A few months ago, tech forecaster Daniel Burrus published a LinkedIn post praising the increasing intelligence of today’s technology. His view though is just one of the many who are noticing the increasing strength in data technology when it comes to automated decisions in machines.
For both B2B marketers, this could mean that getting information on potential customers only gets easier. Menial tasks like looking up directories or relying on their active input may no longer be even necessary.
There comes a point though when you need to put a manual override in that marketing machine. You know those moments in sci-fi movies where some super dangerous robot goes out of control? If it’s the first time it ever did, the thing’s usually put down manually. (Yes folks, shooting it in the head or pulling its plug counts as manual.)
The next question is what are the signs that your marketing’s gone haywire? If it’s not broke, don’t fix it right? You don’t want to deny yourself the benefits of easier (and more informed) marketing for fear of a few (albeit risky) glitches.
- Where is the data coming from? – Today, data is like the secondary fuel for marketing (both in terms of tools as well as strategies). For example, an email blaster is useless without a targeted contact list. And like any fuel, there has to be a source (e.g. contact forms, subscriptions, directories). Keep an eye on this source because that’s where the first sign of funny business starts showing.
- How do you harvest it? – What do you use to acquire this information? What tools do you use to organize and crawl your sources? But more importantly, are customers and prospects aware that you’re getting information on them? You need to draw lines on how much you can ask from them. It’s when your tool start crossing that line that you need to switch manual, asap.
- What do you do with the information? – Remember, data drives marketing by giving you better idea on who your targets are. This keeps you from autodialing the wrong list of numbers or sending emails to people who have chosen to opt-out. But then again, it’s exactly when accidents like that happen that you need to turn your machine off and get some real people to take over.
There are many commonly known cases of professions switching to manual in times of machine failure. Pilots take over during emergency landings. Factory workers stop machine when something’s caught in the works.
So no matter how intelligent our technology can be, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Prepare your marketers to do things manually when automated tools need taking over.