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An Interview With Dan Kennedy

D Kennedy Interview

An Interview With Dan Kennedy

Marketing Automation

Written by Parthiv Shah

Parthiv: I’m getting an opportunity to ask Dan Kennedy some questions about “tech”, about automation, a subject many people might think an odd fit for him – but I can assure you that he is familiar, engaged, and has definitive viewpoints and advice. I’m not going to take time to recite Dan’s biography or resume, you are probably familiar. He is in his 5th decade of being paid kings’ ransoms for his strategic advice about marketing. Dan, I have questions… questions I don’t think you’ve been asked by others…

DAN: Well, let’s hope I have answers.

Parthiv: Why have you pushed your clients and business owners following you to Marketing Automation?

DAN: I lived and built businesses when dinosaurs roamed. We did everything via manual labor, so marketing, both front-end, for lead production and customer acquisition, and for follow-up, after missed sales opportunities or after first purchase, was severely constrained. It was slow, expensive, difficult, and it required enormous discipline and determination to do it. At one point, I was running a company where we were doing large quantity multi-step direct-mail, with list segmentation, using 33-up Avery® mailing label sheets, done on an IBM typewriter, put in tickler files. A client had a computer database program and a multi-step trigger system for follow-up he had gotten built from scratch for his company, and he generously sent his nerd over to install it for us. It was primitive by today’s standards, but it was rocket science then, and it changed a lot. Fewer people doing clumsy things, speed, more capability equaled doing more, lower costs. Note the “fewer people”. We literally doubled the value of every lead. Later, when my company became Glazer-Kennedy®, the database management, the marketing implementation became much better and more sophisticated, with better tools – but it was still cumbersome and difficult, and as bad or worse, it was something we could do but many of our member-businesses could not “model” and use.

Parthiv: So, about that time, you were a founding investor and supporter of Infusionsoft, now Keap®. Why?

DAN: The members of my Inner Circle – now living as – were actually “stuck” like I had been stuck, although in a much more advanced place. I provided them with very smart, very effective, very comprehensive direct marketing strategies for any business, A to Z, small or bigger, and they understood them and wanted to do them – but most were stymied and frustrated by the implementation. As a practical matter, the small business had to add staff, use several different software products that wouldn’t communicate (interface) with each other so manual bridging was necessary and errors occurred, good data was hard to come by, and it was just too much for the butcher, baker, candlestick-maker, chiropractor, lawyer, independent salesman to bear. And I had no good solutions to offer. Clate Mask literally built the original Infusionsoft to fix all this – as we said then, to conquer the chaos, integrate all marketing, and get things done. Years have passed since then, and Infusionsoft, now Keap, has had evolutionary and revolutionary changes, as has the entire field of Marketing Automation.

Parthiv: What is your current thinking about Marketing Automation?

DAN: First, it has new, extra essentiality. The Pandora’s Box of media; online media available, to use and manage…the labor shortage and wage inflation…the expectations of customers – the way they judge a business by response time…the heightened competition and the new currency of attention and interest…all require doing a lot more, but the business owner has to do all that with less; less staff, less overhead, less difficulty. That makes getting the right Marketing Automation functioning for a business vital.

Second, as an investor, I see the field as being very strong, because of what I just said. As you know, I am a shareholder in Keap, and I am enthused about the recent developments there – Clate re-taking the reins, the software products being greatly improved, and the return of many “lost” prior users. I own stock in Hubspot. And in a couple small, fledgling start-ups in this field. I missed investing in at a reasonable entry price, which I regret. I am now associated with ClickFunnels and Russell Brunson. Russell is a long-time “fan” and user of my strategies, and he recently acquired the NO B.S./Magnetic Marketing business. I have clients in the field, notably you and your, and I’ve witnessed and hopefully helped you grow your company and strengthen its

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The business owner needs to stop running long enough to do this as a critical self-exam… An exam by somebody with unbiased eyes and a complete knowledge of what automation is possible in the situation, to maximize positive results.

capabilities for clients who want to delegate their Marketing Automation implementation. You, of course, make use of all these tools and platforms differently for different clients and situations; Keap, ClickFunnels, Hubspot. Somewhat like a doctor chooses and mixes and matches different medicines, surgeries, non-surgical treatments for a particular patient.

