What's your view on automation? While many see it as running counter to the ethos of what social media and digital connection is all about (i.e. facilitating more personal connection), for brands looking to scale their online activity, a level of automation is likely inevitable. And with ongoing developments in AI, and machine-powered systems learning how to undertake certain processes better than humans ever could, it seems inevitable that automation is coming. At some stage, like it or not, your business will need to consider automating certain elements.
But is that a really a foregone conclusion? And even though you can automate certain aspects of your marketing processes, does that mean you should?
To get a better handle on the broader industry sentiment around automation – and what processes are acceptable to automate (versus those that are not) – we put out the call to our SMT community for their thoughts on where they see things headed. More than 300 people responded to our ‘State of Automation’ survey, giving us a range of perspectives and insights for our first major report of 2019 - 'The State of Marketing Automation'.
This week, we'll highlight some of the key findings from the report from SMT, but you can read the full report at any time at this link.
Part III: Opportunities of Automation
Of all the responses we received to our marketing automation survey, the considerations over what may be coming next were probably the most revealing.
First off, in order to get a handle on where current thinking is in relation to the potential of automation, we asked our audience ‘Which marketing tasks currently take up the most time for your business?’
The demands of content creation weigh heavy - and for the most part, this is an element which automation cannot fulfill (yet), given the complexities of writing compelling, informative material that delivers on your audience needs.
But there are aspects of these processes which can be automated. Sure, you can’t rely on automation to create content for you, but you can use it to highlight rising trends, in order to provide direction as to which subjects your business should be writing about.
That also relates to the second challenge noted in our responses – ‘Audience research’. Given its prominence in our results, there’s clearly a desire within the industry for automation tools which help with analytics – brands not only want the raw data, they want to understand what it all means.
Can that process be automated? Google is certainly trying for one – the platform has been slowly rolling out more actionable insight prompts within Google Analytics that indicate not only the key data points of note, but also what they actually mean, and how you can use them in your planning and process.
Facebook, too, offers some level of actionable insight, providing tips on how to optimize your on-platform ad performance.
None of these tools are all-encompassing as yet, and marketers are clearly not placing too much reliance on them, preferring to go with their experience. But such tools are improving – there may well come a time in the near future where these systems can do a lot more than merely uncover relevant peaks and troughs, which could cover almost all elements of the feedback provided in our survey.
You can download the full SMT 'State of Marketing Automation 2019' survey data and report here.