Putting the ‘U’ Back in Automation

Recently, I ruminated on the value a handwritten letter can have in our world of technology. As we look to automate more of our marketing, such as connecting with clients and prospects, we can find that there is still a benefit to our more traditional and manual ways (e.g., the use of a handwritten letter).

Nonetheless, technology has fueled the marketing industry with incredible opportunities to achieve time savings, better performance, improved speed, optimum frequency, etc. As we look to maximize these opportunities, we can find that our lives have become more and more dependent on marketing automation and most of us couldn’t dream of running campaigns without these platforms. While technology has played an increasing role in our day-to-day efforts, our ability to fully capture the benefits still requires a successful balance of our automated efforts with the people behind the tools.

Here are a few areas where technology just can’t hack it alone:

  • Relationships. Growing and fostering the right relationships internally and externally are key to running successful programs. Internally, there are many teams from sales to client service and product to leadership with whom it’s important for the marketing team to partner. Creating aligned agendas is much easier when the right relationships are formed, leading to programs that will be more on target. Externally, building relationships with clients can help the marketing team stay more in tune with needs and messaging. Who better to learn or gauge feedback from than the people we’re trying to target?! Relationships don’t always happen with the flick of a switch. They can take time and effort that technology just can’t help us with.
  • Content development. Now, we really can’t run a marketing program without content and that content must be compelling to be successful. I have yet to meet an algorithm that can create truly compelling content and resonate on an emotional level. Beyond creation, we need people to plan out the right content and find ways to get mileage out of the content. Technology may be able to help us test or customize various pieces of our messaging, but ultimately it’s our human resources that have the biggest impact.
  • Analysis. When we consider what some companies are doing with machine learning, technology is pushing the boundaries of doing more analysis on our behalf and learning from the data that’s collected. With the large amounts of data we have at our fingertips, this can have huge potential on time savings and in helping marketers make the right optimizations. However, we still need to dedicate sufficient manpower to run the right report queries, analyze how our programs are doing, and make decisions on how to move forward. Furthermore, only people can determine how to take the insights from one channel and apply them to another, especially when multiple tech platforms are involved.

These areas are just a few of the ways we marketers can focus on putting the “u” back in automation. We may find ourselves addicted to technology, but let’s not overlook the value we, as people, add to our programs!

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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