Greg Kefer of Infor – The Art of Supply Chain, Turning Data to Insight, and Jet Rentals

As VP of Marketing at Infor, Greg is part of business unit leadership team, running marketing organization that is responsible for global demand generation, awareness and corporate communications. His team focuses on driving global brand, financial and functional integration efforts across large complex organization, while simultaneously ensuring business unit marketing programs support revenue targets.

Listen to the Podcast

In this episode Greg discusses:

  • If data analysis is overwhelming the art of marketing
  • How supply chain has moved from the basement to the C-Suite
  • Why all large organizations are supply chain companies
  • How ABM is transforming supply chain sales

Read the Transcript

Sales and Marketing Automation Tools mentioned in this episode of Stack and Flow:

Marketo , Salesforce, Engagio, Terminus

John J. Wall: Hello and welcome to Stack & Flow. I’m John Wall.

Sean Zinsmeister: And I’m Sean Zinsmeister.

John: Today our guest is Greg Kefer. He’s the VP of Marketing at Infor. He’s going to tell us about GT Nexus, their product that’s a cloud supply chain platform. Sean, to kick off, you had an article for us from Harvard Business Review about AI in the new economy. What caught your eye over there?

Sean: Things that are playing on a theme, right? Is it, almost like every news article is talking about AI and the changing of work. What do professionals need to be preparing themselves for? I think what’s really interesting is also to start to develop more pragmatic thinking about where AI can help things along. I think what’s really interesting is if you look at some of the AI that’s been sprinkled into the latest Google announcements around some of the enhancements that they’ve made to their spreadsheets product, where they’ve taken little tasks that are quite manual and tedious and allowed you to streamline a lot of that, right?

What they’re doing is saying that, if you want to use AI to ask more intelligent questions of your data without it being sort of fixed in a silo, or without having to write code so you can literally say that you want a regression analysis of what you’ve done here with a line. Just spelling that all out which is natural text, and then they’ll use things like NLP to actually draw that up for you.

What’s really interesting for me is that notion of how AI will change the way that we interact with our data. This harkens back, John, to conversations we had with John Dick, who’s the VP of Marketing at HubSpot, when they were talking about the work that they were doing with the growth bot, and how they would be able to change the way that you interact with your stack and interact with your data by being able to ask those natural questions and then leveraging the AI to do the heavy lifting to give you back the answers.

I’m always interested … and to kick off the conversation, Greg, how are you thinking about AI and the natural way that it’s coming into the workplace? In particular for marketers, how do you see this changing just at a high level, the nature of work? I’m just curious about your thoughts to kick off things.

Greg Kefer: Yeah, yeah. It’s funny, I was just talking to somebody this morning about this. I was at an event not too long ago. They were talking about the amount of information, or data, big data … we hear about that all the time, has reached a point where the ability to deal with it exceeds human ability. You need machines to help interpret and glean insights out of all the data.

I’m a marketing person, and I had an observation. I was at a recent Marketo event, which is, obviously, a big marketing conference in San Francisco. I was just astounded by the amount of IT data, IoT-type talk going on in the halls and in the sessions. There was a CMO panel they had, and one of the CMOs raised this question. “You know, we’re all sitting here, talking exhaustively about information technology and systems,” and obviously, it’s a tech conference, “But are we losing the art of marketing? You know, the notion of identifying, you know, positioning and brand, and you know, kind of the- the core, you know, what we used to study in the ’80s before there was such a thing as the internet and computers? Has that been overwhelmed by technology?”

Certainly, a lot of machine learning and a lot of the analytics and all these tools that are coming in require a technology strategy to roll out. It’s the very same thing that you would do if you were implementing an ERP system, a CIO would deal with. It’s everywhere. You can’t avoid it. I think it’s really, really hard. I think marketing departments are being consumed by it. I wonder if they need to carve out a department that stays with the basics, which is positioning, and, “What’s our brand strategy?” Some of that kind of stuff, which, of course, technology can’t really solve. I think technology’s really good when it comes to delivering information, lead gen, understanding what your target audience is doing, how they’re interacting with you, et cetera. Boy, I don’t know of a machine that can figure out how to do good branding yet.

