Why Having Kids Makes Me A Better Marketer

I never would have thought that my life as a parent would have any impact on my professional role. I mean yes, I realized kids would make working late more difficult, and weekends would be spent more with family and less with finishing the last few tasks on my list. But the one thing I never realized was how my kids would impact my marketing outlook. Let me give you just one example, a true story. And I don’t think I’m reading anything special into this at all.

Can you hear me now?

One well-known fact (apparently) is that kids love to get your attention before they start talking. They will say your name, then tell you what they want. My kids are no different.

Here I was driving along one day, master of the minivan, kids strapped into the seats behind me. Their bodies restrained from movement, but their mouths free to run. And run they did. Thousands of words racing around, over, and under one another, occasionally crashing and seldom stopping. Within this entangled highway of verbal roads I would hear my name rise above the rest… “Daddy?”

This was of course my cue to respond with an affirmation of my full attention. And here’s where it gets interesting. If I failed to respond within the unspoken 5 millisecond acceptable response time the alert would be issued again. “Dad!”

The call for attention which began as a question began to shift towards
a far more incessant demand for engagement.

I started to notice some interesting things. The subtle questioning tone which marked the initial inquiry was gone. An exclamation of demand solidly in its place. Those who are parents already are probably laughing at my lack understanding. In fact, this cartoon which I found so funny should have prepared me better:

Here comes the application part!

This is what I took away from this personalized verbal assault by my loving children.

As a marketer, excessive personal contact, overuse of personal details, and
insistent demands for responses are horrible ways to market to an audience.

Why on earth would my potential leads ever want to respond to someone who is emailing them constantly, or using their own name far more than what seems natural. Answer: They wouldn’t! When two adults are talking how many times in the course of the conversation do they use the other’s name? Hint: It’s not that many.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve noticed when someone uses your name excessively in conversation. This always makes me think one of two things: first, they are trying their best to memorize my name and they’ve heard repeating it in conversation will help it stick in their mind; or second, they are trying to sell me something. It’s just not natural.

So, the next time you think about using your lead’s name in your correspondence, think about Stewie, think about my kids, and read your own message, are you nagging? Are you demanding attention when you should be waiting, and listening for a reply? This helped me and I hope it helps you. Now if only I could help my kids to learn this lesson too!

David Hurley is a frequent writer, open source enthusiast, growth marketer, and founder of Mautic, the only open source marketing automation platform. David lives in North Carolina with his wife, Erin, and their three children.