Though we haven’t yet achieved the flying car utopia predicted 50 years ago, we’re living in the most technologically advanced age yet. Between self-driving cars, appliance-controlling apps, and even robot vacuum cleaners, automation is quickly becoming the forefront of modern technology. As machine learning and artificial intelligence continue to develop, how does that affect your marketing efforts?
What is Automation?
So what exactly is automation? In a nutshell, it’s utilizing adaptive technology to replace human labor. It’s a way to leverage technology to make our lives easier. In other words, by using automated technology to complete mundane or time-consuming tasks, we can focus more on more valuable pursuits. One of the most important parts of automation? In principle, it eliminates human error.
Though automation may seem like a new concept, it’s not. For example, your oven uses automated technology; you set it to cook at a predetermined temperature and it carries out that function. Modern automation has introduced robots, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to allow high-tech gadgets to carry out functions that would otherwise require a human to operate.
So how does automation apply to your digital marketing strategy?
How to Apply Automation to Marketing
Marketing automation allows your brand to simultaneously publish content, communicate with customers, and track performance metrics. Basically, it’s a way to automate tasks so you can accomplish more. Automated marketing can allow you to execute in-depth campaigns on social media, email, and even SEM.
Where marketing automation proves most valuable, however, is in social media communication. Have you ever visited a website and seen the chat box pop up? That’s an example of marketing automation in motion. There’s no human on the other side of the computer; it’s an automated process designed to help optimize the customer experience. The robot can answer questions, provide feedback and contact information, and pretty much any service that makes the customer’s life easier.
Marketing automation is also most useful for email marketing. Rather than write out and individually send thousands of emails, automated software allows you to create your content and distribute it to a provided list. Even the collection of the list itself is marketing automation; customers typically click a link and input information to join the list–a process automated on the internet.
The Personal Touch
Robots may be able to handle computer functions, but there’s one area where they fall short: the personal touch. Most customers still crave human interaction–so there are areas of your business that are ill-suited for automation.
For example, your customers can tell whether a human or a robot wrote the last email they received. While automation is a major boon for email marketing, it shouldn’t be used until you’ve cleaned up, analyzed, and organized your email list. Again, your customers are looking for that personal touch, so the more personalized the communication, the better.
Another area where a personal touch outweighs automation is content creation. While robots are capable of creating primitive, turnkey content, only a real human can create the kind of engaging, insightful content your customers crave.
Consider the areas of the customer journey where emotion plays the biggest role. Those are the areas where you want to focus your efforts on personal interaction. On the flip side, customer pain points may be potentially mitigated through the use of automation. It’s important to think like a customer–to that end, don’t be afraid to ask for customer feedback! If you find an area where automation can improve both your life and your customers’, give automation a try!
To Automate or to Not Automate
When used correctly, marketing automation can improve your sales, create more leads, and optimize productivity. Used incorrectly, however, it can alienate your customer base and lead to decreased engagement and brand loyalty. Think carefully before you decide to automate any part of your marketing process.