Sean: Not yet, right? Or good podcasting at that-

Greg: Or good podcasting, exactly. Exactly.

Sean: What about on the supply chain side? Because that is definitely a domain that you guys play very heavily in. I know that the Gartner Supply Chain Conference was just a few weeks ago. In terms of AI and how that’s affecting the supply chain professional, did anything stick out there to look at where we’re starting to see AI change that landscape? I’d be interested to see what sort of thoughts you have there.

Greg: Yeah, yeah. First off, what I just described with marketing, the very same thing is happening with supply chain. These practitioners that … there’s an art of supply chain, which is how do you efficiently source, make, move, deliver and pay for inventory? That is an art. That is a hard, hard art, by the way. Technology has totally just exploded in that industry, as well because, of course, they’re all trying to figure out how to optimize and get smarter with AI and visibility and all these different tools. Of course, I’ve been a purveyor of that, and so definitely that industry is experiencing the same thing the marketing industry is.

At the Gartner event, I think that one of the … Every year, they come out with a core theme, and I think that where they’re rallying around is the notion … they call it digital ecosystems, which is, in my view, is networks. I think that when you talk about information and technology … You could have the world’s greatest software. I could have a user interface that’s a hologram, that’s fabulous, but if you don’t have information … I say information and not data, okay? Data is garbage. It’s a bunch of ones and zeros, and it’s all different formats and it makes no sense.

First off, how do you turn the data into information or insight? It really is how do you get that in a supply chain? Because in supply chain management, especially global supply chain management, it’s inherently an intercompany world, where it’s all reliant on suppliers and carriers that are scattered all over the world, that all have different systems, talk different languages, or in different time zones. It’s just immensely complex.

The idea that you would build out an EDI VAN, or some sort of a network to hook all these guys up and have it magically turn into these beautiful control tower world maps with everything rendered perfectly is a pipe dream. I liken it to the analogy I like to use is look, you can go out and buy a Lamborghini. A beautiful, red, $280,000 car that’ll go 180 miles an hour. Here’s a problem. There’s no such thing as high octane gas. You’ve got oil. It’s crude and it’s in a barrel and it’s really sticky. What is that car going to do? It’s going to sputter and probably blow up. That’s really the world that they’re living in, and it’s really, really hard. The idea that network thinking is beginning to really rise to the top is huge, because these companies have to think differently about their network strategy.

We have a saying that we’ve … I’ve been on this stump for 10 years. The future belongs to network companies. Companies need to think like networks. I think that when you talk about what a network is, you can go out and build one. Going back to my oil analogy, yeah, go out and build a bunch of wells and set up a refinery and set up a bunch of gas stations, or they’re Chevron. I think, in the world of networks and supply chain commerce, the idea that these big cloud-enabled business networks that you can tether into without building all the infrastructure yourself, that really is the future. Finally, the market’s beginning to come around to that.

There are several different versions … I have a point of view, obviously. Probably somewhat selfish, but the point is, is that network thinking is rising to the top, above what I call software feature function land. Pretty demos that never work in reality.

John: Greg, take a second and back up for us. What do you do at Infor? Tell us how you fit into the whole stack here.

Greg: Yeah. I’m responsible for GT Nexus, which is a cloud supply chain platform. This is a global network-enabled thing where big, multinational companies like Caterpillar and Pfizer and Adidas and Nike are on this thing, orchestrating the sourcing, the making and the movement of their goods. It’s all about things like visibility. The notion of being able to locate where an item is in your global supply chain is really hard for all the reasons we were just talking about.

