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Small Biz Buzz Podcast 90 - Personalizing the Customer Experience

Our podcast Small Biz Buzz hosts, Crystal Heuft and Rob Stevenson, define what personalizing the customer experience means, the steps it takes to make the customer feel welcome and catered to individually, and the psychology behind personalized customer experience. Tune in for more.


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Crystal Hueft: 00:01:05 Hi, this is Crystal.

Rob: 00:01:06 And I'm Rob.

Crystal Hueft: 00:01:07 And this is Small Biz Buzz, presented by Keap.

Rob: 00:01:21 So we're not doing any intros or anything, it's all covered. We literally just come right into our talking here. Which is, as we start talking here, I'm thrilled to be looking at the lovely and talented Crystal Hueft.

Crystal Hueft: 00:01:32 Yes.

Rob: 00:01:32 Am I saying that right, the Hueft part?

Crystal Hueft: 00:01:34 Not really.

Rob: 00:01:35 You've got an H-U-E-F-T, and it's Hu-eft or Hue-ft?

Crystal Hueft: 00:01:39 It's German. So I think it would be H-ueft if you got real serious, but I just go by Hueft.

Rob: 00:01:44 You've got to get more saliva in there if you're going to get a too dramatic pronunciation.

Crystal Hueft: 00:01:48 Yeah, well Hueft was not great either, because as an elementary kid they used to call me Hueft and puffed, and I had asthma. It was traumatic.

Rob: 00:01:56 Oh, no.

Crystal Hueft: 00:01:58 But now I kind of lean into it.

Rob: 00:02:00 Kids can be cruel.

Crystal Hueft: 00:02:01 They can. I was huffing and puffing up the stairs just now, too.

Rob: 00:02:03 Well that's because you're not feeling well.

Crystal Hueft: 00:02:05 I know. It's for a lot of reasons, but that's one of them.

Rob: 00:02:08 So you teased it earlier and I'm super excited to hear it. Please, please tell me about your weekend.

Crystal Hueft: 00:02:13 Okay.

Rob: 00:02:13 What happened?

Crystal Hueft: 00:02:14 So I was just going to say, my weekend coming into 2020 here, was absolutely boring. I'm kind of actually a little nervous about what this means for the rest of the year, but I did nothing. I barely talked to my dog. I didn't talk to anybody. My friend that lives with me was out of town. I watched true crime... And what else did I watch? I watched flirty dancing from Fox, which is so cute.

Rob: 00:02:42 Tell me about that. What is flirty dancing?

Crystal Hueft: 00:02:43 It's with Jenna Dewan, I think is her name?

Rob: 00:02:46 Oh, we're going down the rabbit hole. Who's Jenna Dewan?

Crystal Hueft: 00:02:48 She's from Step Up, the movies.

Rob: 00:02:50 Okay. What is Step Up?

Crystal Hueft: 00:02:51 Oh my God.

Rob: 00:02:52 We're three layers deep and I don't know.

Crystal Hueft: 00:02:53 All you need to know is she sets up two people. They don't get to talk, and they just dance toegther.

Rob: 00:02:58 So it's like the bachelor, but with tap shoes?

Crystal Hueft: 00:03:00 Yeah.

Rob: 00:03:00 Okay. And do they end up getting married at the end?

Crystal Hueft: 00:03:03 I mean, I don't know. TBD, I guess. But what I'll say is, it was so cute. It had me cheesing even through my cold. But at the end of the day, that's all I did this weekend. Watch TV and laid on my couch, didn't talk to anybody.

Rob: 00:03:16 And got better. You sound much better today than you did a couple of days ago.

Crystal Hueft: 00:03:20 Thank you.

Rob: 00:03:20 So, good for you.

Crystal Hueft: 00:03:20 Thank you. I worked hard for that. Just to make sure we are ready today. So do you want to go ahead and tell us about your weekend?

Rob: 00:03:26 I had a little bit more of a full weekend than you did. I am cheap, and as a result of being cheap, I drive a minivan. It's seven years old, and it's got a hundred and-

Crystal Hueft: 00:03:37 How can I [inaudible 00:03:38] this?

Rob: 00:03:38 Well, it's soccer dad for a longest time, so it's serviced well. I love my van. It's got 135,000 miles on it-

Crystal Hueft: 00:03:45 Great job.

Rob: 00:03:46 It's time for a new timing belt. So I took it to the dealership and they're like, "Yeah, a timing belt's going to be some ridiculous, obscene amount of money". And for some reason, I've got it stuck in my head that big dealerships are just, they're in it for the money. They're in it for the money. They're in it for the hourly rate-

Crystal Hueft: 00:03:59 I mean, they are.

Rob: 00:04:00 They're in it to just gouge me as much as possible, because I'm at Honda, or I'm at Chevy, or I'm at Chrysler. And so I did some research this time, actually. I went around, looked at some referrals. I went online and got some references. I called some friends, "Hey, you're good with cars". Because pretty much from my perspective, if my car is not working, I'm going to open the hood. And if there's not a giant on off switch, I am flush out of ideas.

Rob: 00:04:26 So it doesn't make me less of a guy's guy. I can do guy's guy stuff, but cars not so much. So a friend said, "I got a great mechanic, he specializes in Honda's, specializes in Toyota's", and I've got a Honda Odyssey minivan. Love the van. Let's go back to that point. Love the minivan. So he says, "Let's go to this dealership, or this mechanic". And I'm not going to name the mechanic right now, because we're still in the throws. But I take it in, he diagnoses all the problems. Says "I'm going to do this, this, this, and this." And I'm like, "That's perfect". Because I did some research on the internet, which makes me an expert now compared to this mechanic who has been doing it for 30 years, and our research aligns. So go ahead, let's do it.

Rob: 00:05:07 And then the dreaded phone call. About two hours into it-

Crystal Hueft: 00:05:11 There's always a phone call.

Rob: 00:05:12 There's always a phone call. Whenever you go to a mechanic.

Crystal Hueft: 00:05:14 You never get out.

Rob: 00:05:14 There's always a phone call.

Crystal Hueft: 00:05:15 And it always comes after you already paid an exorbitant amount of money.

Rob: 00:05:17 Yeah, at this point I'd committed to pay an exorbitant amount, and he called me. He's like, "Hey, Rob. Found some oil scoring on the outside of the engine, which means you have a leak. And it's not a big leak. Just a little leak, but we can probably take care of it. We've got half the engine taken apart to put the timing belt in. Let's take that one more step. It won't be much more labor. It's going to be some parts. Wants a new seal, some new gaskets in, and I'll throw in new spark plugs. Won't charge you for those, we'll just put them up."

Rob: 00:05:43 That's great. Cool. Let's do it. Calls me at five o'clock Thursday night, "Rob, your van's not ready. We need some more time". So now I'm like, "Oh crumbs". I dropped the van off at 7:00 AM, it's been a whole day. I don't have a van. So you kind of scramble, but it's fine. I mean in the world of Uber and rental cars, it wasn't that difficult, and so we managed to cope. Friday morning, about 11 o'clock, you get a phone call, "Car's ready". So I go there after work, go to pick it up. It's 4:30. There's the van, it's perfect. They're thrilled to fire it up, sounds just like it did before. Thrilled. Drive the van home. And I do have a point to this story.

Crystal Hueft: 00:06:19 I was wondering, because I was like, I did ask him about his weekend, right? You're starting on Thursday?

Rob: 00:06:25 Yeah.

Crystal Hueft: 00:06:25 Okay. This might be... I'm really committed.

Rob: 00:06:27 We drive the van home, and it's slightly ahead of my wife, so she's following behind me. Park the van in the garage. We go in, kind of... it's after work, 5, 5:30, do your stuff. And we decided let's go for dinner. Seven o'clock. So the family piles into the van, back the van out of the garage. And my wife's like, "I think there's something on the floor in the garage?".

Crystal Hueft: 00:06:46 Oh, Jeez.

Rob: 00:06:47 And I'm like, "Oh, sweetie". And I put my mansplaining hat, and I got it nice and firmly. I pulled it down nice and tight so it was covering my ears. I'm like, "Sweetheart, you're just seeing things. If you smell..." She's like, "I smell something". I'm like, "No, that's just mechanic smell. You're fine". Again, we opened the hood, and I look around and I do not see the giant on off switch, so I'm flush out of ideas. So looking, find the dipstick, pull the dipstick out, no oil. So somewhere along the lines, the oil leaked out of the the van, on the drive back from the mechanic.

Rob: 00:07:24 So long story short, terrible experience. Ruined the weekend. I'm like, did I kill my van? Is it destroyed? Call the mechanic. No answer. No one until Monday morning. Call a mechanic this morning, "Hey, you know what, Rob? I don't know what the problem is, but let's throw that onto a back of a truck. Let's get it pulled back up here, let's take care of it". And to me, that's perfect customer service. He assuaged all my fears. Just the fact that he cared enough to send a tow truck to come pick it up, at his expense, to bring it back to his shop to work on it, gave me the confidence to know that I made a good decision when I picked him. My research backed up, the referrals backed up, and we're going to end up in a good spot.

Crystal Hueft: 00:07:57 I might be a bit cynical, but I think it's a good start. He's definitely handling concern well, but I don't have that much faith that he can fix it at this point.

