Marketing automation is a good thing if it amplifies a human voice and experience. If you’re sending a genuinely written email to your customers or prospects, there’s nothing wrong with using a tool that allows you to send it en masse rather than hitting “send” over and over again. But an over-reliance on scripting and CRM tools that suggest fill-in-the-blank techniques are the opposite of engaging (or appetizing).

Here’s a couple of recent experiences:

Marketing Technology Run Amok

Spam is not exactly a new phenomenon, but there’s an increasing number of completely unsolicited emails I’ve gotten within the past year (from recognizable players) which begin with a proposition, move on to another email in a series saying “I know you’re busy, but…” and end (or don’t end) with “Can you please just let me know if you’re not interested?” – I’m looking at you, Hubspot, although I do grant that they recommend different practices to their users. Unfortunately, when the series of emails begins with deception (implication of a past relationship that doesn’t exist) and end with forced teaming behavior (you’ve got to help me clean up my list that you never signed up for), the sender is truly living up to Gary Vee’s observation that marketers ruin everything (video link).

Closely related: follow ups that are on some kind of autopilot zombie mode:

Details here are fuzzy to protect the not-so-innocent: I recently visited a trade show booth at a major national eCommerce event, and agreed to receive some information. I actually knew some of the people at the booth, who live in my state. So they scanned my badge, and agreed to follow up. Problem is, when I replied to an email sent by someone on their sales team, they didn’t reply back.

However, they did keep sending emails in the script series (see paragraph on spam above). A month later, and I got an email from one of the people that I actually met in the booth.

Problem is, I’m now a different person. My mood has changed. And now I have to decide whether I’m going to be “that guy” who tells them about the experience, or just ignores it and presses on with the discussion I tee’d up at the booth. But I’m a consultant at heart, so I’ll probably tell them. Most people are just going to go cold. This is a big player in the space, not a little niche player, by the way.

Humans can beat robots at marketing for the foreseeable future

Time and again smaller companies beat larger ones in the tech space, and the way they do it is by finding a need that’s not getting filled. Did you know that even if your product is not completely novel, you can probably market it better than the big guys? You can start by being human, by using marketing technology (martech) judiciously, and by paying attention to the quality of your interactions, not just managing by the numbers.

If you have no idea where to start (on the technology side, or the human side), contact us and we’d love  to chat. We promise not to put you on an email loop.

Featured Photo by Lukas on Unsplash