For example, when there’s a disruption … Remember the tsunami that hit Japan many years ago? That sent ripples through the supply chains and corporations, I mean where they were missing earnings reports. Why? Because every company in the earth had big facilities in Japan that were wiped out, or at least offline for several weeks. If you think about how to make a car, you can’t make a car if you don’t have the speedometer. Oh, guess what? The guy that makes the speedometer is up in Japan, and they’re offline because there’s no power. Now you’ve got to shut a whole assembly line down.

The ability to see with relatively … accurately and timely, so that you can make decisions and not have to wait weeks for paper to catch up is key. That’s what we call operational agility. GT Nexus is a network platform that essentially enables that. There’s a lot of process then that ties to that, whether it’s how you source orders, how you manage production, how you execute freight moves. All of that stuff is tied together all the way through the way you pay your suppliers. There’s just an immense … it’s a massive industry.

Supply chain often consumes somewhere between 40% and 70% of a company’s revenue. This is an industry that’s measured in trillions of dollars. It’s just gigantic. The amount of waste, because they don’t have visibility is stunning, because what they’re end up doing, what happens is if something goes wrong, like a ship sinks, there’s 10,000 containers on a ship, all right? You can imagine the amount of goods that are lost, that companies need. What do they do? They charter jumbo jets, which cost a million dollars, to fly a jumbo jet from Hong Kong to Long Beach. Things like that really begin to add up, yet you have to operate in a failure is not an option mode, because you cannot shut down an assembly line, or not have your product on the store shelf the day before a sale breaks, you know?

It really, really is this gigantic hairball that is slowly evolving and getting better with technology, but there’s a long way to go. I think with cloud reaching a mature point, because you really couldn’t do it without cloud, where you can get all of these partners looking on, seeing the information at the same time. That’s where it’s headed.

Sean: I want to almost parrot some of this back, so I get a clear picture for our audience, because obviously, a lot of the data networking is a very interesting topic. Essentially what you’re talking about is that GT Nexus provides almost a centralization for a lot of the data that these big entities provide. Are you getting these big companies … because it’s the natural thing, like supply chain, there’s interconnectivity. What happens with Adidas is going to affect this other company over here. Is it almost providing a data sharing and exchange for all these companies that you guys are then centralizing and then pushing back out to provide that visibility? Is that pretty close to the essence there?

Greg: There’s a dimension of that. Look, GT Nexus does have software that sits on top of the platform. Going back to my Lamborghini analogy, a big part of what we do and what needs to be done is that information collection and standardization. I’ll give you a quick analogy of what I mean. For the last 30 years, companies have tried to do this with their big enterprise software, big ERP systems from the big software companies that I’ll not name, but you know who they are.

Sean: Sure.

Greg: What they’re doing is they’re setting up these EDI exchanges. What that means is it’s like they’re shuttling files around the world. It’s a lot like the telephone game when you were a kid. You sit in a circle, and I would look to my left and say, “Okay, a Lamborghini is racing down the road at 1,000 miles an hour and it hits a telephone pole and a horse jumps out of the front seat.” By the time that that story goes around the room and it comes back in your right ear it’s, “Santa Claus brought me a toy truck and I’m really happy on Christmas,” right?

Sean: *laughing* Right.

Greg: The idea that there’s a single source of truth is missing. What GT Nexus is doing is it’s collecting and aggregating and putting that information in the middle of the network for everybody to see and operate against. It’s a lot like when you think of Outlook versus LinkedIn. Back in the old days, if you got a new job, you would change your address book, your coordinates, and have to email everybody in your network to go into their address book and change it. If you were lucky, 30% of your network would go in and do that and you’d lose contact with the rest. Leap forward to today, what do you do? You go to LinkedIn. You update your phone number and you hit save. Everybody in your network gets that news instantly.

That information model, where it’s like … I call it the single object information model, where your LinkedIn profile is at the center of the network and everybody that cares points to that thing. It’s the same thing … Facebook’s built the same way. What GT Nexus did was we said, “Rather than applying that to just profile, let’s apply that model to the status of a payment, or the status of manufacturing or an order or a shipment.”