Rob: 00:08:07 Well, see-

Crystal Hueft: 00:08:07 I'm hoping for you. We'll have to hear the rest of that.

Rob: 00:08:08 I'm optimistic. Yeah, I mean I very specifically picked this mechanic. He's a small business owner. He's been a small business owner in the Valley, in Phoenix's Valley, for 40 years now. So he's got a pedigree, and I picked him so fingers crossed that everything works out well.

Crystal Hueft: 00:08:26 Well if it goes wrong, you might have a great segue into what we're going to talk about today, which is personalization. Because if you have to start going back to those dealerships, they're going to be able to target you in all kinds of ways that probably the last time you had to shop for a car, are completely different.

Rob: 00:08:42 That's very true. I'm already getting emails about my next service for the next oil change from the dealership.

Crystal Hueft: 00:08:46 I believe it, man. Once you go into a dealership, they do not let you go. You could tell them 20 times "I already bought a car", but they're ready for you to buy your next car, already.

Rob: 00:08:56 Yeah. And part of that is not just personalization, but that can be sloppy sales. Like, "Oh, you bought a car from here five years ago. We're looking for the exact same car that you sold or bought, and we've got a buyer waiting for you. So bring your car in right now". And I mean, the level of detail inside their CRM, inside their customer relationship management software, is incredible. They know when I bought a car, they know what the vehicle was. They can put that content into a piece of information that allows them to call me back, and drive urgency immediately.

Crystal Hueft: 00:09:23 Definitely.

Rob: 00:09:25 It's fantastic.

Crystal Hueft: 00:09:26 It really is. It's, I think, down to a science.

Rob: 00:09:28 It is.

Crystal Hueft: 00:09:29 I think their emails could improve a bit. Whenever I open up their emails, I'm like, who's doing these?

Rob: 00:09:33 Wait, wait. You open up emails from people?

Crystal Hueft: 00:09:35 I'm probably one of the last few.

Rob: 00:09:38 Oh, man. I am the batch delete king.

Crystal Hueft: 00:09:40 It just depends. If they catch me with a good subject, then I'll usually open it. But when I open it, I'm like, who's templating these? They look awful.

Rob: 00:09:48 Yeah, I mean look and feel too, it's not always great. I do find that people are getting far more creative with their headline copy. Or they'll get the RE, they'll put a fake reply or fake forwarded-

Crystal Hueft: 00:10:00 I hate that.

Rob: 00:10:01 I'll be like, Oh, this must be something I previously had, or sent, or did. And again, it's another great personalization trick, but I open up the email and then I'm sadly disappointed.

Crystal Hueft: 00:10:11 Well then I'll never open another email from them. That's how I get, I get real crazy. Same if the pin I click on is not the pin I clicked on. Oh man, I will report them. I go to extremes, because I just feel like I don't like click bait.

Rob: 00:10:26 Yeah, unfortunately click bait is the way of.

Crystal Hueft: 00:10:28 I know, it is.

Rob: 00:10:29 It's the way of the future.

Crystal Hueft: 00:10:30 I mean, not for me. But anyways. I think, if you haven't been able to tell yet, we're going to be talking about personalization today.

Rob: 00:10:36 Among many other things, and among many wandering stories, yes, personalization is our goal and our key.

Crystal Hueft: 00:10:42 And Rob has flashcards, so I know we'll try to keep it concise and to the point. We've got four little mini sections within the section that Rob's going to lead us through, because he's so prepared with his flash cards. I'm going to let him go ahead and do that. And it's going to be so... You guys won't even see it coming. It'll just flow so easily.

Rob: 00:11:02 It's funny, the last time I spoke in front of a large group, it was probably 400 people. I had 10 different flashcards, got up on stage, promptly didn't look at any of them.

Crystal Hueft: 00:11:13 I believe that.

Rob: 00:11:13 So if things go well, then I won't even look at these ones.

Crystal Hueft: 00:11:16 Well, I think they'll go well then. Okay, so personalization. You really have done a lot for us at Keap here with personalization, and our chat, and all of that. So why don't you kick us off here?

Rob: 00:11:29 Sure. I mean personalization, as a construct, is something that it drives a deeper engagement. And again, from any of your demand gen, and when we say demand gen, we're talking about customers who may not even realize that they could be customers of yours yet. So from a life cycle standpoint, these are customers at the very top of your funnel. They might be doing research, they might be comparing, they might be even just dipping their toe into the concept of the product or the service that you're offering.

Rob: 00:11:56 So when we look at the demand gen personalization component, you're competing against noise, and a lot of noise. And so anything that you can do to grab someone's attention and make them stop, even just for a second, you've done your job. You've won, you have accomplished something. So once they stop, what are you asking them to do? And that's where personalization comes in.

Crystal Hueft: 00:12:19 Yeah, totally. I mean for me, I think it's getting almost scary good. Like sometimes I actually get concerned because... I'll give you an example. A couple of weeks ago, we were at home watching TV, me and my roommate, and she has her own little profile on my Netflix because she was watching so many foreign films, which is great when you're in the mood to read, but when you're not, it's really disturbing. So I promptly got her own, because it was messing with my algorithm. So we're on hers-

Rob: 00:12:50 Messing with my algorithm was the name of my band in college.

Crystal Hueft: 00:12:54 I mean that's fame. I love it.

Rob: 00:12:55 There was seven of us. It was a ska band. It didn't end well.

Crystal Hueft: 00:12:58 I love ska though, and I actually love that name. But basically, on this Netflix profile of hers, we both watch true crime. We both watch a lot of murdery thrillers and all that.

Rob: 00:13:09 Murdery?

Crystal Hueft: 00:13:10 Yeah. It's like probably... We always joke that if we ever died and they had to look at our Google history, of things we Google, and we're watching this stuff, that they would start to wonder who's a victim.

Rob: 00:13:20 One of you would be a suspect immediately.

Crystal Hueft: 00:13:22 Yeah. It's very strange. So I know we take it too far, but I'm looking through her categories while she's trying to find us something to watch, and she had a category... Now everyone knows Netflix does great personalization, but she had a category for dark procedural shows.

Rob: 00:13:39 That feels so personal to look over someone else's shoulder and see exactly what their Netflix recommendation history is, because you might accidentally see something that you weren't meant to see.

Crystal Hueft: 00:13:50 The other weird thing is, I'm sure she doesn't know I'm about to share it here. But the thing is, is I was giving her so much... I was teasing her major, because I'm looking at dark procedural shows. I'm like, I have crime. I even had British crime on mine. I've got like psychological thrillers-

Rob: 00:14:07 What's British crime? When like...

Crystal Hueft: 00:14:08 It's crime shows from Britain.

Rob: 00:14:10 Oh, okay. I thought it was like when you hit someone with tea or something.

Crystal Hueft: 00:14:13 Yeah. Secretly I'm holding out to marry a British man, so British crime shows, it kind of combines two loves.

Rob: 00:14:20 When you say secretly I'm holding out to marry a British man. What part of that is secret, as you say it on a podcast?

Crystal Hueft: 00:14:26 I guess maybe it's more of a lie to myself, because I'm definitely not waiting on that.

Rob: 00:14:29 Okay. Is it the accent?

Crystal Hueft: 00:14:31 I don't know. I just think they're very sarcastic. I enjoy it.

Rob: 00:14:34 Okay. The teeth?

Crystal Hueft: 00:14:34 All you really need to focus on-

Rob: 00:14:35 Austin Powers this.

Crystal Hueft: 00:14:37 All you need to focus on here is that she had dark procedural, and she knew exactly the type of thing that fits in that category.

Rob: 00:14:43 Okay.

Crystal Hueft: 00:14:44 It was normal to her.

Rob: 00:14:45 Sure, sure.

Crystal Hueft: 00:14:46 I've shared it with several other people, no one else has seen this topic. So I'm just thinking to myself, the level of personalization to find out, not only does she like dark crime shows, but dark crime shows that have procedural information.

Rob: 00:14:58 Elements. So by procedures, when the cop arrests and then the person goes to jail, and then they go to court, and then they're sentenced?

Crystal Hueft: 00:15:05 It's literally between her and Netflix. I have no clue. I've never heard of this subcategory.

Rob: 00:15:10 And that's the way every relationship should be, between you and your Netflix.

Crystal Hueft: 00:15:13 Yes. So that's probably my best story of personalization lately, because I just feel like Netflix drills down way further, and they do it seamlessly. So you do have to start to wonder, what kind of technology are they using? How are they building that algorithm, and how are they making it feel so personal to each person? I bet if I looked through mine, there would be ones that are maybe as creative as that, but that was the most creative one I've seen. And so I just think, sometimes I feel like it's hard to nail that.

Rob: 00:15:45 It's easy for a big company to personalize, because they have so much more data and they have so much more experience, and their algorithms are so much more refined. Is it easy for a small company to get involved in personalization?

Crystal Hueft: 00:15:57 Well that's what I was wondering myself when I saw that, because after I was done joking, I was really thinking about it. And I think it can be much more difficult. I mean think of some of the things people do with tags now, and I think that does make it a lot more easy to do that, once you understand how to use your tags and then how you segment your lists. But I think-

Rob: 00:16:16 So you're doing that through a marketing software, like an automation piece, or just through your CRM?

