I got an email today from a high profile, influential person in the digital marketing space, asking why I haven’t registered yet for her company’s annual marketing forum.

She addressed me by my first name {best practice} and even used casual, friendly language in her call to action. I’ve been connected to this particular person for about eight years and we’ve met and spoken at several conferences since then. I even bought her book at a conference here in Philly last fall where she signed it for me.

So it makes sense that she would address me in such a friendly, familiar way. Right?

But I don’t feel special. In fact, after seeing her email, I feel a little played.


invisible manBecause twice last week at HubSpot’s Inbound conference, where she was a speaker, we were within five feet of each other, both times making no-doubt-about-it eye contact, and before I could open my mouth she turned in a different direction and bounded off to her next whatever.

I don’t take it personal. I’ve been in that same position many times and I’m 100% sure I’ve done the very same thing to people who thought we knew each other better, but for whatever reason, I didn’t see or recognize them in the moment. I know it happens, but I’m also 100% sure I wasn’t sending them friendly emails asking for their money.

This is where personalization in a digital environment doesn’t scale, especially for the speaker/teacher types who meet thousands of people every year and have email lists a mile long.

I get it. It’s impossible for human beings to remember and have deep connections with everybody they meet during their whirlwind lives.

So don’t try to fake them out using technology, because that just makes you a fake.