Episode #163: How to Solve Marketing Amnesia

Grad Conn

October 11, 202116 min read

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A hundred years ago, when you walked into a shop, the shopkeeper probably knew you. He knew what you liked, knew what you just purchased, and knew what you might purchase again. It was a relationship built on knowledge and trust, and it benefited both the seller and the consumer.

Today, with most brands, we’re largely anonymous. Whether it’s brick-and-mortar or online, most sellers have no clue who I am. But it doesn’t have to be that way… and shouldn’t be that way. I call this “marketing amnesia,” and today’s episode we’re going to talk about the causes, and the cure.

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Thank you, Jimmy. We’re back. It’s the Unified-CXM Experience. And I’m your host, Grad Conn, CXO, chief experience officer at Sprinklr, New York Stock Exchange listed company ticker symbol CXM.

Alright, so I want to talk about amnesia today. And I’m talking about amnesia in the context of marketing. You may have heard me tell my 50 First Dates story. So I’m going to do my 50 First Dates story first. And I’ll level level set that and get us on the same page. And then we will then go from there. And I’ll talk a little bit about the amnesia that we have as marketers, and how deeply disturbing that is to customers.

So, 50 First Dates is a 2004, American romcom, 2004. And it stars Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. It is actually, I would say, deeply underrated. It won some MTV awards and stuff like that, but it is a pretty amazing movie. And I just think that Adam Sandler at the time, and maybe even Drew Barrymore at the time, weren’t taken seriously enough for the movie to be taken as seriously as it should have been. But really, it was an absolutely wonderful film. I’ll give a quick understanding of what it is so you understand it. Drew Barrymore… so the whole thing is shot in Oahu, Hawaii. It’s all set in Hawaii, and Drew Barrymore suffers from a fictitious memory impairment called Goldfield syndrome. But it’s basically similar to short term memory loss, and anterograde amnesia. Adam plays the role of Henry. He’s a womanizing marine veterinarian, and he falls for Drew Barrymore, whose name is Lucy. And then he discovers that she has this amnesia, and she forgets him a day later. So, every day when she wakes up, it’s a new day. And so he resolves to win her over and win her every day. So, every day he learns a bit more about her. And it’s not dissimilar from Andie McDowell…

Groundhog Day.

Thank you. I’m going to stay with us though, we’re not even going to edit that out. It’s not dissimilar from Andie McDowell and Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray learns a bit more about her, but she never knows, because he’s going back in time over and over again. So basically, Adam Sandler learns more and more about Drew Barrymore, she every day doesn’t know who he is, and it’s a new first date. So, 50 First Dates, and it’s a charming film and a great ending. And I’m not gonna tell you any more about it, you should watch it.

I feel like marketing’s like that. You know, every time I walk into an Apple store, they’re like, hello. Like, they have no idea who I am. You know, I’ve spent millions of dollars on Apple. Millions and millions of dollars. Literally my own money. This is money I could have like, put into a cottage or I could have kept for myself. I bought Apple equipment to run my agency and to get computers for my employees, like millions and millions of dollars. And I walk into an Apple store and it’s like Hi. Hey, “Mr. I don’t know who you are.” Welcome to the Apple Store. It’s crazy.

I’m actually going to finally get a new iPhone. So, I’m going to have this experience tomorrow. I’m going to go into the Apple store tomorrow, and they’re going to be Hello. You know, nice to see you. What are you here for? And I’ll be like, I’m here to get a new iPhone. They don’t know I’ve purchased every single iPhone ever made, right? From day one, standing in line on day one, purchased all of them. They’re like I’m just mister nobody walking in that store. And I will say though, on the positive side I’m not trying to make fun of Apple too much, but you know I’ll go back there a couple more times. I’m still, believe it or not, using my iPhone 10. This has been an amazing, amazing machine. The original iPhone 10 not the S. I love technology, and I buy new stuff all the time. It’s not like I don’t buy new tech all the time, but I’ve just not been able to make the case to replace this phone. It’s been an absolute star performer, has been flawless. And I mentioned this out loud about two weeks ago and ever since then the battery’s really run down fast.

It’s finally giving up the ghost. I can’t run it for more than half an hour before the battery starts to die. So, I’ve got to get a new phone now. But it has been an absolutely amazing, amazing device. I’m three generations behind at this point, but it’s gonna be fun to upgrade. But I really love this one. It’s been fantastic. I’m convinced that they made a mistake on this phone and they built it too well. Like the car that goes 100 miles on a gallon, they usually end up taking it back.

So I’m going to go in this weekend. They won’t know me from Adam. And you know, I’ll be starting from scratch. And why is that? Why is it I’ll go into a clothing store, they won’t know who I am, even though I may have spent tens of thousands of dollars there. That’s super irritating. Actually.

