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March 2013
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Marketing Without a Pulse

Quick question: Were you swayed during the past presidential election by the dozens of automated phone calls that came into your home?

We didn’t think so. While the method certainly kept the candidates’ names front and center, the lack of personalization made voters feel more like (phone) numbers than people with concerns.

The same trend is making its way into marketing. Marketing automation software is a largely robotic function designed to generate leads, segment markets, cross-sell and up-sell, and measure ROI. While its intention is to give businesses a streamlined and efficient method of marketing to clients, it forgets one important thing: marketing – like voting – is personal, and marketing automation takes out the ability to connect with heart and soul.

Here are two big reasons to cross “automated marketing” off of your list of potential strategies:

1. Automated marketing doesn’t place the needs of customers first

Admit it. You’re interested in automated marketing because it saves you time. But the problem is that it takes the customer’s needs and puts them second to your own.

Customers are always looking for useful and timely information, and marketers should make it their number one job to help customers get the exact information they need to make a decision. Once a lead has converted into a customer, it’s time to deepen the relationship to encourage repeat purchases. It’s time to personalize your marketing efforts, not kick back and hit the easy button.

Marketing automation also often ignores your best customers. Gather information about your customer and pay attention to the marketing efforts he or she responds to. Customers who purchase often or who try new products or services should receive individualized attention. As you gather this information, put it to good use. When you truly understand your audience, you can strengthen the relationship.

2. Automated marketing waters down your content

Marketing should provide customers with the exact information they need when they need it. Without well-planned, relevant content, emails can look and feel like spam.

The purpose of your content is to draw people in, nurture the relationship and convert prospects into customers. With a higher volume of emails being sent through automated marketing, the quality of the content often suffers. In email marketing, quality is much more important than quantity. Content that isn’t well planned or relevant weakens a brand. And content that is delivered too frequently often gets deleted before it’s read.

Automated marketing also often generates delivery of repeat content based on expressed interests. While it’s OK to refer to past emails, content should never be reused. It’s a clear indicator that the marketing system has been put on autopilot.

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