by Tony Vidler
Automation of repetitive tasks and functions makes perfectly good business sense, and we generally accept that it is a wise move in financial services to automate as much as possible when it comes to “processes”.
The arguments for doing so largely revolve around efficiency, reliability, and risk management. That is, automating simply makes good business sense as it frees up time, it makes sure that the right things get done when they need to, and it minimises the possibility of mistakes.
Does the same rationale apply when considering automation of your marketing?
I tend to lean towards “NO”. I hate templated email and text responses that make a half-hearted attempt to be “personalised” when I receive them. I hate them even more (perhaps to the point of being irrational about it) when I get automated texts and emails – or worse; phone calls – on channels where they do not permit you to respond via the same channel. You know the routine….”do not reply. This email address is not monitored“….or the text servce that says you cannot text back.
Why the F*%# would you try to communicate with me via a medium that you then forbid me to use to continue the communication?
I really hate that.
Like….really really hate that. It turns me off doing business with those folk at all.
So back to the question of whether one should use automation in marketing….but before doing so it is important to understand that there is a big difference between scheduling and automation, and the two are often confused or used interchangeably. I love one….and loathe the other when it comes to marketing.
I love to schedule. I loathe automation wthout personalisation. I am ok with automation WITH good personalisation.
Scheduling allows you to be organised and reliably delivering the bulk of your content marketing for example. It enables you to write three blog posts in a couple of hours when you have the time and creativity…but not have to post them immediately. It enables you to scan Twitter feeds in 20 minutes to save a lot of useful material that is worth sharing later and set it up to drip feed out over the next 24 hours for instance. It enables you to maintain a continual presence on LinkedIn and Facebook without actually having to be on the platforms personally all the time.
Scheduling works and makes sense. It provides an efficient use of your time, ensures reliable delivery and initial engagement points, and minimises the risk of losing touch with your target market.
Scheduling of content and so forth does NOT replace the need to personally engage with folk who do respond or interact with your marketing though. That engagement just cannot be scheduled.
Impersonal automation on the other hand….well, that sucks.
Scheduling is about efficient delivery of content to your audience.
Automation is more often than not just an impersonal method of trying to appear personal. If you are going to use automation in your marketing then make sure it achieves two things:
One is smart business. The other is most likely to lead to disengagement.