Crystal Hueft: 00:16:22 Yeah, I would say so. If you're able to tag. I mean even what we do with social media, tagging is very important for us to see what's coming-

Rob: 00:16:29 So when you say tagging, do you mean like tagging me in a Facebook post, or how do you mean?

Crystal Hueft: 00:16:33 No. So for instance, when we get posts in from all of our different channels, we'll usually tag it. Like if it's a negative comment, what is the negative essence of it? So is it a product bug, is it an issue with customer service?

Rob: 00:16:49 So you're tagging your activity-

Crystal Hueft: 00:16:50 You're categorizing.

Rob: 00:16:51 Your stage at each communication point. Okay. So you're going deep, you're going deep under the hood here. I like it.

Crystal Hueft: 00:16:57 I think that's what makes small businesses able to actually perform personalization. The other thing, I think there's a lot of fear in small business about actually taking personalization out, by using automated personalization. Whenever I've talked to small businesses, they talk about how they're scared that it's going to lose personal touch. But as you grow, even if you're just growing into a bigger small business, you need to be able to maintain some form of understanding who the customer is.

Crystal Hueft: 00:17:26 Not everywhere are you going to mom and pop shop anymore. You're doing it online, you're not having that personal interaction. So having tags, I think, like this person likes men's shoes. That's going to help you then send an email when you have a sale on men's shoes to the right people, and make sure you're getting it into the right hands.

Rob: 00:17:43 So you're talking about personalization based on behavior, based on user attributes?

Crystal Hueft: 00:17:49 You can base it on anything you find necessary. Purchase, spend. I mean there's lots of ways to start tagging your customers, as they do different things for your product or your service. Being able to understand who you're talking to. One time I got an email from someone that was telling me I had bought a pair of shoes for my dad for Christmas. This company continued to send me emails, which is fine, but they were sending me emails that were almost like I was a man.

Crystal Hueft: 00:18:17 And it just almost made me laugh a little bit, because yes, I may buy men's shoes every once in a while, but they weren't really targeting me effectively. I love when Amazon asks you is this a gift? Then they kind of know, right off the bat, just by you clicking that. Yes, it helps you get your gift receipt and helps you decide if you want it wrapped or not.

Rob: 00:18:38 Yeah, I'm thinking you're giving a lot of benevolence to our friends at Amazon. I think that they're asking if this is a gift so they can upsell you the $3.99 for wrapping. Which I happily took advantage of for Christmas for my niece and nephew in Canada.

Crystal Hueft: 00:18:49 For sure. Well, and I think that is part of it, but what I'm saying is I've never gotten requests or nudges from Amazon to buy those same things. They kind of understood it was like a gift.

Rob: 00:19:00 That's very interesting, because that is almost consistently what I get through Amazon. It's like "You previously bought this, is it time to buy more" or they put it into subscription, or-

Crystal Hueft: 00:19:06 Is it the ones you marked "It's a gift"?

Rob: 00:19:10 Oh, okay. I'm sorry.

Crystal Hueft: 00:19:11 Because when I mark "It's a gift", I think they also tag it that that's probably not something I'm going to buy regularly.

Rob: 00:19:17 Oh, sure. I'm much more selfish, I don't buy a lot of gifts on Amazon. It's all for Rob.

Crystal Hueft: 00:19:20 And me, I'm such an Amazon addict. I think on my next dating profile I'm going to put "likes long walks and Target, or digitally and Amazon".

Rob: 00:19:30 I just had a great idea. "Likes amazon.uk", and now we're killing two birds with one digital stone.

Crystal Hueft: 00:19:36 I think I'm going to buy that domain tomorrow.

Rob: 00:19:37 Wow. Likes Amazon... Well, I don't think you can buy amazon.uk. I think that might already... There might be an issue with that.

Crystal Hueft: 00:19:44 Good point.

Rob: 00:19:44 I mean, respectfully.

Crystal Hueft: 00:19:46 Good point. I think I'm fighting through the cold medicine with that one, but maybe I'll make a play on it that won't get me sued.

Rob: 00:19:51 Sure.

Crystal Hueft: 00:19:51 Either way, point is I buy too much on Amazon and they're another one that does great personalization. So that's your question, how does a small business, how do they accomplish even a percentage of what these other guys are doing, to make sure they stay in the race?

Rob: 00:20:07 Yeah. I mean it's difficult too because these great examples of personalization exist in a world where data is King. And for a lot of these companies like Amazon, like Netflix, like some of the things we've talked about today, data is King. I mean they own the data, they're able to dissect that data, to slice it and dice it and spit out results.

Rob: 00:20:27 When I look at personalization from a small business, it can be really simple. It can be as easy as, "Hey crystal, thank you so much for your order. We really appreciate it. Check here if you'd like to subscribe to our email, and we'll send more of X or more information relative to things just like X". And with one checkbox, one marketing opt-in email, and one first name, you have now accomplished the same thing as Amazon's gigantic behemoth data warehouse that says "you might like this as a result", or "you've now cornered the market on dark procedural crime shows on Netflix", with one email. And it can literally be that simple, and it can be just an inexpensive way to communicate with your audience.

Rob: 00:21:12 I'm a huge Disney nerd, no secret, and as a result, I'm constantly looking for Disneyland stuff or Disney stuff that isn't at the park. I say I'm a huge Disney nerd, I should really be honest with everyone who's listening. I am a huge Disney snob. If I see someone walking through Disneyland wearing the same shirt that I am, I'm very frustrated. I'm annoyed.

Crystal Hueft: 00:21:36 Well let's also be honest with them in general, I mean you're kind of a snob across the board. Just so they really know who they're talking with, or listening to right now.

Rob: 00:21:44 Fair. Shots fired, shots fired.

Crystal Hueft: 00:21:46 You take it up a notch when it comes to Disney.

Rob: 00:21:48 When it comes to Disney, yeah. So I don't buy merchandise in any of the 11,008 stores around Disneyland or in Disney World, Florida.

Crystal Hueft: 00:21:55 I actually like that about you. I like your Disney snobbishness.

Rob: 00:21:58 So I will look on very specific places. And so one of the places that I was looking at yesterday was on Etsy, and somebody had the original document drawings for the patent for the Matterhorn, which was the first-

Crystal Hueft: 00:22:13 I saw that actually on Etsy.

Rob: 00:22:14 Oh, did you? The first steel tube rollercoaster, I think in the world, it might be in the United States, but it's... It might be in the world, but it's definitely the United States. I may need to be fact checked on that. But someone had the original patent drawing. And it was an image, and then they had recreated it and blown it up. They turned it into an SVG, and then they've reprinted it and it was $10-

Crystal Hueft: 00:22:31 That's pretty cool.

Rob: 00:22:33 And I was like, "I would love that. Frame it, put it in my office at home". Because it's something neat, and it's a conversation starter, and it's not on every gosh darn t-shirt walking through Disneyland. So I did this and within an hour, within seconds, I got an email from Etsy, "Congratulations, your order's been purchased". I got an email, someone I had never met before. I don't know how it didn't land in spam, but it didn't. And it actually ended up in my email box. It was like, "Hey Rob, thank you so much for your order. We work hard on these. It's important that we get quality in these. And as a result, I'm going to ship this to you tomorrow morning. It'll be in the first round of mail. You should have it by the 14th, and here's some other pictures that you might think are really cool".

Rob: 00:23:16 Again, they saw the Disney snobbery, they saw the thing that I wanted. And one quick email fired off, and it was completely automated because it was nine o'clock on a Sunday night. Here we are, four days from now, I'm going to have a picture of the Matterhorn and I couldn't be happier. And that's personalization at its finest.

Crystal Hueft: 00:23:31 Totally.

Rob: 00:23:32 At a small business level.

Crystal Hueft: 00:23:33 I think Etsy is going to be big in the future. I think right now they're nailing what they can, similar to a small business. They don't have enough data yet to take the things that are six degrees of separation out yet, like Amazon and Netflix. But I think they're well on their way, and I love how unique all the stuff is on Etsy. So I think more and more people coming to Etsy and buying, it's going to give them more and more data and help them get even further with the personalization.

Rob: 00:24:01 Anything that to a small business can do to crack the personalization nut, I think is a huge win.

Speaker 1: 00:24:06 Howdy listeners. Keeping ever expanding client info straight, sending the same emails hundreds of times, scheduling and rescheduling appointments over and over. Who enjoys this nonsense? No one. Except my cousin Brent, and Brent is the absolute worst. Keap is the premier all-in-one CRM Just head over to Keap.com. That's K-E-A-P.com, and start your free trial today. Get the busy work out of the way, so you can focus on what's important and make your small business grow with Keap. Start your free trial at Keap.com. That's K-E-A-P.com. More business, less work. That's keap.

Derek: 00:24:53 Howdy folks, and welcome to worst business ideas in history, presented by Keap. I'm Derek Harju, and my buddy here is Dusey Van Dusen.

Dusey: 00:25:02 Dusey Van Dusen. This is our first episode, I should tell everybody. My name's Mike.

Derek: 00:25:07 Yeah. And here's the thing, I've been at Keap for a minute. You have been here for a much longer minute, and it full on was like my third week here before I realized your name was not Dusey Van Dusen. I think you're the only person on the Slack channel who is referred to by his-

Dusey: 00:25:25 By not their real name.

Derek: 00:25:26 Nickname.

