Alyce CEO and founder Greg Segall is up in arms about marketing. "If you marketed to yourself the way you're marketing to your customers," he observes, "everyone would be atrociously hated."

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Despite knowing that people will actively tune out sales pitches and self-promotion, some marketers continue to approach marketing with a company-first perspective.

"Marketers aren't thinking about the person on the other end," Greg observes. That's a huge miss in the era of personal data, GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy regulations coming into effect right now. "You need to treat people like human beings, you give first."

I invited Greg to Marketing Smarts to talk about how to make your marketing personal so that people want to opt in.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation.

As marketers, we need to be personal, not just "use personalization" (02:50) "There's this big misnomer and this big backlash right now on personalization. If you think about personalization, it's all reliant on data. And what everyone is doing is thinking about all these marketing automation platforms, sales enablement platforms, and personalization to them is 'insert variable now.' And there are companies that are starting to push the envelope on what personalization means, but the true promise of personalization hasn't really been fulfilled.

"'Personal' is the ultimate goal of what 'personalization' is supposed to be: one-on-one relationships with individual people. And for us at Alyce, we are fundamentally trying to make it where every single interaction you have with another individual is on a one-to-one basis and actually helps to build a bond and build a personal connection with them.... The fundamental difference between personalization and personal is that personalization is all about data. Being personal is all about emotion."

Success in marketing and sales depends on understanding who your prospect is outside of the office (04:26) "You're looking at the individual's interests, who they are as a human being. When you start a conversation with somebody or you're in a sales process or you're talking to somebody from a marketing perspective, you're going to be talking to them like they're a human being. It's not like I'm gonna come in there and just say 'here's my company, here's my value proposition, do you wanna buy?' Nobody buys that way.

"It's the flip side of that. It's saying 'how can I connect with you and talk about something' that allows them to say, 'Hey, we have something that's relatable there.' What Alyce is all about is 'how do I figure out the interests of this individual person, who are they outside the office?' And Alyce will shortcut this and suggest...a gift or a product that I can offer to this person to really allow them to feel like there's a connection there, as well."

Being personal isn't about automation or optimization, it's about truly focusing on the other person (09:00) "If you look at every marketing channel that's out there right now, there's this whole concept of 'let me use technology to automate all the activities I'm taking,' email as many people as possible, it's all about numbers because everyone's optimizing on points of percents of optimization during the entire funnel.

"And what they're missing out on is that it's all about the quality. It's all about the other person. If everybody marketed the way they themselves would want to be marketed to, it would be a completely different world. But the issue is that technology just hasn't allowed for that up to this point."

To learn more, visit You can also follow Greg on Twitter at @gsegall.

Greg and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

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