I am not a number

Do you remember the iconic TV series The Prisoner in the 1960s? It starred one of my favourite actors Patrick McGoohan. In this clip here he uttered the famous lines, “I am not a number, I am free man”. Can you relate to this in a time when the topic of automation or AI to shorten it, is often written about? And when marketing automation claims to be able to replace what people do, repetitive marketing tasks, such as emails and alike, by understanding what is called “The Customer Journey”. In other words, how we look for products and services on the internet, offline and in a variety of ways seek out information until we complete the task or “journey” and buy the item concerned. From the supplier or marker’s point of view I guess I find the challenge is use these fantastic automated tools appropriately. To use automated tools and models to guide us, but I think what is critical is to make sure we use them at the right time and in the right circumstances. So that our customers do not feel “I am not a number”. We need to learn when to use an automated tool, and when it is not appropriate. I am not a luddite, we love innovation, the question is what tools to use, when and how? That’s the fun and challenge to recognise everyone is unique. Especially our valuable customers.

What cannot be Automated

Fortune Magazine is one several of publications who have researched this – see here.  Critically what makes jobs difficult to automate or easier to automate (top to bottom) in terms of degree of technical feasibility %:-

Managing others (difficult) 9%
Applying expertise 18%
Stakeholder interactions 20%
Unpredicatable physical work 25%
Data collection 64%
Data processing 69%
Predictable physical work 78%

Nick Hixson owner of Hixsons Business Enablers for whom we do marketing uses the term “Judgement Worker” and goes onto to write they are, “interpreters of data, facts and the human condition, giving meaning and context to them. Judgement workers are essentially future-centred.” It’s a terrific article, which I recommend, and will not try to duplicate or better it here. The purpose of this blog is different, and complementary.

My Frustration with Simple Models Like Personas

I am proud supporter of the Chartered Institute of Marketing CIM and IDM both fantastic professional marketing bodies, where I am a Fellow. We use models and tools to help clients and have done for decades. I was attracted to many of the Hubspot tools and they are a fantastic organisation, I recommend too. They rightly identify the importance of the Persona, which stresses the need be crystal clear on profiling your target prospect customer, down to the nth degree! My frustration comes …and I was reminded of it listening to a consultant describing target profile businesses the other day…when partitioning people and businesses into sections on a graph. I rebel against this, as did The Prisoner.

The Five Maps of Adult Territory

So, I am not a number means a human “take” on business. At least at a CEO of leader’s level. Steve Barker who we work with identifies that people have five aspects, or Maps, to their life: work, personal, social, family and couple which are all important to them – see here. Taking control of these for any leader is critical. A persona model cannot unearth this. But equally it does not invalidate the persona approach. Like any box of tools it is knowing when to use them. Nick Hixson has a philosophy which is supported by a number of tools and templates at Hixsons: align your personal and business objectives, see here.

You are Unique

That’s our starting point.


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