Responses that address the individual, not the masses, take time. And are therefore expensive. Personal attention, versus corporate attention, is the new commodity.

I recently joined an online class, one that boasts some pretty amazing performance improvements (no, it’s about marketing). The first 4 emails I received, however, were auto-generated. In fact, the dates for the classes were a month old!

Just hours ago I was excited for the new opportunity–and happy to pay for it; now I’m dreading the quality of the content, and wondering if I made a monetary mistake. If it weren’t for my friend’s recommendation of the program, I’d be long gone.

Fair or not, the way we chose to communicate says everything about our content. What we present and the way we present it forecasts the experience that our audience is going to have. And the more personalized we can make it, the more prone the client will be in receiving it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product to the nation or giving advice to a friend, showing that you’ve thought ahead by the way you speak, by what you print, and by how you display something has everything to do with your audience’s willingness to buy-in. In fact, the greatest way to keep this generation from committing is to automate.

Seriously, how many of us are tired of automated phone help? Or worse, getting switched over to someone who asks how to spell the word “street” when typing in your address? From SPAM email to group texts on holidays, our culture has refined the art of mass communication. And subsequently abhors it.

Writing personal emails, replying to every comment, responding to every phone call, learning names, building relationships (and not righting off online friendships ones as “fake”), is 2011’s proof that your content is valuable. Because if you control perception, you control value. ch:



Ron Porter · 8 Nov ’11 at 10:04 am

I’m only commenting to see if you respond. πŸ™‚

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Nov ’11 at 12:50 pm


      Ron Porter · 8 Nov ’11 at 1:02 pm

      Haha…you rock CH! This is an awesome post…people don’t care how much you know (or what your product or service does) until they know how much they care about them.

        Christopher Hopper · 8 Nov ’11 at 1:07 pm

        Very true, Ron. Very true. Words to live by.

        On an average day, I process 400 emails, 200 text messages, and 30 phone calls, and uncalculated Tweets, Facebook messages, and HeyTells.

Sarah · 8 Nov ’11 at 10:45 am

SO true! Relationships are more than a mass response. Certainly our Lord and Savior feels the same. A personal response.

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Nov ’11 at 12:50 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how He was able to do something world-and-history-wide, while still managing to make it completely personal for each individual?

Billy Jepma · 8 Nov ’11 at 10:47 am

That is so true Christopher, people defiantly opt to go automated because it requires little to no work from them. I have to make sure I avoid this in a time where lots of communication happens online. I do not want to be someone who makes/builds friendships from automation. πŸ™‚

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Nov ’11 at 12:49 pm

    Lots of gooding thinking there, and solid reasoning. Get to it!

Christian Fahey · 8 Nov ’11 at 11:12 am

Penetrating post, C. Nothing makes human beings–our focus–feel quite as impersonal or devalued as a good deal of today’s automation. There’s a place for it, but not at the expense of devaluating creatures made in the image of God. Not even a little.

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Nov ’11 at 12:49 pm

    “…but not at the expense of devaluating creatures made in the image of God.”

    Wow, great addition.

Estelwen · 8 Nov ’11 at 11:33 am

Not meaning to be an obnoxious grammar cop, but I think it’s supposed to be writing it off, not righting it off.

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Nov ’11 at 12:46 pm

    Ha ha, thank you Officier.

    (Always appreciated).

Beth Walrath · 8 Nov ’11 at 6:14 pm

I admit I used do alot of mass texts or emails, but once I discovered how much I hate them, I stopped. Now group texting or emailing information is different. I love personal responses & enjoy taking time to respond personally to things.
God doesn’t do auto replies, why should we.
Great post. πŸ™‚

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Nov ’11 at 7:29 pm

    “God doesn’t do auto replies, why should we.” Great point!

David Seaman · 8 Nov ’11 at 6:49 pm

I want to present another side and or argument of automation. I live by automation and can’t imagine life without it. Automated responses are a wonderful thing for me. Living and working in an IT environment if I had to personally oversee every aspect of every server I would never see my family or have any real relationships with people. The fact that I can automate e-mails/txts, even to having physical phone calls when events based on certain criteria happen is a Godsend literally. Automatic responses also save lives… ie your monitored fire alarm system goes off the fire department automatically shows up… Anyway, hopefully you catch my drift. But automatic responses can allow for the actual personal attention that is needed by freeing the time required for the things that need/demand personal attention instead of everything requiring personal attention. I say all this to point out that automatic responses are a tool. It’s how you use that tool that will lead to it’s success or failure. Automatic responses followed up with personal attention where required is a powerful tool!

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Nov ’11 at 7:30 pm

    Fantastic caveat, and well presented. Thanks for the valuable addition and perspective, David.

Nathan R. · 8 Nov ’11 at 7:15 pm

I also work in IT and couldn’t live without automated messages, but at the end of the day it’s all about people. The key is to not forget about the people that use your service, app, website, product, etc.. use automation to facilitate the human interactions

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Nov ’11 at 7:31 pm

    “Use automation to facilitate the human interactions.” This should be the mantra of our generation’s leaders.

Mike Kim · 8 Nov ’11 at 11:45 pm

I read this. I just wanted you to know that. I also value it, but I’m too tired to write anything thoughtful. Perhaps however, that in itself is thoughtful, whatever “that” was referring to. But I’m not sure what that was referring to. But getting comments on a blog is fun, so I’m leaving one.

    Christopher Hopper · 8 Nov ’11 at 11:56 pm

    I love that you love to leave comments. It’s like going into Tom Whals and wearing other people’s hair as a wig.

christopher hopper » What’s Your Rewards Program? · 14 Nov ’11 at 11:35 am

[…] I got a benefits card from Starbucks in the mail today. I’m now a Gold Card carrier. Nice envelope, nice packaging, and nice things to say about me. (Though automated). […]

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