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Keeping Marketing Human in the Age of Automation

Artificial intelligence tools that write emails and social media posts. Chatbots that answer questions and engage in conversation. Software that analyzes data and modifies tactics accordingly. With the growing number of MarTech tools available to marketers in the age of automation, marketing opportunities are seemingly endless.

 

But there’s one big challenge with all this new robotic technology: keeping marketing from seeming, well, robotic.

 

That was one of the main messages at the annual MarTech Conference West in San José this month. Marketers are at risk of falling for the shiny object syndrome — going after the hot new tools without considering how those tools will best function. As Riverbed CMO Subbu Iyer said, “Marketers need to ask what the purpose of the technology is — and it needs to be to serve the human experience.”

 

No matter how advanced technology becomes, customers still want an authentic experience. We broke down what the shiny object syndrome is, what a human-first approach looks like and how marketers can take advantage of new technology while maintaining an authentic, human-centric experience.

 

Shiny Object Syndrome

Shiny object syndrome is the tendency to chase something new — a new business idea, a new technology, a new goal — and push aside the task at hand. In marketing, shiny object syndrome often means marketers energetically go after the newest technologies or tools without considering whether they align with a broader marketing strategy.

 

Take chatbots, for example. A company that employs them on its website without stopping to think how it should be done to carry out the company’s overall strategy might end up turning people away rather than engaging them. If the bot doesn’t target the right people in the right way, it might simply pop up and disrupt a customer’s experience with unhelpful information. This annoyance could cause people to quickly leave the website and even form negative associations with the company.

 

A Human-First Approach

A human-first approach to marketing is one that prioritizes a personal experience for each customer. It begins with strategy, not tools, and aims to appeal to each person’s emotions. As Iyer said, customers demand transparency, authenticity and personalization, and companies that exhibit those three characteristics will prevail.

 

A human-first approach to marketing, then, simply means considering marketing from a human perspective and working to make content personalized and authentic.

 

Using MarTech to Make Marketing Human-First

MarTech tools and human-first marketing don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The key is to let strategy lead the way rather than tactics. You must consider your company, its audience and its goals and choose new technologies that fit those goals. If your company’s audience is mostly adults in their 40s and 50s, it’s probably not wise to invest tons of money and time into marketing on Snapchat — that’s not the tool your audience uses most frequently.

 

In addition to picking tools that fit the overall objective, companies should use new tools that allow them to improve their strategy. There are countless MarTech platforms that improve data gathering and analysis, making the process faster and more accurate. Companies can use these tools to get a more detailed understanding of their audiences and improve their marketing efforts.

 

An example referenced by Iyer at the conference is health care company Humana using AI to monitor emotion in customer calls. The AI tools examined customers’ tones and inflections to determine their moods and  used this data to tell agents where the call was heading emotionally so agents could adjust their approach. This data improved the company’s strategy and resulted in higher customer satisfaction and greater first-contact resolution.

 

By letting strategy, not tools, drive marketing, companies can ensure they don’t waste time and money using technologies that are poorly suited to their audiences and goals. When strategy leads the way, MarTech only enhances marketing.

 

Find out how JSMM utilizes MarTech to achieve clients’ goals: https://jsmmtech.com/

 

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