Marketing automation has become a central focus for many businesses. In fact, a survey conducted by Ascend2 found that 71% of companies currently automate one or more processes of their marketing strategy. While marketing automation offers some benefits — requires less work, faster, etc. — it also has some caveats that shouldn’t be ignored.

What It Marketing Automation?

In basic terms, marketing automation refers to the use of software, scripts and other technologies to perform one or more marketing tasks without the need for human intervention. Some businesses call prospects using automated robocalls for example, while others use automated online chatbots and automated email communications. The general idea is that automation streamlines a business’s marketing strategy, but it comes at the cost of a diluted customer experience.

How It Dilutes the Customer Experience

When a prospect or customer contacts a business, he or she expects to reach a live worker. Regardless of the channel used for this communication, people want to communicate with other people; they don’t want to talk to a robot or prerecorded message. Preventing prospects and customers from talking to a live worker at your business dilutes their experience. They’ll view your business as being less trustworthy and less genuine than its counterparts.

There’s also the possibility of erroneous messages being sent to your business’s prospects and customers if you use marketing automation. Marketing automation is still a relatively new concept, so it’s not without error. If you rely on a fully automated system to market your business, your may unknowingly send prospects and customers the wrong message. Maybe a prospect receives the same chat message a half-dozen times, or perhaps a customer receives a follow-up email for a product or service that they didn’t purchase. Errors such as these are common with marketing automaton and can dilute the customer experience.

Bringing Helpfulness and Authenticity Back Into Your Business’s Marketing Mix

You can bring helpfulness and authenticity back into your business’s marketing mix by focusing on the human element. In other words, ensure that correspondence with prospects and customers is primarily handled by a human worker. It takes more time and effort to communicate manually, but it shows prospects and customers that your business is authentic.

Here are tips to create a more authentic marketing strategy:

  • Address customers by name rather than “sir” or “madam.”
  • Provide customers with multiple methods of communication, such as email, online chat, social media, phone, fax and direct mail.
  • Use consistent brand imagery throughout your marketing campaigns.
  • Use targeted marketing methods that specifically reach your business’s ideal audience.
  • Provide case studies, testimonials or reviews from past customers.
  • Detail the story of your business, including how it was created and the values for which it stands.

Marketing automation is still a valuable tool that can help your business succeed. The key thing to remember is that it shouldn’t be the foundation on which your marketing strategy is based. Rather, use marketing automation to improve the human element of your business’s marketing strategy.