Third, I am currently advising my Private Clients to cut their staff size, to reduce their staff cost as percentage of gross, to be leaner ‘n meaner than ever, without compromising their success. There are many reasons for this I don’t have to drill down on here, like labor shortages, the quality issues, the new “woke-ism” infecting workplaces and putting employers in peril, a federal government disregard for and disapproval of employer rights, and more. Now, given the labor shortages, competition for staff, and wage inflation, this advice I’m giving carries with it a great deal of difficulty. It requires making significant changes in a business. One is that automation has to be accelerated, expanded and utilized to replace people, and that can be done with marketing.

Last, I’ll make the point that the costs of lead production and of new customer acquisition are rich in inflation. Everything about it costs more and will keep costing more. This mandates a tough-minded zero tolerance policy for waste or loss. This screams for comprehensive Marketing Automation, because it performs its programmed tasks perfectly, without fail, without forgetting, without mood swings, without procrastination, nothing falling through a crack. If a business employs sales professionals, on the phone, in physical locations, it is vital not to waste their time or talent, now, at all. This means using Automated Marketing to replace cold prospecting and to better pre-qualify and pre-sell prospects in advance of the interaction with the salesperson, and to have a very robust follow-up system, automated, for the Appointment, No Sale prospects. This can allow reduction of the number of salespeople, keeping the best, discarding the mediocre, while simultaneously INCREASING sales and possibly increasing price elasticity and profitability.

This concept of mine – more, from fewer and less – is the subject of one of my most recent books, ALMOST ALCHEMY.

Candidly, I did not say enough in it about this, about Marketing Automation. Just 2 years ago, the need was not as acute. But it does examine all the places inside a business where losses occur, like losses of lead or customer value. It reveals all the holes to be corked. Many can best be corked with Marketing Automation.

Parthiv: What about the cost?

DAN: Essentially, the business owner is paying for an Automated Marketing System whether he has one, has a good one, or not. He is either invested in it and getting a return on that investment that can be measured, in deriving improved value from his ad spend, marketing spend, leads, customers, employed salespeople – or – he is suffering losses, some known, some unknown, in poorer than necessary ROI on those things. And that may have been tolerable a few years ago, but not now. In fact, it is very unlikely we escape some form of a recession in the near future. Today’s rising, persistent inflation has recession as its only known cure. Businesses not fully weaponized to withstand a recession, in part by maximizing value of every lead, every sales opportunity and every customer, and in part by being as financially efficient as possible, can be wiped out.

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Parthiv: Closing comments?

DAN: My late speaking colleague and friend Zg Ziglar used to say people needed a periodic “check-up from the neck up”. He was talking about mind-set, attitude and personal philosophy. I can say the same thing about a business’ marketing and, with it, the extent and soundness of the automation of that marketing – it is the business’ brain in a way, and it needs a periodic examination, X-rays, MRI’s, blood tests; a check-up. The business owner needs to stop running long enough to do this as a critical self-exam, and my book ALMOST ALCHEMY can help. He may need; he

probably needs to get a qualified 2nd-opinion, too. An exam by somebody with unbiased eyes and a complete knowledge of what automation is possible in the situation, to maximize positive results.

I am NOT a fan of tech for tech’s sake. We have to be careful of Drucker’s warning about efficiencies at expense or sacrifice of effectiveness. We have to be wary of the magnetism of popular fad-ism; what everybody else is doing. On the other hand, we have to be as smart as we can be. I have a Private Client, Richard James, who

consults with solo-practice law firms, who says that systems should run a business and its owner and staff should run the systems. He’s right. And we can go a step farther and say, when possible, the systems should run themselves. Great marketing is no better than lousy marketing if it can’t be implemented, won’t be implemented, can’t or won’t be implemented with consistency and constancy.

Parthiv: Thank you, Dan, for your time, for this interview.

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About The Author

Parthiv Shah

Parthiv Shah is the President of a digital marketing agency. Visit and schedule a complementary call with Parthiv Shah and discover what eLaunchers can do for you.