It’s the talk of the town, the belle of the buzzwords, the king of the Next Big Thing … and it’s coming to a flawed execution near you! What’s this new modern marvel of marketing efficiency? Why, marketing automation, my good lady/man.
It’s almost a textbook oxymoron, when you think about it — social media marketing by machine? That’s like asking a vegan friend to cook steaks at your barbecue. It’s not that it’s impossible, it’s just … well … that’s not their forte.
Or to put it in terms even our robot overlords could understand: It does not compute.
Don’t get us wrong — we’re not technophobes. Tech is what made the beautiful dream of social media possible in the first place. But there’s such a thing as using the right tool for the right job. And let’s face it: The reason we’ve grown to adore computers has never had anything to do with their scintillating social skills.
What’s more, when machines are made to mimic humans, they can become downright creepy. Way back in 1970, robotics professor Masahiro Mori recognized this and coined a term for it — the uncanny valley — to describe the weird unease robots produce as they become stylized to seem more human. (To see this phenomenon in action, click here. “Though I walk through the valley of the uncanny, I will fear no android…”)
And then there are the mistakes.
From the Cupertino effect and autocorrect errors publically outing us as drooling idiots, to errant GPS instructions literally driving us to destruction, automation has not always been kind to the humble human. (A species could get a little paranoid — are the machines INTENTIONALLY trying to make us look bad?)
Yet for all that, these days everyone and their code-happy cousin seems to swear by marketing automation — even though they soon may be swearing AT it.
Just ask the New England Patriots, whose automated campaign accidentally tweeted out a racist slur last November. Or Bank of America and Progressive insurance, whose automated systems miraculously didn’t respond appropriately to Occupy Wall Street protesters and a man ridiculing Progressive’s policy in an automobile-death settlement.
All of which brings us to the crux of the biscuit: For all the time and money you may throw at sophisticated automated marketing “solutions,” they’re simply not suited for social media’s highest calling — forming relationships with customers and prospects.
Worse, as Bank of America and Progressive discovered, the absence of a caring, real live person representing your brand can actually irritate prospects, potentially driving them away. Your clever system can go from “genius” to “disingenuous” in less than 140 characters.
Brands don’t need cookie-cutter social media marketing, they need real people creating real relationships — they need PR Brigade. We’re like social media artisans, building genuine, meaningful relationships with brands’ prospects and customers that in turn build something even more meaningful: sales.
Click or call, and find out how our team can design a social media marketing strategy specifically tailored to your business and prospects, one that speaks to customers genuinely, not generically.