, send a stock message, and expect a response.

To me, this is an example of what happens when marketing people can do something (automate and blast out a pitch) vs. should they do something.

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Sorry if this gets back to you Josh and Terrateam, but you put it out into the world so look in the mirror first.

I love the last line! If this doesn't excite you I would like to waste 15 minutes of your time, and mine, to try to sell you something you don't need or want. Wow.

Must be nice to have time to waste on unqualified prospects.

Who responds to this type of outreach? Nigerian princes?

Doing a bit of research about your company, figuring out a connection and if they can actually help you, and then sharing something of value would be a much more human and potentially successful approach.

Notice I did not say don't try to reach out to people. You should reach out to the people you know you can help. You owe it to them to try to help them. But you must treat them like humans and not as a name/email/phone number to be checked off a list or as an activity number to be hit.

So what about AI and can it make me more human?

Tools like Chat GPT should not replace the human part of the marketing and sales process but augment it.

Here's how AI and tools like Chat GPT could improve the above outreach process:

  • ask who uses GitHub - do market research and not just bomb any old list of contacts
  • ask who of those users have teams under 10 people - market segmentation and qualifying
  • ask why people change to use this type of tool and create a list of best-case scenarios for extracting value from the tools - this is positioning
  • ask what are the top 5 outcomes of users of this app and share them - value creation
  • create a mind map of the process to implement the solution - do some process mapping
  • create an online demo of the product so people can try it before they buy the 15-minute appointment - self-service option

Whom do you trust? Impersonal marketing or a personal voice?

Whom do you listen to? AI-generated chat experiences or a person walking you through a solution? Or an industry expert sharing their knowledge?

And what is the top touchpoint for most B2B buying experiences? Still your website and your content.

Use AI to make your website even more personal and the content more human - do not substitute AI for the hard work of value creation and communication. Use it for what it is good for, which is not being human.

We wrote Inbound Organization in late 2016 and published it in 2017. The following are quotes from the book, I think we were ahead of our time!

Bonus offer - if you reach out to me at me@toddhockenberry.com I will send you a free copy of the book Inbound Organization.

"Getting a buyer to choose your product or service over the competition is the goal of engagement, but the key to engagement is being human. Your content, product, and employees must be personal, relevant, and helpful."

"Technology often allows us to substitute digital connections for real human engagement. Inbound organizations humanize the interactions with every person in their ecosystem."

"Being more human means individualizing your connections with an honest and authentic story. Creating an inbound culture, sharing it with potential buyers, and reflecting those values in each interaction delivers an experience that becomes H2H - human to human."

"Buyers and employees will continue to crave more human, helpful, and relevant experiences with the companies they choose. The core beliefs of inbound will become the minimum requirements in the future."

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Topics: Inbound Organization, Content