We are rushing headlong towards automating the marketing process, everything from the call centre systems to advanced automation like Marketo and others. However, we are social animals, and no matter how much we set out to automate, you simply cannot replace the eyeball to eyeball impact of personal meetings, creating a paradox.
There is an ad in the current HBR magazine, a portrait of Warren Buffett asking “Ever give a firm handshake over a speaker phone”? Warren is known for asking the key question, of breaking complications down to their core elements, and valuing simplicity. Marketing automation is far from simple, leveraging as it does, assumptions built into strings of algorithms, driving automatic responses.
The real benefit of the tech solutions are the opportunities the tools offer for productivity improvements in the way we use our time to prospect, engage, and sometimes transact, but it will always take a person to take an automated exchange, and turn it into the process that leads to a human relationship.
The old metaphor of using a hammer to drive a nail, not a screwdriver applies in spades. The software being marketed are just tools to be used by people, some tools are better, and more appropriate than others, and the skill of the user plays a huge role.
Don’t be fooled about just how hard it is to use these tools well, and know they cannot ever take the place of personal interaction.