Dusey: 00:25:26 Yeah, there's just... Folks, there's just a lot of Mikes. It's just easier. Dusey. Some people have called me that for ages.

Derek: 00:25:33 And here's the thing, I have figured out pretty fast that if you say Dusey in this building, everybody knows who you're talking about.

Dusey: 00:25:41 Yeah. Good branding I say. Good personal branding. All right, what are we looking at today, Derek?

Derek: 00:25:46 I'm glad you brought up branding, because I think we can all agree, one of the greatest brands in human history, Pepsi.

Dusey: 00:25:53 Oh, yeah.

Derek: 00:25:54 Everybody knows Pepsi.

Dusey: 00:25:55 Only second to Coke probably, right?

Derek: 00:25:58 Sure. And I feel like they would argue that point. But whether you like it or not, everybody knows Pepsi. It's ubiquitous, you can't get away from it.

Dusey: 00:26:06 Yeah.

Derek: 00:26:07 Would I really would love to talk about today, and it's been an obsession of mine forever, is 1990s edition of the product crystal Pepsi.

Dusey: 00:26:20 Okay.

Derek: 00:26:21 Okay. Now I'm assuming you at least have a vague memory of this product?

Dusey: 00:26:24 I have a vague memory, and it's very vague, because in my house we didn't drink caffeine.

Derek: 00:26:30 Okay. Well then I have good news for you, but keep going.

Dusey: 00:26:33 Oh well, I was going to say, I think I remember trying... Because did the crystal Pepsi have caffeine?

Derek: 00:26:38 That was one of the things. The crystal Pepsi was put out during 1990s, I believe it was '93, I have the data in front of me but I'm too lazy to look down at it. It was put out as a healthy soda alternative. The idea was they would remove the Cola coloring, they would remove the, I believe it said the sodium benzoate, which is the preservative. And they were to remove the artificial colors and the caffeine.

Dusey: 00:27:05 And the caffeine, okay. I think I tried it at that time because it didn't have caffeine in it, but I didn't have a good comparison.

Derek: 00:27:14 All of this on top of the idea that they were going to... It was still supposed to taste like Cola. Now, there was this wave in the nineties of people trying to be healthier, but frankly, not really knowing how to do it. The eighties and the nineties, in fact, were a time in which people sought out health but had no real scientific evidence to back up what they were doing.

Dusey: 00:27:39 What was given to them was more something that would appear more healthy.

Derek: 00:27:43 Right, which is exactly what this was. It was like crystal Pepsi, it's clear. If you can see through something, that means it has nothing to hide.

Dusey: 00:27:50 It's as healthy as water.

Derek: 00:27:51 Yeah. So basically Pepsi took a look at this attempt at a healthier lifestyle by many people in the 90s and said, you know what, we can capitalize on this. So they put hundreds of millions of dollars behind a marketing push, and a Van Halen tie-in and a Superbowl commercial-

Dusey: 00:28:15 I knew about the Superbowl, but not about the van Halen tie-in. Oh man.

Derek: 00:28:19 And it was Van Hagar. It was post David Lee Roth. But I mean, they went to the extent, trying to make crystal Pepsi a success, of sending people full bottles of this product in the mail with the Sunday paper, in portions of the East coast. No joke.

Dusey: 00:28:36 That's incredible.

Derek: 00:28:37 You got your Sunday paper and there was a bottle of soda wrapped up inside it.

Dusey: 00:28:41 That seems insane now. That just seems insane now. It's like, wow.

Derek: 00:28:47 Putting liquid in the mail.

Dusey: 00:28:48 Yeah, right?

Derek: 00:28:50 Liquid nobody asked for. Nobody asked for this product. There was no demand for it. You just got this clear viscous bottle of liquid with your Sunday paper.

Dusey: 00:29:00 I can see the thinking though. Like let's just get people to try it, right?

Derek: 00:29:05 And that's where they first saw some significant success. Which was, it was a weird product. So a lot of people bought a few, two liters of this, some six packs, just being like, "what's this weird clear Pepsi?". So they tried it out. I tried it out. I remember I have a very vivid memory of being in middle school, and this was the time when they first started allowing vending... Not allowing, beverage companies were pushing vending machines into middle schools and high schools-

Dusey: 00:29:32 Get them hooked early.

Derek: 00:29:33 Get that addiction in early, in a confined space. And here was the problem. After you got past the novelty factor, the soda was just kind of gross and weird.

Dusey: 00:29:45 Well, yeah.

Derek: 00:29:45 And here's the thing, some people liked it, but most people had this mental disconnect between something that looked like Sprite but kind of tasted like Pepsi. And so it messed with people's mind enough to where they typically didn't buy much of it after that.

Dusey: 00:30:02 It wasn't what they were expecting, one way or the other. It didn't taste like Sprite, it didn't taste like Pepsi.

Derek: 00:30:06 It didn't. There were people like... You're absolutely right. They wanted it to taste like Pepsi. It tasted like a completely third unknown option. This brings rise to the next big problem with this push. They actually make a few hundred million dollars in the first six months.

Dusey: 00:30:23 Wow.

Derek: 00:30:24 The product's initial launch was a success, but after the novelty wore off, now what you have is store shelves packed with this product that does not have the preservatives that the other products on the same shelf have.

Dusey: 00:30:39 Oh, no. This doesn't sound good.

Derek: 00:30:41 And here's the other thing. Pepsi wanted that product front and center. So if you went to a convenience store, they were right in the window. You know what's also right in the window? Sunlight. Do you know what sunlight does to a sugared beverage with no preservative in it? It cooks it. Which means that the next person that buys that bottle, just basically got a completely different third product, which is cooked, unpreserved, clear Pepsi-ish fluid.

Dusey: 00:31:08 Was it safe at least?

Derek: 00:31:10 In my research, and I did do research, I did not find any instances of people saying that they got sick from that product.

Dusey: 00:31:16 Okay. But it really changed the nature of it enough that it would taste different.

Derek: 00:31:20 The word gross, viscus, vinegar-like was bandied about.

Dusey: 00:31:27 Well, Mr. Smith, what's our number one feedback on the crystal Pepsi? Well, our word cloud here has the word gross really big on top.

Derek: 00:31:35 And this was all helped along. Coke is, by the way, sitting back and loving this. Loving every moment. Coke can't sit idly by and just let it happen. They step in with another product that almost no one has heard of. And that is tab clear.

Dusey: 00:31:50 Tab clear?

Derek: 00:31:52 Tab clear. Do you actually remember tab clear?

Dusey: 00:31:54 Very vaguely. Only because I had a friend whose parents got tab all the time.

Derek: 00:32:00 Okay.

Dusey: 00:32:02 It never really hit me, but there was just like "Oh yeah, they have tab. There's this new tab or something". I didn't even know what tab... I think I learned about both of them at the same time. I'd never even heard of tab, and then heard of that tab clear.

Derek: 00:32:16 Technically I was born in 1979, so I grew up kind of in the '80s, adolescents in the '90s. In the 80s, tab was okay. People drank tab, it was a viable product. By the '90s nobody cared about Tab.

Dusey: 00:32:30 I'm a little bit younger than you, I'm from '84.

Derek: 00:32:34 Yeah, it would pop up a movie, I think it's in working girl. It was the diet Coke before diet Coke. It was a kind of orphaned brand by that point. It was still around, because it had niche markets, but Coke was like, "Ah, we can use this". So they produce tab clear, thoroughly with the intention of the product tanking. Because what it did, is it created a situation where Pepsi now not only had to deal with their failing product, they had to compete against another failing product that was developed from day one to fail.

Dusey: 00:33:06 That is... Crazy.

Derek: 00:33:07 Coke happily spent millions of dollars to produce a product they knew would fail, because they knew it would also accelerate Pepsi's hardships.

Dusey: 00:33:16 That's brutal. That is just brutal.

Derek: 00:33:20 Yeah. Can you imagine a corporation torpedoing its own product, to go after something you've created? So what ended up... I mean the boondoggle of this product is summed up in, in fact, a statement by the CEO and chairman of yum brands, which is the larger conglomerate that owns Pepsi along with too many other food products to count. Straight out of this man's mouth, the guy who's privilege and career lived and died by this product is, "It would have been nice if we'd made sure the product tasted good".

Dusey: 00:33:55 Okay. So what can small business owners that are listening to this, take away from this story of crystal Pepsi?

Derek: 00:34:03 I think what you can see with the rise and fall of this particular product, and it's fun to make fun of it. It is in fact a very large portion of why this show exists. Is you need to ask the question, does anybody want what I've created? You may think you have a really cool idea, and in fact you may get a room full of people to agree that you have a really cool idea, but you need to talk to who you believe your core audience is.

Derek: 00:34:28 This is an excellent time to bring up personas. Some people who are into marketing or small business, or even app development, know what a persona is. Basically is you create a fictional person, who is the representation of what your audience is. A fictional guy or girl-

Dusey: 00:34:46 Here's Jenny. And here's all about Jenny, and it matches what our target audience is. We can imagine marketing to Jenny, and have confidence, if we've done our research, that that is marketing to our core audience?

Derek: 00:35:00 Right. You need to have a vision. You need to figure out that persona, and then you need to make sure that you are asking that person, in droves, whether they want what you're about to offer them. Because that is not what happened here. People will make the case that research was done. No, I'll guarantee you what actually happened here was somebody said "people want to be healthier. You know what's healthy? Clear stuff. Water's clear, air's clear. People love water and air".

Dusey: 00:35:30 You make some, you go give it to a few people in a small group, and get some positive response. And well, Hey, it must be good. And of course you want to... It's easy to not look as critical at the thing that you're making.

Derek: 00:35:41 Yeah.

Dusey: 00:35:42 I think there's also something to be said about expectations, right? Setting expectations about what your product is and what it does. Right? If you are, whether it's overselling it or underselling it. Like if you're saying it's going to do all these things and it doesn't, you're going to end up with unhappy customers. If people think that you are for one type of customer, but you're really for a different customer, then you're going to have issues when you're trying to get that word out to the market because people are going to think, "Oh, this must be for people that are athletes, so actually it's more for this kind of person". Setting those expectations up front I think is super important, because when you take that first sip of your product, if it's not what you thought it was, it might not even matter if it's good.

Derek: 00:36:25 Because once people think it's weird, they're kind of done with it. Well, this has been worst business ideas in history. We were talking about crystal Pepsi, which by the way, if you want a fun rabbit hole to fall down, just Google crystal Pepsi rise and fall and you'll get at least 20 minutes worth of mild Shodon, Freudian entertainment out of it.

Dusey: 00:36:44 There's your recommendation for the week. Google crystal Pepsi.

Derek: 00:36:48 I've been Derek Harju.

Dusey: 00:36:48 And this is Dusey Van Duse.

Derek: 00:36:50 And we'll talk to you next time.

Dusey: 00:36:51 Bye.

Rob: 00:36:53 So as we continue to talk about... I started with an "and", so I'm not going to start with an "and" in case people are jumping in. I should think about that. You know, it's one of those things, as a writer, I would start sentences with "and" because that's how I talk. And now here I'm talking, and I'm very anxious about starting a sentence with the word "and". So I'm not going to do that.

Crystal Hueft: 00:37:08 Most people don't care.

Rob: 00:37:11 No. I'm a grammar aficionado, so I'm constantly... If somebody says something and they mess up the grammar, heaven help them because I will... They may as well just put a big red nose on and a red Afro wig.

Crystal Hueft: 00:37:26 I think just stay away from your, you're, your. As long as you stay away from that and the two to too, then you're fine.

Rob: 00:37:32 When you're talking?

Crystal Hueft: 00:37:33 Yeah like the your things, you're going to do this.

Rob: 00:37:39 Sure.

Crystal Hueft: 00:37:39 Make sure you get those right, because people will come for you. But I think you're okay if you use "and" in the beginning of a sentence.

Rob: 00:37:46 Fair, fair.

Crystal Hueft: 00:37:46 Without the people coming for you.

Rob: 00:37:49 So I used to do a lot of work, a lot of media relations work, in a previous life, and we would do media training. I would work with doctors and professionals at this hospital, and I would hit them over the head. Whatever you do, you are having a conversation with one person that is being projected to thousands or millions of people.

Crystal Hueft: 00:38:08 No pressure.

Rob: 00:38:09 If you look at the person you're talking to, it's an organic normal conversation. If you look directly into the camera, you are staring into the soul of 1 million people do not do that. It is the most jarring thing ever. And I taught my wife that. So we even, to this day, watch the local news, and you see someone doing a Streeter. And this poor reporter who has no article or story for the day, so they're out interviewing people about what they think of the news of the day, and you see the person turn to the camera and it's like, "Oh, you are staring into the soul, into the eyeballs. You are birding into the eyeballs of every single person watching this show. Do not look at the camera".

Crystal Hueft: 00:38:45 Well, politicians are using that all the time right now.

Rob: 00:38:50 I mean that's different. I'm talking about someone who's doing an interview, like a conversation based thing. If you're monologuing, or there's a soliloquy based on it, then absolutely.

Crystal Hueft: 00:38:59 I think you actually would scare me as a hype man, if you were like, "There's nothing to worry about, but if you look dead in the center of the camera, you're only speaking to a million people". I’d be like, "I'm out. I'm out immediately".

Rob: 00:39:12 You don't even realize that it's happening. But you're doing... Because it is just one person. So you're doing an interview and you're talking. I still remember the very first interview I did. It was about... I worked for the Canadian military and it was at the army base, and I was being interviewed and it was a story about how soldiers were feeling about something. And I had prepared and I had my notes-

Crystal Hueft: 00:39:35 That's definitely the Canadian-

Rob: 00:39:37 Oh, it is.

Crystal Hueft: 00:39:37 Military base. That's not an American thing.

Rob: 00:39:40 We're doing this story and it's live. It's live on the six o'clock news. We're in like the 6:03 segment, so it's like the lead story. And we're talking about how the soldiers are reacting to some news that might've been a funding news, or a deployment news. And I said, I had my notes, but for some reason she's like, "Well, how are the people like handling this? How are the families and the soldiers?"

Rob: 00:40:00 And I, literally that weekend, had seen the first Shrek movie. And inside the first Shrek movie, Shrek says, "Ogres are like onions, they have many layers". And I legitimately said "Soldiers are like onions, they have many layers". And as I'm saying it, I'm like, I'm hearing it. And I'm like, Oh no, what have I done? What am I doing?

Crystal Hueft: 00:40:29 I'm trying not to laugh, because of my cough. But I'm laughing internally.

Rob: 00:40:34 The reporter was stunned. She's like, "What?". And so that's my very first live interview was the highlight. It was only smooth sailing and downhill from there. But that's an example. We talk about personalization, and we have been talking about personalization. But staring deep into the camera, having bad analogies, that's a very good example of bad personalization. Because I have made the person that I'm trying to talk to, that I'm trying to communicate with, that I'm trying to sell to, I've made them feel weird. I've made it weird.

Rob: 00:41:06 I made it weird was the name of my junior high band. But we weren't ska, we were metal.

Crystal Hueft: 00:41:12 Oh, dang.

Rob: 00:41:13 We made it weird. And then someone else came with that name. We were better though.

Crystal Hueft: 00:41:16 So I mean, I tend to like your ska band.

Rob: 00:41:18 My ska band, do you remember the name of my ska band?

Crystal Hueft: 00:41:21 Messing with my algorithm?

Rob: 00:41:23 Messing with my algorithm. Yeah, that's right. We had two albums.

Crystal Hueft: 00:41:25 It's a classic.

Rob: 00:41:26 We toured a little bit. So we talk about bad personalization, and I think an example that I wanted to talk about right now, is it's campaign season. So I'm getting emails daily, sometimes hourly, from different candidates that I've previously donated to in the past. And then they share their mailing lists amongst each other, so then they're going to hit me up because I'm a soft touch for everybody.

Rob: 00:41:47 And I got one the other day, and it was my absolute favorite marketing email of all time. It's the most common mistake. "Hey F name". And the reason we joke about that, about the F name email being the most common mistake, is that when you're personalizing an email, a lot of CRMs, a lot of marketing automation software, allows you to drop in fields which will auto-populate with customer records. So "Hey, F name" would probably more commonly be replaced with, "Hey, Rob", or "Hey, Crystal".

Crystal Hueft: 00:42:15 Yeah, I would assume so.

Rob: 00:42:17 So that's what you're looking for. But when you're building those emails, if you get even one line of code wrong, or if your algorithm doesn't fire properly, or if something just goes sideways, or if the software just hiccups, you'll get the dreaded "Hey, F name". And it's jarring, because you're expecting a level of personalization, because everybody's doing it now.

Rob: 00:42:35 So I've got 15 emails in my inbox, and again, remember I'm the batch email deleter. I don't look at any of them. But "Hey, Rob", "Hey", "Hey", "Hey, Mr. Stevenson". "Hey, Grace's dad". That one's a stretch. But those are all levels of personalization that I get. And "Hey, F name" sticks out like a sore thumb. And not in a good way.

Crystal Hueft: 00:42:56 I'm not going to lie, If I saw that even though I know what it means they messed up on, my first instinct is, why are you insulting me?

Rob: 00:43:05 Really? You think it's an insulting thing? Interesting.

Crystal Hueft: 00:43:07 Well, F name, it's like kind of an "F U".

Rob: 00:43:10 Oh, I see.

Crystal Hueft: 00:43:12 I'm just saying, of all the mistakes.

Rob: 00:43:14 Yeah. I thought you were going to say, "I'm going to click on it to see, did they really make this mistake?".

Crystal Hueft: 00:43:20 No, I know they made a mistake.

Rob: 00:43:21 Actually maybe it's a really sophisticated marketing trick to get you to open the email, because F name? I'm not F name, I'm crystal.

Crystal Hueft: 00:43:27 I'm ready to go ahead and brawl at that point when I see it.

Rob: 00:43:31 Really? That's super interesting.

Crystal Hueft: 00:43:33 And then I'm like, "Oh, they just messed up and put the wrong configuration. They didn't get my name or whatever". But no, when I see it I'm like "F-you? What are you talking about, F name?".

Rob: 00:43:43 That's funny. And then sometimes I will open it. I'm not going to lie, as a marketing junkie, I will open it and see if it's "Dear F name, L name", or if they actually managed to get Stevenson in there, or how many times did they mess up the code, or did someone hit send inside their Keap account too early and they didn't have all their fields attached. It could be something that simple, so I will look for that to see-

Crystal Hueft: 00:44:03 That's when you know you're dealing with a marketing junkie, because the only emails that are getting opened in your inbox are the ones that messed up.