As these things evolve … think about a global supply chain, where you’re ordering and making and delivering. That’s like a 90-day process going across continents, and changing custody with different providers. The disruption and the handoffs, you could have the greatest plan in the world, but it never happens as planned. Now, everybody is seeing the exact same state. As the object, like a shipment, evolves and the ship gets delayed, or there’s a storm and there’s a delay, everybody sees that information at the same time, versus it being shuttled around the perimeter of the network where nobody really knows what the real truth is.

Once you have that, you can lay on software applications, cool global maps with dots that show where things are, or tables even. Yes, to your point, that information can also be fed back into a different system, because a lot of the AP, for example, where they’re trying to handle the payments and they want to know when to pay, you could say, “Look, a shipment has reached a certain point where it triggers a financial move that happens in a different system.”

Yes, there is a degree of system to system communication, but at the end of the day, the GT Nexus platform with the software apps on top of it is really a control tower for all of this and where everybody can go to get the real story. Everybody can be machines, as well as individuals. Does that make sense? Did I get that one clear for you guys?

Sean: No, you did, actually. I think that this is a great actually segue to thinking about … There was a episode of Supply Chain Radio, which is the podcast that you host, which I actually quite enjoy. You guys were talking about your recent visit to Scott Brinker’s conference around Martech. I think one of the impressions that I want to dive into that will also help shape the story is you talked about this intersection of Martech and supply chain. I definitely have some points that I wanted to unfoil from that. I’m curious what were your main takeaways? How are you seeing these two big fields intersect? What is that looking like?

Greg: I think that companies need to consider supply chain excellence as a core part of their positioning. I think that what you’re seeing happen in retail, where the bricks and mortar companies are getting wiped out by Amazon … I mean Amazon is a supply chain company, really.

Sean: Yeah, exactly.

Greg: So is Apple, by the way. If you look at really big, successful companies. Toyota is a supply chain company. Good, what I’ll call operational excellence has got to be a core, a tenet of effective marketing, because it plays into everything. It ties back to your ability to make and deliver goods as promised in a fast, efficient way.

What my observations … I’ve got a couple. One is that I believe companies should be more aggressive in the way they market themselves from an operational perspective. We work with a lot of our customers, and these are big companies, to get out there and talk about what they’re doing from an innovation perspective as a part of their positioning.

The reason is, is if they don’t do that, all the news that’s going to come out is going to be bad, because you can’t make disruptions go away. Like when the factory collapses in Bangladesh. The poor brands that have their jeans made down there didn’t make the factory collapse, but they’re connected to it and it’s their fault.

Sean: Right,

Greg: That’s one part of it. I think number two is, yes, the technology aspect, whether it’s stitching together a supply chain systems and marketing systems. Look, if you think of what is one of the biggest marketing systems on the planet? It’s a CRM. It’s

That’s a customer CRM system where, in theory, a customer service rep might get a call from a customer saying, “Where is my stuff?” Where are they going to get that information? Well, ideally a system like GT Nexus could, in theory, feed that, populate that CRM with the ETA data of the shipment. Then, another Martech system, like a Marketo, could push that feed out to somebody else, so there’s that dimension. Companies are just now beginning to figure this out. They’ve been very siloed in the past. I look at supply chain, because it’s so massive and it’s so key, and if you’re not good at it, you’re dead. You’ve got to be great at supply chain. You’ve got to talk about it, and then you’ve got to make it part of your marketing. Companies are … I see very few examples of that.

When we were at that conference, it did hit me how, “Here I am, a marketing person … ” and I don’t get to a lot of marketing conferences. I go to supply chain conferences, and when I stood there, I thought to myself, “Wow, you know, this industry is dealing with the same stuff that the supply chain industry is doing. You know, they’re- they’re worried about data. They’re worried about process. They’re worried about change management. All the classic IT things.” Of course, then when you add on the top of the potential, if you really get it right, and this is … Hey, look. This is what Amazon has done, right? Amazon is taking over the world because they mastered the art of smart, rapid, cost-effective delivery, tethered to excellent merchandising and, obviously, a great frontend website, etc. The reason they’re winning is because you can get anything you want on the earth and have it at your front door in a day or two, right?

