A zoological tour of automation: beware the duck-billed platypus

  • Voices
  • August 3, 2017
  • Michael Goldthorpe
A zoological tour of automation: beware the duck-billed platypus

The robots are coming. Everywhere you turn, people are talking about chatbots and marketing automation. It makes a lot of sense. We have data in ubiquitous supply and computers that can process pretty much anything. So why wouldn’t we automate our marketing, put our feet up and wait for the money to roll in?

The short answer is, we could. But like anything worth doing, it’s not quite as easy as it looks. So before we fire the worker bees and bring in the robots, here are some animal-related watch-outs on the challenges of automation.

Beware the Arctic lemming

Lemmings have a hard time. You jump off one cliff and everyone thinks you’re a muppet. It’s not fair. But it’s also a cautionary tale. Before you follow the hype and buy an automation robot, take a good long look at your business. Is automation useful? Where is automation useful? How can automation engage with customers in a more relevant way? If you’ve got solid answers to those three questions, you’ve already avoided the cliff jump.

Automation learning: Work out what and why before you start on how and where.

Beware the squawking parrot

Ever bought wine online? We have. And boy, do we know about it. Seems like every day there’s another cancelled export order with a bunch of related offers. It’s overkill. If we were drinking wine at the pace we get spammed, we’d be very unproductive. It’s the same with travel, stationery and just about every online purchase. So rather than sit on the fence post and squawk like a parrot, it’s better to consider the customer and send relevant offers with a respectful rhythm.

Automation learning: Contact rules are the most important rules of all.

Beware the hairy sloth

If you’ve ever sat through an automation pitch, the primary sell is a reduction in staff costs when machines do all the work. It’s not realistic. The advantage of smart automation is the increase in effectiveness of relevant, trigger-based marketing. But that takes hard work and ongoing maintenance. So forget about set and forget – you can’t just hang in a tree and watch the world go by. Instead, get ready, listen, learn, remember and respond in a relevant way.

Automation learning: Getting set up is just the start – be prepared to keep working.

Beware the dancing gazelle

Having worked in automation since the early days of email, we’ve seen plenty of people pitch various magnificent new wardrobes for the Emperor. Automation tools are just that. Buying into the hype of a multi-channel, fully-responsive, automated platform is like shopping for a Porsche without a driver’s license. Some platforms are better than others. Some will be a better fit for your business. But no big cheque to a cloud-based whoever will solve every problem on day one.

Automation Learning: Take time to understand your business before buying new toys.

Beware the duck-billed platypus

Great automation is entirely dependent on great data. It’s the fuel that drives the engine. While most businesses have some data in pretty good shape, no one has everything nailed. One of the biggest challenges is trying to automate for every eventuality. It’s not that it can’t be done, it’s just that it’s not worth bothering. If 80 percent of your base can be easily automated, start there. But don’t spend 90 percent of your time trying to classify a warm-blooded amphibious mammal that lays eggs and has a beak. Just call them.

Automation learning: Don’t overthink the hard stuff, make money from the easy wins.

And that’s a zoological tour of the watch outs of marketing automation. There are plenty of positives too. As always, it’s not about what you’re doing, it’s all about why. And if you’ve got the smarts and the toys and the data lined up, automation can deliver on every promise you’re pitched.

That’s what I reckon, what do you think?

  • Michael Goldthorpe is the founder of Hunch

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

Moving on from a 'glorified PDF': Goodfolk on reshaping the digital face of Fidelity Life

  • Brand
  • September 21, 2017
  • Erin McKenzie
Moving on from a 'glorified PDF': Goodfolk on reshaping the digital face of Fidelity Life

With a 44-year legacy in the insurance industry but a fast-moving digital environment surrounding it, Fidelity Life needed future-proofing. It called on Goodfolk and Phosphor to create a new website with its staff front and centre and as Goodfolk general manager Benn Winlove explains, the execution is a result of the client's willingness to listen to its agencies and the agencies' willingness to understand their client.

Read more

September 21 2012: The day the social media dream died

  • Voices
  • September 21, 2017
  • Paul Catmur
September 21 2012: The day the social media dream died
Facebook

September 21 marks the five-year anniversary of the day when Facebook turned social media into just plain ‘media’. This date is probably worth noting, if not necessarily celebrating, as it marks the end of the dream of brands having unlimited conversations with their fans for free.

Read more
topics
Beneath the Surface
Beneath the Surface
In this series, brought to you by Microsoft, we talk to a conceptual photographer, illustrator ...
Insight Creative
Insight Creative
Insight Creative specialises in shaping business stories out the core insights that often lie under ...
20/20 (tele)vision
20/20 (tele)vision
Media consumption is changing. But by how much?
The Hot List
The Hot List
Our rundown of the hottest shows, brands and creators in New Zealand media. 1. magazine ...
Cannes Lions 2017
Cannes Lions 2017
All the winners, the shortlists and the drama from this year's edition of advertising biggest ...
Merger Mania
Merger Mania
All our stories on the nation's two failed mergers in one place
Bauer Beyond the Page
Bauer Beyond the Page
When it comes to creating branded content, there are few better in the Kiwi market ...
The Indies
The Indies
Over the course of this series of articles, we look at how always-nimble indy agencies ...
AdRoll on automation
AdRoll on automation
Marketing automation is tipped to eventually become the only way advertising is traded in the ...
Game Changers
Game Changers
It’s all about PEOPLE. Join us as we discuss global insights, ideas and innovations from ...
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
Celebrating all the winners of the 2015 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards.
Future Tense
Future Tense
In a new series, StopPress talks to a range of newsmakers currently trying to shine ...
Beyond the Page
Beyond the Page
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Up Country
Up Country
In conjunction with News Works, the Up Country series talks with some of New Zealand's ...
Sounding off
Sounding off
As part of a content partnership with MediaWorks, we've asked a few of the company's ...
StopPress Podcasts
StopPress Podcasts
We sit down for a chat with industry leaders to find out what they're up ...
voices

Ecostore chief executive Pablo Kraus on youthful optimism, shopping habits inherited from parents and building a sustainable business

  • Q&A
  • September 19, 2017
  • StopPress Team
Ecostore chief executive Pablo Kraus on youthful optimism, shopping habits inherited from parents and building a sustainable business

Ecostore launched its first major brand campaign via DDB this week in a bid to send the message that consumers have the power to choose the kind of future they want their children to inherit. The campaign, running across various media channels, made the point that we don't have to accept the pessimistic status quo and that we can learn from the optimism of the younger members of our society. We chat to Ecostore chief executive Pablo Kraus about the insight behind the campaign and what this means for the consumers Ecostore would like to get on its side.

Read more
Sponsored content

Cultivating trust: can the Magazine 360 foster self-regulation?

At a time when metrics and viewability have become big issues of the day, could the MPA’s Magazine 360 metric be an effective way for ...

Bauer announces number of executive changes

  • Movings/Shakings, brought to you by Marsden Inch
  • September 15, 2017
  • StopPress Team
Bauer announces number of executive changes

Brendon Hill, Tanya Walshe, Paul Gardiner and Michael Fuyala all move into new roles as Bauer shuffles the executive ranks. In addition, the media company has also announced a number of new editorial directors.

Read more
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise

Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit