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I Have Seen the Future of E-mail Marketing, and It Is Equal Parts Cool and Creepy

I Have Seen the Future of E-mail Marketing, and It Is Equal Parts Cool and Creepy

I just checked out something called Crystal, a site that can profile anyone who has an online presence, then tell you how you can best communicate with that person. Kind of like Myers-Briggs or the PACE Color Palette only fast, automated, and no one has to take a test. As Kyle V wrote in a Wired review, which is how I heard about it, "It’s one part oppo research, one part algorithmic astrology. It’s definitely creepy, perhaps useful, and almost certainly a look at how we’ll communicate in the future."

So I signed up for the free version and promptly ran myself through it. Here's what Crystal says about communicating with me:

I don't entirely understand the thing about not reminding me about an upcoming meeting—please do! And preferably five minutes before, too—or about my not naturally being a loyal dog, which I am, but the rest sounds pretty spot on. Or maybe Crystal knows something about me that I don't?

I'd have to pay to upgrade to the version that will actually suggest what language to use in e-mail and speaking in person, and some other bells and whistles, but what the free version offers is still so incredibly creepy—and cool.

So of course I got to thinking about how something like this could be used for meetings. After learning a whole lot more about e-mail marketing for meetings on a MeetingsNet webinar last week (which was awesome. You can register to listen to the archive for free, too), I know just how important it is to segment your list and craft unique messages that will appeal to your different attendee niches. Can you imagine being able to pop a potential attendee's name into Crystal and have it tell you what words to use? That's taking segmentation to a whole new level of personalization and customization! And of course it would come in handy when trying to persuade a speaker to get their slides in asap, or appeal to a meeting committee member, or just about any communications you would have with anyone about anything.

I know no one would have the time to run individual attendees of a 20,000-person event through the system and craft individual responses, but just as with other personality-typing tools, I'm sure if you did you'd find commonalities and niches based on communication preferences that could enable you to slice and dice your database—and your meeting itself—in ways you never would have thought to before.

And I'm sure this is just the beginning of our finding ways to use technology to make all sorts of  things more personalized, targeted, customized—and creepier.

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