Rob: 00:44:11 So I want to tell you a really funny story about being a marketing junkie and personalization. I wear an Apple watch. I'm a tech nerd. Love the tech. I've got a day one, gen one, Apple watch. Love it. Can't bring myself to spend-

Crystal Hueft: 00:44:27 We're back to the snob thing again.

Rob: 00:44:28 Well no, everyone's got an Apple watch.

Crystal Hueft: 00:44:30 Everyone's got their own snobby things.

Rob: 00:44:33 I can't bring myself to spend $400 for a new one. The old one still works, even though the battery's a little shady. But I am into comfortable wristbands, and so I've been looking and looking and I found this company called Braxley, B-R-A-X-L-E-Y. Brands. Not a sponsor. Not yet. But they had the most comfortable wristbands for an Apple watch, in the history of wristbands. It is this piece of stretchy elastic Lycra, that it fits directly into the watch. I'm wearing it right now. It's the most comfortable, stretchiest thing in the whole world. It holds it perfectly tight, no slipping, no nothing. It doesn't absorb sweat. I loved it.

Rob: 00:45:10 And I looked and I looked and I looked, and I Googled it and I found it, and I'm like, well maybe there's a company in China that makes it, Nope. Braxley has the market covered on these bands. They're the first-

Crystal Hueft: 00:45:17 They look nice.

Rob: 00:45:18 They're a small company. This is the denim band. And I was like, all right, I am totally going to get that. Didn't know how much it was. Went to the website, looked it up, put it in my cart and it was $30. And I was like, Oh that's a lot. Because again, I'm cheap. I said this before, I am cheap. I don't like to spend-

Crystal Hueft: 00:45:38 Yeah, and I feel like $30 for one denim... It's not even a black one. I mean, if we look at your outfit right now, you're basically a denim shirt away from a Canadian tuxedo.

Rob: 00:45:48 Careful, careful.

Crystal Hueft: 00:45:49 Then your denim wristband would be almost an accessory to that whole getup.

Rob: 00:45:53 Agreed. Yes.

Crystal Hueft: 00:45:55 But I mean, it's tough to wear denim. Denim is at least better than like bright orange, or something.

Rob: 00:45:59 Sure.

Crystal Hueft: 00:46:00 You probably want a couple of options is my point.

Rob: 00:46:02 It was was $30 and it sat inside my checkout, inside of my shopping cart, and I thought $30. My wife and I have a rule at home that if one of us is going to spend more than $20, we just bounce it off the other person. Not for-

Crystal Hueft: 00:46:16 Really? Wow, that's a low barrier.

Rob: 00:46:18 It's just to make sure that we know what we're doing, and know what we're spending, and know what we're buying. I mean, I don't want to surprise her.

Crystal Hueft: 00:46:23 Sure.

Rob: 00:46:24 I mean we've been together for 20 plus years, and it's magical and I love her, and if you're listening, I love you sweetheart. So we have this rule, and it was $30. I'm like shoot, that is outside of... So I'm going to have to check. And then I got the dreaded shipping charge. And the shipping was $6.95.

Crystal Hueft: 00:46:42 Shipping will make me abandon a cart real quick.

Rob: 00:46:44 Yup, it will. And from a personalization standpoint, you got me there and you got me into your website, and I got to the cart and then you hit me with $6 in shipping when we both know that this is going to require one 45 cents... Well geez, how much is a stamp nowadays? 53 cents? 51 cents?

Crystal Hueft: 00:47:01 I don't even know.

Rob: 00:47:01 $10? I don't know, I'm showing my ignorance. But one envelope, it's not $6.95 shipping and handling. Don't Kay tell me here, or don't Columbia records... Do you remember Columbia records? Columbia, what was it called? Columbia... Columbia CD house, or Columbia tape club, and you sign up and you get-

Crystal Hueft: 00:47:22 Oh, all the CDs?

Rob: 00:47:24 You get 10 CDs for a dollar, and then the next one is $129 and your first born child.

Crystal Hueft: 00:47:28 Yeah.

Rob: 00:47:29 Yeah.

Derek: 00:47:29 It's the record club.

Rob: 00:47:32 Helpful producer Derek jumped in, it was the Columbia record club. Anyway, so I'm like, don't Columbia record club me on my wristband, braxley. So I exited out, moved on to something else, completely forgot. I had my phone on my hand. 10 minutes later my phone buzzes. It's a text. I'm going that's weird. And again, I'm guilty. I looked at texts, "Hey Rob, it's" and I'm going to make up a name, I don't remember who it was. "It's Monica from Braxley. Saw that you had the denim wristband in your cart. Great choice. Saw that you walked away from your cart. Totally understand. What if I gave you a custom promo code to take 20% off of that wristband? What would you think?"

Rob: 00:48:13 And I was like, "Oh my God, Becky, send me that promo code". Yeah, that was my first thought because obviously we got to this point and I desperately want this band, but the marketing nerd in me was like, "Are you a real person, Monica? What's happening here?" And yeah, Monica is a real person that has a chat widget built into her website, and she's able to scrape my first name out of my shopping cart, and send it to me and have me get an SMS within 10 minutes of me picking the purchase that I'm going to make, and send me a custom promo code.

Rob: 00:48:46 And so I sent her back and forth texts for the next 10 minutes. We got to the point where Monica is like, "I'm a small business owner who has kids at home and I would love to talk marketing with you, but I'm going to bed. So thank you very much". Long story short, I bought the wristband because Monica sent me a text and engaged in a real conversation with me. Now is that scalable? Maybe not, but it's definitely repeatable, and I'm going to go back to Braxley Bands for my next Apple watch band.

Crystal Hueft: 00:49:10 Well I also think it might not be scalable if she continues to grow and succeed at this, but right now it probably is scalable to some degree, or she wouldn't be able to do it. I had a similar experience with a company called Sunday Morning Pancakes.

Rob: 00:49:25 What do they make?

Crystal Hueft: 00:49:26 Yeah, you would never guess what they make.

Rob: 00:49:27 When do they make them?

Crystal Hueft: 00:49:28 They make really cool shirts. I'm a fiend for a graphic tee-

Rob: 00:49:33 Can confirm.

Crystal Hueft: 00:49:33 Yes. And usually, their graphics are nineties hip hop references, which I'm also a super fan of. But that's the name of her business, and she did the same thing, the abandoned cart text with a 20% off, which is how I bought my first shirt.

Rob: 00:49:53 Which one? Which one did you buy?

Crystal Hueft: 00:49:54 I bought I'm so I creep, it was a Halloween play on TLC, and it had a ghost on it. So they had me at-

Rob: 00:50:01 What's TLC?

Crystal Hueft: 00:50:03 Really? TLC is a nineties girl band.

Rob: 00:50:06 Oh, okay.

Crystal Hueft: 00:50:06 Girl group. I guess they're more of a group.

Rob: 00:50:09 I'm just going to make you explain it every time until everyone realizes that you were born in 1992, and this is your jame.

Crystal Hueft: 00:50:14 I wish I was born in 1992, you're being kind. I'm an 81-er.

Rob: 00:50:18 Okay.

Crystal Hueft: 00:50:18 But the 90s were the prime of my... You're coming up on your own, you're starting to pick your own music. So nineties hip hop is my jam. Yeah, Salt and Pepper, so far the list has been like two girl bands, but it's been multiple options. Anyways, since buying that first shirt-

Rob: 00:50:37 From Sunday Morning Pancakes?

Crystal Hueft: 00:50:38 Yes, from Sunday Morning Pancakes.

Rob: 00:50:40 Right, are they a sponsor?

Crystal Hueft: 00:50:41 I'm now on their email list, and they're a small business that's doing a lot of great personalization. So they did the abandoned texts, abandoned cart text, which got me to buy. Since then I've bought like three more shirts, because what they also do is they send you an email, "Oh we saw you look at this on our website, and this is now a percentage off". Or "Are you still thinking about this?". They also include other things you might like, and it's really hard for me to say no to a nineties hip hop reference t-shirt. I'm not going to lie. So now because of that one abandoned cart texts, I've bought like three other shirts, and I'm regularly opening her emails.

Rob: 00:51:22 Do you ever worry about promo fatigue, where now you're waiting for that personalized email with the 20% off? Does that come into play? Is that one of the negative connotations, or negative consequences of personalization? Are we training people to be-

Crystal Hueft: 00:51:38 No. With her I don't, but you know who I do that with is bath and body works. For a long time, and I'll say I think they've actually corrected it now, they had the same four promos going into a loop, and so I would just wait. The only thing I really buy from there, I like their candles and their antibacterial soap. So I would wait for the sales on those two. They were two of the four sales, and I wouldn't buy until it comes up. Not when I needed it, I would just go buy in batch, knowing it was coming. They've kind of corrected that a bit. So kudos to them, because for a while I was like, this is getting played out.

Rob: 00:52:10 Cool. Well hang on a second, I'm going to run and check out Sunday morning pancakes.

Crystal Hueft: 00:52:16 Okay.

Rob: 00:52:16 I'm going to find myself some new ones.

