Throughout this issue, we have referred to digital tools as "robots." And when you mention the R-word, the majority of the population immediately thinks of Wall-E or Robocop. However, they are not what we're discussing a digital marketing world.
When "robot" is used in this magazine, it really refers to technology that is being controlled by programmed automated features.
Automation tools, like any tools, need to be picked up and correctly applied for a specific function. A nail gun, for example, can’t nail anything together without an operator. In digital marketing, the human and the robot must work together to achieve successful results.
The world has demanded faster pace and accurate information delivery, which is exactly why companies are relying more and more on “robots" to accomplish tasks. Robots are readily available, programmable machines capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically and repetitively.
In the digital world, these robots are not mechanical, but buildable, programmable, a set of complex automation tools integrated together to provide the ideal digital experience. Believe it or not, a website is basically a robot. Behind every page in every interactive websites and digital services, there are few robots serving around the clock in delivering content to their audience.
How Companies use Automated Technology
All companies that subscribe to SEO (searchable engine optimization) are using automated tech one way or another. This increases web traffic to your modern digital “.com” storefront, which serves as an introduction of your brand to clients.
Additionally, most businesses have active social platforms to show a social media presence. But to post the content or the images, social platforms and their owners rely on an automated technology – typically a social media management system – to ensure social media delivery, as well as manage and track engagement.
Both the website and social handles, though managed by humans, rely on automated CMS' and metadata in order to get in front of the right audience.
More automated technology presents a number of ways for consumers to follow business news, brand promotions and allow communication to between brand and consumer via a contact information page. Before published, all these pieces were distinguished apart from the competition through automated research and persona development.
Basically, advertising is no longer done without automation. But it is certainly not done with Wall-E-inspired "robots." Yet, anyway.
Aside from website, internal operations depend heavily on automated technology. From data analytics to generating complex reports, automated technology performs these tasks rather than the hand-drawn graphs by a human employee.
Any implementation on automation requires deep familiarity of the process, and identifying all anomaly scenarios. To get started, there are 5 rough steps to implementing automation to any process:
- Identify and validate areas of opportunity for automation. Some processes are meant to be left alone, but time-consuming processes and repetitive tasks are best automated.
- Develop the automation plan to fit the operation and team and, most importantly, the available resources to pursue the near-full automation.
- Proof of concept and staging environment are crucial stages to ensure the automated functionality is executed accurately and efficiently without fail.
- Roll out or go live is the pinnacle of the entire implementation. All energy is focused here to guarantee a smooth transition.
- Quality assurance and maintain automation activity with routine checks and performance monitoring.
The complete automation of a large process requires system integration, which is the hardest and most difficult effort, because information is accumulating. Once this entire automation is complete, then we can identify the entire process of a robot.
How to Use Automation to their Advantage
The driving factors on implementing automation is because it creates:
In this binary world, automation not only can control the publishing of content, but also allows operators to obtain data accumulation, summarization and projection faster. Then evaluate the effectiveness of an advertisement campaign.
In addition, automation allows for a leaner workforce, skipping the need of paper-pushers or data-entry employees.
Automation can work tirelessly without complaint and accurately deliver data every moment and without conscience.
However, similarly to humans, robots will have some wear and tear. Plus, there’s always steady growth of security vulnerability in every system. The intelligent personnel that have the remote control is an irreplaceable asset in keeping to the robot in check.
Marketing today relies heavily on automation to reach out and deliver content to their intended valuable audience. More developed systems can connect several dots on marketing deliveries to track down, measure out and deliver right content.
What is Too Far in Automation?
When human involvement is removed entirely, fail-proof automation cannot exist in digital advertisement. It must be overseen by qualified human employees to ensure accurate information is delivered appropriately.
This is where the human operator fills in where the limitation of automation is reached.
A marketing tool, like an email campaign, is a larger ecosystem that requires multiple pieces of automation chained together. It has many parts to simply deliver a message to consumers about a line of service or a new product. But each of those parts must be Pinocchio'd by a human.
That means new data must be constantly flowing in from analytics and web tracking. Data is massaged, by automated features, to constant change is required to adapt to its demands and surroundings. Therefore, businesses can never leave their large-scale automation to run on its own.
In other words, brands need babysitters, a security force and maybe fire department for high impact/risk operations because accidents happen. Unless preventive measures are included in the program, the general crowd will not trust the brand. Babysitters are especially needed for programs at its infant stage. And programmed automation cannot babysit. Businesses need human babysitters.
With each major automation, you need a human, or two, to ensure the general equation still adds up correctly.
In general, a polished automation that shares the age of your bourbon drink and typically requires less human involvement.
I will leave you with this to ponder:
Captcha said, "I spend all day telling apart between bots and humans.”