Sean: Sure.

Greg: CEOs can’t compete with that. There’s no way they can. How do you compete if you’re bricks and mortar? Well, you’ve got to rethink your supply chain and then tether that to your narrative.

Sean: One of the things that I was curious about is how much that narrative ties in to the big announcement around the Infor and Marketo partnership. Obviously, from what you can talk about, it seems like, obviously, Marketo’s got a nice channel to be able to increase their total adjustable market by working with Infor in the ERP market and where they can plug in there. Was there these ideas around that intersection that led to this partnership in addition to growing the total adjustable market? I’m just curious if there’s anything there that also goes along with it.

Greg: Yeah, yeah. Infor does have a CRM solution that would compete with, say, a What I just described is part of that vision. Charles Phillips, who’s the CEO of Infor, was on the Marketo main stage, day one, talking about the very thing I just described. The GT Nexus commerce cloud platform, that it’s got all of this inventory information. Where inventory is in the supply chain and the ability to accurately tell customers where stuff is, or be smart about how you deliver product, so you’re not doing marketing for a product that you don’t have, for example, which would be a disaster. That is part of the vision, for sure. It’s a partnership. It’s still early, but that is the vision that Charles painted on that stage that I was in the audience listening to. I think it makes total sense and I think that’s a big part of the announcement, for sure.

Sean: It hasn’t been an episode that’s been released yet, but we actually got a chance to catch up with Lora Cecere and talk about some of these supply chain and marketing intersections and some of the challenges there. You also mentioned silos, and that was something that she brought up in our conversation. One thing is that I’m wondering, is it a cultural, or is it technological challenges that you think that the silos between marketing and supply chain have existed? By that, I mean is it just the way that business units have been run, that’s the cultural part, or is it the fact that the technology’s only just starting to catch up where, say, more data sharing and communication becomes more collaborative?

Greg: Yeah, I think it’s probably a little of both. Certainly, again, if you look back at old enterprise software, like installed software, there was no way to connect a marketing automation system with a ERP, for example. By going to the cloud, which is where it’s all headed, those barriers do come down. I also think that there’s a cultural reality of silos.

My experience is going to be based on big global enterprises. These are companies that have revenues north of a billion dollars, because that’s where we’re dealing with supply chains. That’s where the complexity lies. We’ve had situations where we’ll go into a company, say the logistics department, to sell some logistics capabilities. There’s also opportunity to work with the sourcing and procurement people. These are the people that order stuff and work with suppliers to get stuff made. Logistics are the ones that worry about moving it around. They’re dealing with the big ocean carriers and the truck fleets, etc.

We’ll go in and talk about a value proposition of why visibility into your shipments is a good thing, and we’ll say, “Hey, you know, and you should also connect your orders and, you know, and your suppliers into this because you’ll do better with logistics if your suppliers are alerting you and keeping you informed of when the goods are ready to ship out of the dock in China.” They’ll say, “We don’t even know who those people are. They’re not even in this building,” because these are big, these centralized companies that have big operations. They grew through acquisition. They’re all over the world.

There’s exceptions to that. There’s certain companies that are based in a town and the executive team all sits in the same row on the same floor, but it’s remarkable that you have sourcing and logistics, which are both in supply chain very related, and they don’t ever know who each other … they don’t ever talk to one another. That’s a cultural thing, I guess, but it’s also just the reality.

I think that the C-suite is going to drive those walls down. One of the things we’ve observed over the past 15 years that I’ve been doing this, the supply chain people used to be in the basement. You’d go to the corporate headquarters and you’d push the down button in the elevator. They were these poor souls down there with papers stacked a mile high, because it was a call center. It was a call center. It was like, “How do we move my stuff around the world as leanly as I possibly can?”

