When it Comes to Marketing, Automation Can Be Bad News

Oct 25, 2018

Automation has infiltrated almost every area of business, but be wary of incorporating it too heavily into your content marketing efforts. Some tasks and processes need a little more hands-on attention.

Automation has brought some of the greatest advances to the business world over the last century. In many industries and applications, it’s played a catalytic role in lowering costs, improving accuracy, and maximizing efficiency on the input side of things. Some examples of areas where automation excels include:

  • Manufacturing

  • Accounting

  • Sales

  • Data and analytics

  • Product and process optimization

  • Supply chain logistics

But automation isn’t designed for every area of business. Take finance as an example. While automation has certainly seeped into the industry, it’s arguably gone too far. Many wealth management firms now use robo-advisors to manage accounts, which many experts believe is taking things a bit too far.

While robo-advisors and other automated solutions do make firms more responsive, the better approach is to combine technology with the power and comfort of human interaction. And this approach isn’t unique to finance or investing. There are other areas of business where a combination of appropriate technology and human interaction are vital to success – and marketing is one of them.

The 4 Marketing Tasks You Should Approach Manually

We’re working in an age of marketing innovation. Every time you attend a conference or visit a leading website, it seems like some new tool, software, or plugin is being introduced with the promise of saving time and improving results. And while there are certainly some marketing tools that do this, most come with a clear set of drawbacks.

In order to excel at marketing, it’s best to limit your dependence on automation – especially in the following areas.

  1. Social Media Engagement—Few things matter more to a business than organic customer engagement – particularly on social media. A savvy user can easily sniff out an automated chatbot or copy and pasted response. While it certainly takes time, appointing an employee to handle all social media engagement is an important step in the right direction. This individual should have a firm grasp of your brand voice and possess patience, restraint, and genuine care for the customer.

  1. Content Creation--Content takes a lot of time to produce. If you have limited resources on your side, publishing thousands of words of unique copy each week probably isn’t realistic. But don’t let this push you towards gimmicky automation strategies like content spinning. While technically legal, content spinning is widely frowned upon and enormously ineffective. Not only is the content awkward and illegible, but it waters down your brand image and makes you look cheap. You’re much better off publishing one or two high-quality pieces of original content per month than multiple spun articles each week.

  1. Email Outreach-- Email outreach plays a key role in modern marketing. It allows you to reach people wherever they are with simple, personal messages about your brand. It’s also more natural and less invasive than other outreach methods. Unfortunately, most marketers try to automate this process with far too much frequency. We’ve all received automated emails, and it’s immediately apparent when we do. The language is general, canned, and feels impersonal. So why would you send these emails to other people and think they’re going to be effective? Take the extra time and write up personal emails that come across as genuine.

  1. Blog Comment Responses-- One of the thought leaders in the blogging space is internet marketer Neil Patel. And one of his biggest pieces of advice to individual bloggers and businesses is to respond to every single blog comment. But do you know what he doesn’t advise? Automating these responses. As is the case with email outreach, there’s no disguising automated blog comment responses. Everyone knows what you’re doing and it looks unnatural. If you’re going to respond to comments, take a few seconds to engage each reader individually.

Stay in Touch

You can’t stray too far from your brand’s marketing efforts and expect to retain any consistency or integrity. While automation and outsourcing have a role, they should be used sparingly. Being hands-on in this area of your business will yield dividends for years to come.

Related Articles

When you get your blog started, you need to include these seven features—at a minimum—to lay the groundwork for your online brand.
Whether your goals are to make money, become internet famous, or spread the word about one of your favorite hobbies or pastimes, your blog can be a tool to accomplish your goals. If you want to be successful, you'll need to analyze things like market demand and your existing competition. But should you also take protective measures, like getting insurance for it?
Content isn't created in a vacuum. Most of us rely on a variety of primary and secondary sources when writing content, using the information and insights of other people to create our best work. Unfortunately, too many content marketers neglect the importance of choosing the right sources, and their work suffers because of it.
Looking for a hack to make you a better content marketer? Try a timer. It's a simple strategy that you can use in several distinct applications to improve your writing faster or in different ways.