Don’t let automation drive your marketing

Technology’s impact on the marketing world has been growing exponentially. Each year sees amazing new platforms that give marketers more power and greater opportunities.

However, they also create a dangerous temptation to completely eliminate the human role … and with it, do away with common sense. I’ve written about this in the past, pointing to Staples as an example of a company that doesn’t always make the best use of technology. They’re smart enough to have their system set up so that one purchase triggers suggestions for subsequent purchases. Unfortunately, whoever set their marketing automation up has it programmed to suggest what was already purchased. For example, if I buy a black tape dispenser, a week later, I get an email suggesting that I might want to buy a black tape dispenser. Almost as bad is Lowe’s, whose follow-up emails after I purchase 2×4 lumber suggests that I might want to buy some 2×6 lumber. Or write an online review of said 2×4 lumber. Hmmm … it’s wood-colored and has the distinct scent of southern pine …

Those happen when companies get lazy and want to minimize the human element. After all, automation is much more predictable than humans. Unfortunately, technology lacks the common sense that would ask “why would a customer who just bought a veeblefetzer need an identical veeblefetzer?”

By all means, don’t hesitate to use marketing automation to stay engaged with customers and prospects, make the most of your leads, and reduce the sales cycle. But make sure you stay involved with the process and monitor what your automation is doing to ensure that it isn’t unexpectedly shooting you in the foot.