Now, all companies have created the role of a Chief Supply Chain Officer, a CSCO, that sits alongside a CMO, that report to the CEO because supply chain is a competitive advantage weapon. You’re beginning to see those connections at the top, but boy, when you’re talking about a company with 80,000 employees in nine divisions scattered around the world, very hard. Very hard from a cultural reality standpoint, but the vision is there. I think with time and I think as cloud breaks down technological silos, you’ll see more and more collaboration as you described.

Sean: On a scale, a sort of a maturity scale of zero to 10, 10 being most mature, zero to being nonexistent, I’m interested in how much sales and marketing data, whether marketing from engagement data, or anything from transactional sales and things like that, is being leveraged to make the supply decisions today. What is your feeling from what you know on the maturity scale?

Greg: Good question. I would say it’s pretty low. Certainly demand forecasts and demand planning is a big part of it. To the degree that that is connected to marketing varies by company, but there’s certainly connections there. A lot of what I’ve been talking about is what we would call supply chain execution, where there has been a lot of investment in planning over the years. The big ERPs are … ERP stands for enterprise resource planning. Big complex math, the big machines process. That’s not new. That’s been around, that’s still in play. It’s very vital and there’s certainly going to be connections between planning and marketing.

Where things break down is when it … because, “Okay, well, here’s the plan. We know what we’re gonna make. We know when the sales are gonna be. We know what the price is gonna be, what we’re gonna make, who’s gonna make it, etc. Now we’ve got to execute. Now we’ve got to start ordering, making and shipping stuff.” That’s where it has been breaking down. I think that there’s good connection. It’s probably more mature in the planning side, but when it comes to, “Okay now, let’s connect it back, let’s fill the other half of the loop and connect what’s really happening out there in marketing.”

For example, marketing has built in a promotion. We’re going to sell TVs for $599 starting Saturday the 30th of June. Guess what? The supply chain that orders, the bulk of them are still on a ship somewhere and they’re 10 days out. What do we do? Typically, that should be caught early, so the more lead time you have, the better you can respond, but they find out way, way too late. Now it’s a scramble and boy, that’s a disaster. You’ve got a sale. You’ve got a big web push. You’ve got fliers in the Sunday paper, whatever, TV ads, and people go into the electronics store and they’re having to give them rain checks. That is a disaster. You cannot compete with Amazon if that happens.

That part of it I think is still very immature. I think it’s very manual. It’s very phone call, fax, spreadsheet-based. Technology on that end is still immature. It needs to grow. It’s growing, but I think it’s still very, very early because of the complexity that we’ve been talking about.

John: Greg, how about, if you could, get over to your stack a little bit. Just talk to us about the tools that you’re using now and maybe if you’ve got a couple that you’ve added recently, or are adding huge value, or if there’s anything you’re shopping for. What’s going on with your stack?

Greg: Yeah, yeah. We use Infor’s CRM, obviously. That’s our CRM platform that we have all of our sales data, our contact database. We use Marketo, obviously, not just because of that partnership. Actually, GT Nexus was acquired by Infor a year and a half ago. We’ve had Marketo at GT Nexus for a number of years. It’s great. It’s a wonderful tool. Really cool, crisp, automation in the way we nurture and deliver content and merchandise assets. In marketing, it’s all about storytelling and a content-based marketing and not pitching, not demoing. That’s where it’s headed.

We’re now moving into ABM, account-based marketing. We have a tool called Engagio that’s helping us do that. We’re really shifting from the notion of when you think of lead gen, it used to be, well, let me see if I can find Joe Blow, the VP of Supply Chain at General Motors. It’s really now about General Motors the company. In other words, yes, I would get Joe Blow. He would download a whitepaper, or something. We would score the lead. We’d fling it over to our biz dev team. They would start calling him and dialing, trying to get some engagement there. It was hard. They were getting thousands of these a year, and there was a relatively small team. They would blow off most of them, unless it was an event meeting, which were, obviously, a different level of engagement.

