Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Marketing Automation and the Human Factor

Today, much of a marketer's work is related to digital marketing and marketing automation. Considerations include choosing the right CRM, setting up automated sales funnels and drip email campaigns, linking online databases, making sure autoresponders are working properly, creating Google ad campaigns, feeding Facebook pages with the appropriate content, making sure the website is mobile optimized, setting up meta tags and other SEO, using Google analytics and setting up other data analytics. Much of this requires the evaluation of different software solutions and the linking of different software components and plug-ins.

All of this can be quite time consuming and distracting. But where is the human element in all of this? Does the customer get to develop a relationship with your company or brand? Is there an emotional connection? Is there a human being they can call upon? Do they really feel heard?

This is why television advertising still makes sense for many brands. And this is why front line customer service is so important. People want to interact with other humans, maybe not all people and maybe not all of the time, but certainly most people and at least some of the time. Admittedly, some people prefer the convenience of using ATMs over interacting with bank tellers. But others still prefer to interact with a person even if it means waiting in line in the bank's lobby.

Yes, we want everything to be scalable and we are enticed to replace people with automation. And organizations usually want to pay the customer facing service employees as little as possible because there are so many of them and the organizations want to maximize their profits.

But where does that leave our brands and us when emotional connection is largely removed from the process and the few points of human contact are overworked and underpaid (and often undertrained)?

The sole point of this post is to encourage marketers to not undervalue television advertising, videos, personal selling, technical support, customer service and other sources of personal interaction. While Walmart no longer does this, why do you think they employed store greeters for so many years? And guess what they replaced the greeters with? Higher paid "customer hosts" with more stringent hiring criteria and expanded responsibilities.

Again, do what you need to do with marketing automation but never forget about the human touch.