I’ll go into Tom Ford, probably the next three weeks. I just had knee surgery. So, I can’t really try on a lot of clothes right now cuz I’m in a giant cast. Well, that cast comes off in about three weeks, I’ll be at Tom Ford looking at suits. I’ve spent tons of money there. And they’re going to be like, Hello. Nice to meet you. I get it maybe in the physical world. But why is this also true online? Like, how is it possible that I could go to apple.com right now and they’ll go Hi, Grad? How can we help you? Not, Grad, dude, you still using an iPhone 10. Come on, join the party. Here’s the reasons you should switch. They don’t do that.

Now there is a very interesting thing on the Apple site where you can tell them what phone you have. And they’ll compare it to the newest models. And then they’ll show you what your phone has and what the new model has and what the difference will be. It’s actually extremely well done. It’s done very graphically. It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely fantastic. Product versus product comparison. The best thing I’ve ever seen from anybody. It’s not those checkmarks and those Harvey ball diagrams, none of that kind of stuff. This is like visual graphics showing you comparison, one over the other. It’s very easy to tell what you’re going to get when you upgrade. But you have to choose and tell them what phone you have. They know what phone I have. They know this already. Like I don’t know… what is going on?

You know, go to Amazon. I was at physical therapy today. I should talk about this too. I’m gonna do a whole separate podcast on my knee surgery. I had the most absolutely amazing experience at the hospital for special surgery here in New York. Dr. David Altchek did my knee. He did my left knee in February, did my right knee now. And it was actually extraordinary. It was just an extraordinary… I literally… it was such a good experience, and I know this sounds kind of crazy, I would do it again. If David called me up and said, Hey, Grad, you know, we’ve got to get you back in the room because we left a scalpel in your knee or something like that. That sounds good to me. I’m ready to go. Really great experience. I’ll come back to that.

But I was coming back from PT. And Rob Andrews is my therapist, another fantastic, fantastic service experience. Rob’s incredible. And so coming back, and I’m just a little tired. And yeah, it’s like a little sore, I’ll put that out there. And it did, like take my knee apart. And it’s been a week, so you know, still pretty early. And I kind of felt like that sort of need for comfort food. But I don’t really feel like eating. It was almost that feeling of I need macaroni and cheese, that sort of feeling. But I was like, what’s my comfort food, my comfort brainfood? You know, I haven’t read a comic in a long time. I think I saw an ad… I was driving through Times Square. Not driving. I was obviously in the back of an Uber, I can’t drive. But I mean, I can drive. I’m not allowed to drive for like 30 days. But I was in the back of an Uber and I was driving through Time Square and there was an ad for I think it was HBO Max, and it was for Doom Patrol, which was one of my favorite comics as a kid, a DC comic. It was one of my few DC Comics I really liked. Doom Patrol. And I’d love to see that, and they have a second season. Second season. I didn’t even know there was a first season of doom Patrol. I’m thinking Oh man, I’d love to watch that.

Then I was thinking, I miss comics. I miss comics and I miss graphic novels. I just haven’t read one in a long time. So I got on my phone while I’m bouncing around the back of this Uber and picked up a few Will Eisners and a couple other things I’d never heard of, and it was great. And I’ve got a bunch of graphic novels arriving in the next few days and I’ll quite enjoy reading those over the next little while. But it was a funny experience for me because I’ve been on Amazon for a really long time. I’m in my second decade for sure. Right? My third decade on Amazon, holy crap. Yeah, my third decade on Amazon. Amazon literally knows the color of my underwear. Amazon knows stuff about me that most people don’t know. Amazon knows, like secret stuff about me. Amazon knows like, you know, scandalous stuff about me. Amazon knows a lot of stuff about me. Right? And I get in there and type in graphic novel. And it didn’t deliver stuff to me that showed that it knew me. I had to search and discover. I got a great recommendation from Randy… what was the recommendation you had Randy?

Sweet Tooth.

Sweet Tooth. Okay, I haven’t ordered that one. Yeah, but Sweet Tooth sounds really interesting. I’m picking up recommendations from others. But what is going on? How can I be on it my third decade on Amazon. And I’m still trying to search for stuff. Doesn’t make any sense to me. And that should be the gold standard. They definitely know what they need to know.

And so I’m putting a challenge out there. Which is why do we insist as an industry on doing amnesia marketing all the time? And why do we behave like a group of amnesiacs? We’re like… there’s probably a word that’s amnesiacs and marketing, or amnesiacs and advertising, or amnesiacs and personalization that somehow go together. But marketing amnesia? Let’s stay with that for a second, marketing amnesia is a real problem. And the great thing about marketing amnesia is there’s a cure. I kind of like where I’m going with this actually. There’s a cure for marketing amnesia. The cure is unified-CXM.

