In an effort to increase digital reach, Marketing Automation has become a staple for all marketing and sales teams to build customer relationships. Marketing automation software usually benefits businesses by helping them save time.
It automates repetitive marketing processes such as sending email campaigns, or posting social media. These marketing tasks support the customer journey and often increase lead generation.
But marketing automation does not always lead to positive customer experiences. It can lead to rigidity that may send the wrong message to a brand’s audience during moments of change or cultural relevance. We’re only a couple months into 2020 and we’ve already seen examples of the risk of marketing automation.
Read on to discover the risk of marketing automation, and how marketers can mitigate these risks.
Where Did Marketing Automation Come From?
The marketing automation industry started taking shape in the early 2000s when a few titans, like Salesforce, came into being. Back then, marketing automation platforms focused primarily on Email Marketing and CRM data.
Now, the industry has ballooned to a networth of $1.62 billion with many different practitioners and companies offering low-risk automation practices. Most brands now automate many aspects of their marketing processes, including transactional emails, lead generation, display and social media advertising, and social media campaigns.
Marketers Need to Be Agile As the World Changes
It’s been almost 20 years since the marketing automation industry was established, and a lot has changed. Marketers today can no longer simply set campaigns and forget about them once they reach a certain performance level.
Marketers now need to have an agile approach to their strategies. This means keeping up with what is culturally relevant, acceptable, and permissible in the eyes of those who will receive their ads or emails. Marketing teams must then be able to make swift adjustments to their strategies and campaigns that reflect the current realities of their audience.
A non-agile marketing approach that relies too heavily on automation risks sending outward messages that are tone dead, inappropriate, or irrelevant. And customers take note of these missteps, because consumer expectations today have evolved. Customers are socially aware, and they hold the businesses they support accountable.
Yesterday’s #BlackOutTuesday is a great example of the need to be in tune with cultural moments. The purpose of the day was for social media to put regular content on pause. Instead, the online space was dedicated to amplifying Black voices, and taking the time offline to learn about the systemic racism that Black people face in their daily lives.
On Tuesday, it was essential that marketers pause their ads, change up email content, and push social media content that was aligned with what the public was doing in protest against racism and police brutality. Some marketers were on top of it, but others were not able to because of the amount of automation set inside of their tech.
Balance Marketing Automation With Agility
If 2020 so far has taught us anything, it’s that these days the world is more connected, and more online, than it’s ever been before. While this has resulted in positive gains for ecommerce, it also means that marketers must be on top of the content they publish in real time.
Marketing teams can no longer set and forget their marketing campaigns. Instead, marketers need to have an agile and fluid approach to their strategies so that in moments of change and cultural relevance, they can properly respond.
While automated processes definitely continue to have benefits, companies should aim to strike a balance between automation and real-time marketing. This means ensuring that in sudden or significant moments, marketers have the tools to put on pause any automated processes.
A company’s marketing team is the key to making sure that companies stay culturally relevant and topical. It used to be that marketers would use marketing automation tools to set up and run campaigns with the single goal of high performance. But these days, consumer expectations mean that marketers have a responsibility to promote positive change by shifting their content to reflect cultural moments.
Written by Mike Schmutz, Diff Agency’s Head of Growth
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This article originally appeared in the Diff Agency blog and has been published here with permission.