Marketing Automation Must Die

It’s been one of those weeks (and, it’s only Tuesday), so here’s a rant…

Marketers… There’s a whole lot of you who are using marketing automation in a really bad and evil way. You’re making me hate you. You’re making me hate marketing automation. You’re making potential clients hate you too. Please don’t do this. I love marketing automation. Can’t we have anything nice? Here’s the pitch: I am being inundated by “marketing professionals” trying to sell me a myriad of marketing platforms, products or services that will — without question — turn me and our agency, Mirum, into rock stars. It’s all so flattering. It’s such a compelling offer. But…

How cold calls just became everyone’s worst nightmare (thanks, marketing automation!).

It’s one thing when someone calls you with an offer, and you either drive them to voicemail, or politely lie to them that you just purchased their competitor’s product. It’s another when you get unsolicited email requests or a note sent viaLinkedIn. We’ve all come to accept that we’re going to get hit up whenever there is an opportunity. It’s the cost of doing business, right? Still, it makes you wonder where these people get the nerve to do this, or where they got/bought your email from? Now, these “professionals” are taking it to a whole other level. They are using marketing automation software and tools, setting up a unique and customized “Customer Journey,” map and simply dumping my email (and yours) into the machine. I don’t just get one email from these people, but multiple emails that almost feel like a human wrote them just for me (“Hey Mitch, can we grab 15 minutes… I didn’t hear back from you based on the email I sent you the other day.”). All of these businesses have, literally, dumped my email address (and yours) into their marketing automation machines, and are blasting us insensately with emails. Yes, set it and forget engines of marketing automation spam. Some of them have the nerve to even get rude to the non-response (“can’t you just find five minutes to respond to me?”). Wow…

Is this what we’re really going to do with this sophisticated and powerful technology?

What ever happened to Permission Marketing (hat tip, Seth Godin)? What ever happened to building an ethical list of potential clients, and actually nurturing those relationships? What ever happened to caring about the work that you do and your name, as a business person? Call it Pollyanna, but these types of actions (and they’re coming from very legitimate businesses) is soul crushingly brutal for me to receive. It’s weakening my will to appreciate the true power of marketing automation.

Hit. Delete. Move on.

Sure, anyone can do that. It’s easy to hit delete, forget about the scammers and spammers and simply utter, “it is, what it is,” under one’s breath, but we can do better. We should do better. We should hold ourselves, and our peers, to a much higher standard. I love this business. I love marketing. I love technology. The prospect and opportunity of marketing automation is not something that I take lightly. I am heavily vested in it (as is our agency). Still, much like terrible retargeting campaigns, the more consumers are exposed to poor instances of marketing automation, the harder it is going to be to convert them over to the cause. I want all brands to use marketing automation. I believe it will change the dynamics of customer acquisition and retention. I believe it will lower the overall cost of marketing, and increase sales in an attributable manner. I mean it… this isn’t just a bunch of buzzwords. Still, we need to do it right.

Marketing automation. Do it right… Or kill it, before it kills all of us.