The problem with all of these things, even in a system, as developed as Amazon, is that they’re all siloed. And you know, even in Amazon the teams are separate. In a unified-CXM system, all the customer facing functions are in a single platform. And there’s a single customer data platform CDP that tells you everything the customer has purchased, plus their behaviors, Google and Adobe data, plus their experience data. But you get from Sprinklr behaviors across social platforms, behaviors on review sites, behaviors on blogs, forums, things like Reddit, that kind of stuff. You put all that together, you get a really complete picture. And if you did that for me, if Amazon said this is what Grad’s purchased, these are Grad’s behaviors, and this is what Grad talks about publicly, and he types the word “graphic novel” into Amazon, we know exactly what to show. We know exactly what to show him. A cure for marketing amnesia, unified-CXM.

I wonder who’s going to do this first? Because just think about it for a second. Is there any aspect of your life where you go to an online retailer, or a physical retailer or both? And they don’t behave like they’ve got amnesia? I don’t think so. Like we are surrounded by a sea of amnesiacs. I think part of the reason is that we are still carrying a broadcast mentality around. The broadcast mentality is I’m talking to anonymous people, and I’m telling them what to think about me. We’ve got to change to a conversational mindset. Which is if you’re having a conversation with someone, gosh darn it, you need to know them. You can’t have a conversation with someone who’s not responding and who you don’t know.

So think about the last conversation you had with a stranger. Maybe something happened, maybe you’re sitting next to each other. Today I had one at HSS. I was in the HSS Westside facility, and that’s where I’m going to PT, and you know I’m pretty stumpy right now, I’m a week out of surgery… that’s not completely true. I went in on September 1st, and it’s the 10th today, so I’m nine days from surgery. I just had my sutures out yesterday. Actually that hurt like shit, that was really hard. Let’s say that was that was a one part of the experience that really hurt. But I’m doing pretty well. I got a wow from the therapist. I’m pretty strong and I’m making a lot of progress. And I come steaming in, got my appointment and I lie down in the chair. And the person right across from me had had the exact same surgery, different doctor, exact same surgery. And he was a week ahead of me. So, he’s two weeks, I’m one week. And he’s sitting down as well. And so and he looks at me and he goes, when did you have yours? And I said, you know, like last week, he’s like, Wow, he said, You’re, you’re doing really well. I don’t know what situation he was in a week ago, he seemed pretty surprised that I was moving around and using my leg. And I said, Yeah, it’s going great and stuff. And it was funny, we suddenly had common ground, we’d both just had the same surgery. And we had a really nice conversation. We’re talking there and we’re kind of connecting. And that’s what conversation requires, requires some level of understanding. I don’t know what he does and who he is and all that kind of stuff. But we had enough common ground that we could start to talk about that, talk about the doctors we had, talk about the experience we had, and you know, he was clearly not in great shape, and it wasn’t going as well for him. So, there’s a little bit of that commiseration, I told him I had done my left knee a few months ago. And, you know, they all go at different speeds, and they’re all in different ways. So just, you know, you’ll be okay, you’ll get there. And, and he seemed to be encouraged by that, because it was his first one. This my fourth knee surgery. Third one on this right leg, and I’ve only had one on the left leg. And we’ll try to keep it there. But, you know, after four, you start to get pretty experienced with knee surgeries. And so it was it was good conversation. And it was a real conversation too. And we weren’t connecting at the where do your kids go to school level, we were connecting at the thing that was relevant to the two of us.

So, when I go into a store, or when I go to an online property, I don’t necessarily want them asking about how’s my grandmother feeling? I don’t need to dig into that. But I do want them to be able to have a relevant conversation with me about the things that they can offer and do for me. And this is where this marketing amnesia is a huge issue. And so I’m going to start a campaign which is, you know, how do we cure marketing amnesia? And the pill is unified CXM. I’m all about medicine right now.

All right, I’ll use this as a kickoff, and we’ll come back to this a few times. I’m not going to tell the 50 First Dates story again. So, if you enjoyed that, I’d encourage you to get the movie. If you like Hawaii, it is amazing, great shots on it. Just enjoy. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful bit of fluff. That’s just very, very, very, very fun. And then we’ll talk more about marketing amnesia in the next few episodes. For the, um… what is this show? Just kidding. A little amnesia demonstration. For the Unified-CXM Experience, my name is Grad Conn, I’m your host, CXO, chief experience officer at Sprinklr. And I’ll see you next time.

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