Friday, April 28, 2017

Marketing Automation Rocks But Let’s Not Forget the Human Elements

Marketing automation has been a game changer in terms of the time, money, and human error savings. It’s allowed us to learn more, do more, react faster, and target more effectively. Adding a machine element to just about anything over the past few centuries, harkening back to the Industrial Revolution, has proven to be an improvement across all industries. And, with the movement toward machine learning and artificial intelligence adding another dimension to marketing automation, there’s even more possible.

Where Machines Miss the Mark

While this is really cool, we can’t forget why marketing is actually science and art -- and how art is something that requires the human element. That’s because, while a computer works with numbers and code, it doesn’t quite get the nuances attached to human emotions that are integral to creating an emotional connection through marketing techniques.

Marketing automation essentially supplies the data that helps a marketer create the strategy, tactics, and content that can achieve the company’s initiatives and financial objectives. Unfortunately, marketing teams and content freelancers everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief because even the best AI software cannot establish a strategy or create content like a human or in a way that customers and prospects would believe it was personable. Plus, a computer has yet to learn the fine art of persuasion – the heart of marketing – that only a human can deliver.

Making the Best of Both Worlds

With the idea that marketing has become a team effort between machines and humans, you can leverage both to deliver an enhanced marketing effort:

  • Assess the data from your marketing automation software to identify a key objective, need, and message for your marketing campaigns. The data will tell you the problem you need to solve for your audience and illustrate their behavior while searching for their answer. This machine-generated intelligence serves as the basis for your marketing strategy and delineates what to say.

  • Leverage the marketing automation to understand the effectiveness of each customer touch point and channel to determine where you will be able to reach the largest portion of your audience. The data will show you if it’s in your store, on your website, or through a social media platform. From there, you can plan any type of automated marketing communication.

  • Create the content and messaging for automated messaging that you may choose to use for email campaigns, social media responses, and mobile marketing messages. This is another place where the human element can personalize the content and imbue an emotional element to the messaging.

  • Don’t overwork your marketing automation system by sending out too much content or run a multitude of campaigns simultaneously. Concentrate on one marketing campaign at a time. Use automation for launch and measurement while applying the human element to the concept and optimization processes. See what the automation analysis delivers so you understand how to improve the next campaign.

  • Don’t set and forget because marketing automation still cannot run entirely on its own and deliver the best results. A human element is also essential to oversee the marketing automation process, regularly checking for how it’s working or what may need to be tweaked.

  • Remember that machines don’t tell us everything we need to know about the data. While they can highlight patterns we might not be able to see, it’s still up to humans to truly understand what those patterns mean and how they can be applied to the strategic marketing process. Only a human marketer can determine the context for the data and specific factors that influence those results whereas a machine can only look at numbers for number’s sake. And, at the end of the day, customers are not numbers – they are people with unique problems and preferences even if there are patterns among them.

Combining Forces

The best way to approach this going forward is to remember that marketing automation can deliver the data that tells us, as marketers, how to create personalized messages. It is these personalized messages where the human element is most needed because it delivers the ability to first understand why customers or prospects behave a certain way and then can hit those emotions for better engagement.

This human element cannot be left out. No matter how much a machine can learn, do, and process, it most likely will never be able to truly emulate the human state full of complex emotions, interactions, and behaviors that only another human will understand (and sometimes we can’t even understand them!).

Busting A Myth

There are no shortage of myths when it comes to marketing automation. For example it is too difficult to deploy and use. Or it's only focused on outbound campaigns. 

Download Busting Common Myths of Marketing Automation to discover how to use marketing automation to attract, engage, and convert buyers across all marketing channels by streamlining workflow, monitoring social, and managing content.

And of course, bust some myths too. 

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