Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Dark Side of Marketing Automation

Back in the 1980s when computer automation first started to make a big impact on business, many people started to realize the truth in the old axiom: Garbage In/Garbage Out. Putting in bad or erroneous inputs, and then processing them faster and more efficiently took its toll on a wide range of businesses, ranging from newly automated dentist offices to numerical punch machines that went awry.

But perhaps nobody saw the paradoxical power of GIGO better than the thousand of business planners who discovered that the speed and dexterity with which they could manipulate Lotus 123 didn’t make their assumptions any more prescient or their forecasts any more exact. Their companies found out as sales forecasts foundered and inventory levels swelled.

We are seeing part of the same scenario play out today with the advent of marketing automation systems. Don’t get me wrong, marketing automation and campaign management are great concepts. Many companies are recognizing breakthroughs in activity levels and prospect touches, but just as many are pumping banal and uninteresting content through these systems. In the process, they may be damaging their reputations and even their brands. Certainly, they are inuring their prospects to this email onslaught and making them wary of these digital touches.

What’s the cure for GIGO in the marketing automation model? Good content. As explained in this MarketingProfs post, expensive inbound linking, SEO, and analytics won't be worth the investment if readers don't have something good to read on your web site.

Good content keeps the audience in mind, which goes slow and doesn’t force everything down their throat. Most importantly marketers need to remember that even though they are feeding information into an automated system, that there is still a human being on the other end.

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