Crystal Hueft: 00:52:17 You'll enjoy it.

Rob: 00:52:18 Thank you. I've had family in town for a couple of weeks now.

Crystal Hueft: 00:52:24 Still? Are they trying to do that whole touch your foot in Canadian soil for months?

Rob: 00:52:28 The last ones left today, and I love my family so much. And the family that was here this last little bit, the only way we were able to make it to this last part was because they were cool. And they're going to San Miguel. They have a condo in San Miguel, Mexico. And so were on the way, they're from Canada, from British Columbia, and they're driving down and it's super rad. They love the drive, it's beautiful. And it was so nice to have them stay with us. My wife has some pretty awesome aunts and uncles-

Crystal Hueft: 00:52:59 Me too, Canadian ones.

Rob: 00:52:59 So hanging out with them... Yeah. So hanging out with Canadian aunts and uncles, I think we can agree-

Crystal Hueft: 00:53:04 The best.

Rob: 00:53:04 The best. But they're very fussy about their coffee. We talk about personalization, and we have been. They won't do... I would never offend them by saying Dunkin donuts or Tim Horton's. Not even Starbucks, not even BlackRock or some fancy coffee house. They travel with a $1,200 latte machine.

Crystal Hueft: 00:53:26 Wow.

Rob: 00:53:27 They are in a Honda Ridgeline. They pull up, and my aunt walks in. Or my wife, Cory's aunt walks in with a big 40 liter... Or no, probably 68 liter, a big gigantic tub. A gigantic rubber made tub with a lid on it. And I was like, is that laundry? Like what's going on? And she said, "No, we're very fussy about our coffee. And so this is our coffee, and this is our latte machine".

Crystal Hueft: 00:53:53 No wonder they drive, can't check that.

Rob: 00:53:54 And they proceeded to, they made lattes for us and it was amazing. And then they made coffee for us yesterday and it was amazing. So my wife-

Crystal Hueft: 00:54:02 How long were they here?

Rob: 00:54:03 They were here four days.

Crystal Hueft: 00:54:05 I hope they made you coffee each day.

Rob: 00:54:07 They did. And then we went shopping. We decided we wanted ribs yesterday, so we went to the pork chop, a small business in queen Creek to try and find some, but they were closed. So we ended up going to big box, but they were still great ribs. And we passed a Dutch bros, and I thought we're going to do a podcast tomorrow. The small business buzz, let's support a small-ish business. I mean they still have locations all over the world, but my wife loves how the people at Dutch bros make her feel.

Crystal Hueft: 00:54:32 I mean, how do they do that? It's literally a step up even from Chick-Filet.

Rob: 00:54:39 We have mixed feelings.

Crystal Hueft: 00:54:40 Because Chick-Filet, I questioned if they're real.

Rob: 00:54:42 My wife and I have very mixed feelings about the sales process at Dutch bros, because I would much rather... That's very funny. Dutch bros is almost cult-like. People have this affinity-

Crystal Hueft: 00:54:57 That is a cult I would join, though. If you're just happy and talking about coffee and life, and what are you going to do later today, then I'm in it. No Jesus juice.

Rob: 00:55:06 Fair. I see that point, but don't talk to me for six minutes. Make my coffee faster. And I get upset because every person that they talk to for six minutes means that line is now half an hour or 36 minutes, 42 minutes. Make my coffee faster.

Crystal Hueft: 00:55:21 This is coming from the men that spent seven minutes telling us about his car troubles just not too long ago.

Rob: 00:55:26 I'm still getting palpitations about my car. I can't even. Anyway, the long story short, I decided I'm going to take my aunt and uncle, the coffee afficinados, we're going to go to Dutch bros. And he gets a coffee and he takes a sip, and he looks at me, he goes, "This is canoe coffee". And I said, "Canoe coffee, what's that?". He goes, [inaudible 00:55:48].

Crystal Hueft: 00:55:49 I mean, I get it.

Rob: 00:55:50 Okay, but you didn't laugh.

Crystal Hueft: 00:55:52 I can't laugh, I told this cough.

Rob: 00:55:53 I almost fell over laughing yesteday.

Crystal Hueft: 00:55:58 Also, I'm just sitting here thinking... I was thinking too, maybe he just meant it's the kind of crud coffee you take out onto the Lake or something when you're fishing.

Rob: 00:56:07 Oh, did I screw up that joke?

Crystal Hueft: 00:56:08 I don't know. But you also-

Rob: 00:56:10 I screwed up the joke.

Crystal Hueft: 00:56:11 You also got an immediate buzz there, so you hurt our listener's ears.

Rob: 00:56:16 This coffee is [inaudible 00:00:56:19].

Crystal Hueft: 00:56:20 Wait, how does that even make sense? Now you've really lost me.

Rob: 00:56:24 Because, yeah... I'm going to get buzzed again. So let's, moving on.

Crystal Hueft: 00:56:29 Basically, you're bad at telling jokes.

Rob: 00:56:32 Yes. Moving on to something else that doesn't make me look a little stupid.

Crystal Hueft: 00:56:36 You also offended a whole chain of coffee.

Rob: 00:56:40 Ah, they're pituity soaked hipsters. Who cares?

Derek: 00:56:42 We're going to bleep the name.

Crystal Hueft: 00:56:46 You've got three bleeps in one joke. Three bleeps and one bad joke in. So now you've joined the ranks of everyone else that said something ridiculous today.

Rob: 00:56:55 I feel shame.

Crystal Hueft: 00:56:57 No shame needed, I just don't want you to feel above everyone else.

Rob: 00:57:01 It was a good joke.

Crystal Hueft: 00:57:01 I haven't been bleeped yet, right producers? No one's bleeped me?

Rob: 00:57:05 I blew it.

Crystal Hueft: 00:57:06 No, I think I've just talked about nineties hip hop and a little bit about my dating life.

Rob: 00:57:10 I could've got it with a dad joke.

Crystal Hueft: 00:57:11 You got three bleeps.

Rob: 00:57:11 I got three bleeps.

Crystal Hueft: 00:57:12 It's okay.

Rob: 00:57:13 I'm never going to live this down.

Crystal Hueft: 00:57:14 Back to personalization.

Rob: 00:57:15 Well, I mean the coffee from the Pituly soaked hipster that was serving it to me had my name on the side. That's personalization. That's good, no?

Crystal Hueft: 00:57:22 I mean that's a level of it, for sure.

Rob: 00:57:25 Bueller? No?

Crystal Hueft: 00:57:26 I mean kicking it old school, that was the only personalization we used to have back in the day before the worldwide webs.

Rob: 00:57:34 Yeah, and like terrible jokes, there are consequences to personalization. When you look at how personalization is captured, it's leveraged through data. Customers give you that data and they trust you either through CCPA, through GDPR, through the cookies policy that you have on your website. But they give you that data-

Crystal Hueft: 00:57:53 PCI.

Rob: 00:57:54 Sure. PCI is more relative in my experience. PCI's more relative to confidential information.

Crystal Hueft: 00:58:00 It's payment card industry, so it's usually like the data of the credit cards. Which back in the day, and probably still, some small businesses don't have a way to track that. So it's still within that data privacy.

Rob: 00:58:12 I would've thought that a lot of our small businesses use PCI compliant websites or two stage processes to take care of that.

Crystal Hueft: 00:58:19 I think they should, but some small service space, they might just grab your credit card on a pad of paper when they're out and about, and that's also part of data. Which by the way, when you brought up data privacy, I think my response was, "Ugh", who wants to talk about that? It's not sexy. It's not fun. It's just data privacy. But I mean it's also a little scary right now when you look at some of the big companies that have the money to protect your data, and have lost it this year.

Rob: 00:58:46 Yeah, I mean there's an inherent responsibility to protect that data when it arrives on your website, but more specifically what you do with that data. Because you will completely nip all of the Goodwill that you've created with a personalized email in the bud, if the person's like, "How did you get that information? This is super creepy. I don't like it".

Crystal Hueft: 00:59:03 It also can be costly. If you've lost data, you can actually request to have someone pay for your credit monitoring service for like a year. And if you multiply that by however many thousands or hundreds of customers’ data you lost, I mean it can actually get very costly.

Rob: 00:59:20 Yeah, I mean the whole concept, the whole thought of a breach is just... It's terrifying. So I mean from a privacy perspective, that's why you need to have something that's going to help you lock that data down, make sure that your CRM is up to snuff, that it's like you said, PCI compliant, but also CCPA GDPR compliant. So the people that are giving you that information, you're protecting it to the best of your ability. And I think that that's all any small business... That's all anyone can ask of a small business, is that they're going to treat your confidential information with the same privacy and integrity that they would protect their own.

Crystal Hueft: 00:59:53 Well, more and more different countries have different rules. Even in the States here, different States have different rules for privacy now. So it gets more and more, I guess, cumbersome to make sure you're protecting data in all the ways you need to these days with hackers and people trying to get that data.

Rob: 01:00:11 Yeah, no, I agree completely. And I think that that's kind of the double edged sword that personalization offers. If you're able to leverage that data really intelligently and put it into your website, put it into your marketing, put it into your outbound efforts on the demand gen side, you are tasked with that same responsibility to protect that data and make sure that it doesn't go anywhere that it shouldn't go, and that you're taking that data. You're not only being compliant from a privacy legislation standpoint, but that you're doubly protecting that data to make sure that it doesn't fall into the hands of some of the things that you were just talking about.

