Marketing automation is not new - it has been around for many years and in many shapes. And it is not going away. But tread carefully - it is all too easy for a carefully planned campaign to crash around your ears.
It is easy for agencies to see the attraction of marketing automation - in theory it will allow you to do more for clients with less, creating greater levels of customer engagement without the day-to-day humdrum.
But I have seen little evidence that consumers want to engage with 'bots' or welcome automated content - at best it is simply ignored, and can all too easily make a brand look ridiculous.
Brand owners should tread carefully.
Social engagement should be just that - creating opportunities for a brand to engage with its customers or clients. And as yet, nothing quite does that as well as, well, people.
Paddy Power did a great job of social automation with their Grand National chatbot, offering punters a humorous imaginary day at the races. Walkers, however, was left wishing it had devoted more time to its crisis response plan when its automated selfie tweet bot was gamed by consumers. What started as an innovative way to automate competition entries ended up in a PR nightmare, when undesirables such as Harold Shipman and Jimmy Savile were uploaded as entries. Automated content and engagement needs to be given some serious thought before attempted. Let’s all take a step back and think what’s the worst thing that could happen, and plan for it. Here’s my view on what the issue means for agencies, consumers, bloggers and brands.