Now with ABM, it’s all about the company and the engagement of all of the different types of activities that are happening across a company. I’ll just use GM as an example, where you see clicks on assets, or webpages. You see likes and activities in social. You do see a meeting at an event. You see potentially some other trigger out there in the world of media, where we’re able to target them with very smart media targeting through tools like Terminus.

The idea is that all of these activities roll into a more advanced scoring mechanism, and we nurture GM. I’m using GM as an example. They’re not a customer, just pretending here, but where the score of the company goes up based on the engagement activity across the spectrum of individuals. Because the other thing is that a decision to purchase a system like GT Nexus is not a one person thing. When you’re talking about transforming a supply chain, it’s a consensus deal. You’ve got to reach multiple people high and low and wide.

You add all of that up. You get a score of the company, and when that score reaches a threshold, we call it a marketing qualified account, MQA. It’s the language of accounts. That’s when biz dev then engages. We use tools like Engagio and Terminus, which is an IP-based ad targeting system, to further nurture and engage holistically. It’s not like one guy dialing one other person to get a meeting to tell how we’re going to solve all of their problems.

Really cool stuff. I’m impressed by it. I think that there’s other things in our stack that we have that we’ve tried I would say that mixed … A lot of it’s how you use it. I feel like you could have the greatest tool in the world, but if you don’t use it the right way, it’s not that useful. We’ve been really impressed with Engagio and Marketo and Terminus. Those are three that I would be happy to name as examples of systems that I’ve seen a noticeable difference out there.

Sean: That sounds good. Greg, if people want to learn more about Supply Chain Radio, or how to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to do that?

Greg: Probably just go ahead and visit, if there’s a resource library page, you can filter and subscribe to Supply Chain Radio. It’s on iTunes, as well. We are podcasting about once a week. Our shows are only 10 minutes long, so it’s a pretty easy listen, generally. I hesitate to put my email address out there though *laughing*

Sean`: They’re going to find it anyway.

Greg: Yeah, I know. My name used to be on every … I used to be the PR guy. All my coordinates were on every press release. I probably am on every person’s email list, but clutter is wonderful, clutter … Look, email’s going away, guys. I’ve got news for you. There’s new laws coming out of Europe … oh god, what’s the name of the … there’s an acronym. There’s a new data privacy rule. Have you heard about that? Coming out of Europe, where the opt in bar is really high. If you don’t meet that bar and you start sending email communications to citizens in Europe, they’ll fine your company like a percent of revenue. It’s going to change email marketing forever. Companies really do need to think about different ways of engaging beyond just spray and pray email.

I do think that some of the things we’ve been talking about, thank god they’re coming on, because frankly, I believe that those are the future. Clutter is just intercepting everything for me. Anyway, yeah, it’s a very interesting time, and I think the pace of evolution is just going to increase as we go. Things are getting better and smarter all the time.

John: Sean, how about for you? In the past week, have you got any big programs running now? Or are you going to pick up a HomePod from the WWDC announcement?

Sean: I don’t know about the HomePod. It’s actually funny. I got a … as a gift from a family member, one of the Amazon Echos. While my wife lets me have a number of gadgets in the house, she said that she did not want to have another listening device to live with. I don’t know if the HomePod, which she would call the ultimate spy machine, is going to be inside the walls of our apartment anytime soon. I’ll always keep pushing for it. I’ll always keep pushing for always playing with the latest stuff.

You can find out all my stuff, just Google Sean Zinsmeister, and you can usually find the latest and greatest. Of course, you can visit what we’re up to at Of course, grab me on Twitter, @szinsmeister is another way, great way to get in touch.

John: That sounds good. You can find more from me over at That’ll do it for this week. Thanks for listening. We will see you in the stacks.

John Wall

John Wall

John J. Wall speaks, writes and practices at the intersection of marketing, sales, and technology. He is the producer of Marketing Over Coffee, a weekly audio program that discusses marketing and technology with his co-host Christopher S. Penn, and has been featured on iTunes.

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