While not necessarily new, marketing automation is a new technique to a lot of companies.
Companies have a roadmap of where they want to go, what their customers want, and how they want to accomplish it, but oftentimes the execution is the hardest part of all.
This is when companies often see the knight in shining armor of marketing automation to make their plan a reality to turn on the machine and bring home the bacon.
But could it really be that easy?
Marketing Automation Gives You Powerful Tools
Customer relationship management is tough, and any way to make it easier is always welcome.
There are several services and software available today that allow you to automate your marketing to keep in touch with all your customers and provide them with a complete service while reserving company resources for new outreach and other tasks.
Services like Vocus, Marketo, Hubspot, or MailChimp (specifically for email) can make this dream a reality.
The problem is, it can also make it a nightmare.
The Dark Side of Marketing Automation
Companies that provide marketing automation solutions will take you to the moon with their long list of benefits and success statistics.
What these services won’t tell you is that overall marketing is a balancing act and automation can only factor in as part of your overall strategy.
It’s not like automating your marketing is bad, but it is very tempting to dive in head first and automate even the items that should remain personal.
By receiving your customers with a machine, nurturing them in binary, and answering their questions and concerns in circuits, you’re distancing yourself from your audience and removing that human connection that we all yearn for.
Balancing the Humanity with Marketing Automation
There is a way to have it both ways. The wonderful, dreamlike benefits of automating your marketing can still be yours as long as you take a personal approach and leave your most important channels open to one-on-one communication.
For instance, the greatest travesty that has come from marketing automation is the idea of automatically replying with canned responses when your customers email you with a question.
Of course you’ll get the same questions over and over again, but this is where you need to engage your customers on the most personal level possible. They are looking to interface with you, not an arbitrary building of pre-written, passive replies.
These are also your best opportunities to learn from the customer and better your product for the next customer that comes along.
Answer each question in earnest with a few strokes of your keyboard. Project your unique voice to each customer and make them feel important, each as an individual.
Marketing automation is right for everyone, but not everyone is prepared to get the most out of it and at the same time provide more benefit than ever to their customers.
Remember that your customers are all human beings, individuals, and contributors to your success.
Treat them like kings, and automate the rest.