Crystal Hueft: 01:00:41 Yeah, and I think you're 100% right. The easiest thing to do is to actually make sure the CRM or the tools you're using are doing that for you on the backend.

Rob: 01:00:50 Yeah, I agree.

Crystal Hueft: 01:00:51 And that's part of what you're doing. There's a certain level of trust you're putting in them to do it the right way as well. I know whenever new laws or rules come out in different countries, we get hit up on social asking us when we're going to be compliant, will we be compliant in time because they're trusting their business and their customers and clients to that company. So there's stuff that comes involved as well if you are a CRM or a tool, to make sure you're doing the best you can for all of your customer's customers.

Rob: 01:01:19 I agree completely. I mean, the days of records in file boxes in the backs of offices and the old kerchunk kerchunk credit card machines, those are gone. And you need to make sure that everything you're doing is PCI compliant, that you've got the data protections in place to make sure that you're doing things right.

Crystal Hueft: 01:01:36 For sure.

Rob: 01:01:37 That's what it comes to.

Crystal Hueft: 01:01:37 I mean, just to throw out a few names that I've heard on data breaches in the last couple of years, you've got Facebook several times. You have Wells Fargo, Home Depot, Michaels.

Rob: 01:01:48 Hang on, Facebook wasn't breached, more so they were selling it to the Russians, right? Is that what happened there?

Crystal Hueft: 01:01:52 No, no.

Rob: 01:01:53 I only watch a little bit of the news.

Crystal Hueft: 01:01:54 Yeah, I think you watch actually a lot. But no, when it comes to Facebook, they actually had breaches-

Rob: 01:02:00 Oh, wow.

Crystal Hueft: 01:02:01 As well as they partnered with some people that were using their ad services wrong. But they've had two different things happening. So they've had both. But then there's Wells Fargo, Home Depot, Michaels.

Rob: 01:02:14 Target got hit too, right?

Crystal Hueft: 01:02:16 Target. So these are some of the biggest brand names out there and they're struggling to keep their data safe. So I think it can be intimidating for small business, and to make sure that they're keeping up with all of that. And I actually think small businesses care a lot more than those brands and put a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure their clients are safe.

Rob: 01:02:36 Yeah, I'm not sure I would say care. I think that there's a responsibility and I think what's intimidating to a small business owner, I mean, being a small business owner myself, I have 19... I've got 99 problems, and apparently data privacy is one of them. So it just comes down to the fact that I've got to protect all of that information and make sure that the tools that I'm using to protect that data are doing so in a very meaningful way.

Crystal Hueft: 01:02:59 Well, and when I say care, I mean that a small business owner actually has a more personal relationship, a lot of times, with their clients, than a Target has with me, which is unfortunate. Target, follow me on Instagram.

Rob: 01:03:15 My wife has a very personal relationship with Target. We cannot go into Target without it turning into an Odyssey. And by the same token, I have the same relationship with Costco. I don't go into Costco to buy things. I go into Costco to have Costco tell me what I will be buying. So same token.

Crystal Hueft: 01:03:31 Yeah, but I just mean if you stopped going to Costco, Costco won't come for you. But some of these small businesses depend on each and every client.

Rob: 01:03:37 Costco would, I have a card. I'm a member, they would come for me. They wouldn't leave me behind.

Crystal Hueft: 01:03:41 They wouldn't personally come for you, Rob.

Rob: 01:03:43 Don't slander Costco. Costco would come for me.

Crystal Hueft: 01:03:46 Rob, I'm going to come for you if you keep it up. Costco would not care. Eventually they'd get over it. Find a new prospect.

Rob: 01:03:50 They wouldn't, I'm their number one. I'm their number one. They treat me like I'm their number one. I'm their number one. Costco is my jam.

Crystal Hueft: 01:03:56 Well, I'm not going to say anything about Costco, I'm just going to say small businesses need and respect their clients I think on a lot more personal level than a lot of big brands. And that being said, I think data privacy, as annoying as it is to talk about, and believe me, I am PCI compliant.

Rob: 01:04:14 You personally?

Crystal Hueft: 01:04:14 Yes.

Rob: 01:04:14 Yeah, are you? You keep Stripe? Paypal, Venmo?

Crystal Hueft: 01:04:17 I'm accredited or whatever you call it. I'm licensed PCI compliant, and I'll say is it's a pain in the neck, but I think small businesses know that they have to do that kind of stuff to make sure that they protect all data from their customers.

Rob: 01:04:30 So everyone who's listening, Crystal is PCI compliant. So if you want to trust your credit card information with anyone named Crystal, I've got the Crystal for you.

Crystal Hueft: 01:04:40 Or I could at least tell you how to protect that data.

Rob: 01:04:43 And that's just as important. Here we go, full disclosure. Here are the takeaways from today. The first takeaway, and I'll own this, I screwed up the joke.

Crystal Hueft: 01:04:53 Yes, three beeps and not even a successful laugh.

Rob: 01:04:57 Oh, that hurts even more.

Crystal Hueft: 01:04:58 That's one takeaway.

Rob: 01:04:59 I don't know what hurts more, the beeps or the laugh. I'm ashamed.

Crystal Hueft: 01:05:01 I think you feel more upset about the laugh.

Rob: 01:05:04 I think I might.

Crystal Hueft: 01:05:05 You sacrificed the beeps if it actually was successful.

Rob: 01:05:08 Again, to be honest, and I have a 14-year-old daughter who has just discovered the swearing gene. So my advice to her nowadays is it's timing more so than quantity.

Crystal Hueft: 01:05:19 I would agree. If those three were timed well, those three beeps, it would've all been worth it.

Rob: 01:05:25 My ancestors are feeling shame right now.

Crystal Hueft: 01:05:27 It's okay. Okay. Takeaways for real on personalization.

Rob: 01:05:33 Oh, personalization. Yes, okay.

Crystal Hueft: 01:05:34 Let's keep it focused.

Rob: 01:05:35 Be honest, be engaging. Be frank with it. Don't be too cute. Let's avoid the F names. Get in "Hey you", and let's make it meaningful from a personalization standpoint.

Crystal Hueft: 01:05:48 Have you ever head of a bulleted approach?

Rob: 01:05:52 What do you mean?

Crystal Hueft: 01:05:52 I one time had someone tell me in a review that brevity was not my specialty and I think you could have had the same review.

Rob: 01:05:58 Oh wow. Okay.

Crystal Hueft: 01:06:00 It's okay.

Rob: 01:06:00 That's fine.

Crystal Hueft: 01:06:01 It's okay. But I'm actually just happy because-

Rob: 01:06:03 Single tear rolling down my cheek.

Crystal Hueft: 01:06:05 The more you shove everything into one sentence, the more brief I sound.

Rob: 01:06:09 Okay. That's fair.

Crystal Hueft: 01:06:10 So it sounds like progress when it really isn't.

Rob: 01:06:12 That's fair. All right.

Crystal Hueft: 01:06:12 Okay. So yes, I think you were saying a lot of good things. That's why I'm slowing you down. So be personal by getting it right. Right? Names. What else are you saying in that long run on sentence?

Rob: 01:06:24 Sure. So to me, the absolute integrity of the personalization is what's critical. If you can't do it right, don't do it at all.

Crystal Hueft: 01:06:32 Agreed.

Rob: 01:06:32 Don't F name me. If you can't figure out, if you cannot test your email before you deploy it, do not send it out. Get it right, because nothing will turn your audience off faster.

Crystal Hueft: 01:06:43 This is one area for small business owners that you probably shouldn't fake it till you make it.

Rob: 01:06:47 Sure, I agree.

Crystal Hueft: 01:06:48 Maybe start slow and nail some things, and then you can keep working up from there. But don't get it wrong because you'll lose them.

Rob: 01:06:56 I agree. Another key takeaway, personalization is easier than you think, but it's very difficult to master. It's one of those situations. It's like chess, it's easy to learn and it's hard to master. Realistically, when you are working inside the personalized environment, don't ever think that it's impossible, that you can't do it, you can't accomplish it. You certainly can. Move forward, get it done, test, be nimble, get it out.

Crystal Hueft: 01:07:21 And the last takeaway I would say, is just get started. Start slow and really do it, because it's going to make a big difference for your customers and clients and they're going to feel appreciated.

Rob: 01:07:31 Love your customers because they love you. It's just the circle of life.

Crystal Hueft: 01:07:34 Yeah. Oh, and don't forget, protect that data.

Rob: 01:07:36 Oh yes, that's a very good point. And make sure that your partners, whatever tools you're using to make your small business better, make sure that they're protecting your data as well.

Crystal Hueft: 01:07:43 Totally.

Rob: 01:07:44 And also it's data, not data.

Crystal Hueft: 01:07:46 Oh gosh. Tomato, tomato.

Rob: 01:07:48 No, it's tomato. It's not tomato.

Crystal Hueft: 01:07:52 I can't.

Speaker 1: 01:07:53 Thanks for listening to Small Biz Buzz. Please take a second to subscribe to the show and leave a five star rating, it helps keep the show going. And if you need a hand with growing your small business, head over to Keap.com. That's K-E-A-P.com, and get started. More business, less work. That's Keap.