What’s the key to an unwavering marketing focus? Our resident Rockstar Ted Rubin tells it like it is – keep the customer front and center, avoid unnecessary automation and ditch the bots.

There are plenty of marketing tools that promise more than they can deliver… and truthfully more than you should want to deliver with a “tool”.

When the tools themselves are marketed effectively and they promise something that seems vitally necessary, it’s hard for some brands to pull themselves away from the promise to see reality… and stay focused on what is most important to their customers. When enough brands adopt a bad idea, another one that takes people in your organization further away from the customer, it becomes a trend regardless of its true effectiveness. Doubly so if the idea is pitched on increased efficiency and decreased costs.

The fact that a lot of brands are using a particular marketing tool is definitely not a sign that it works flawlessly, or that it will improve the customer experience, or even work at all. Unfortunately, following the crowd is trendy right now. There is such a thing as having (and trying to use) too many marketing tools, which can take your eye off the target, and I think one of the biggest mistakes is too much automation.

Automation is a consistent offender, especially when it comes to customer service and social media. When people are seeking customer service, they want to interact with someone who understands their needs and point of view. They are not interested in a canned message, a fake conversation, or a process that spins aimlessly. Just as importantly, if they don’t have a customer service concern but happen to mention a brand positively on social media, they don’t want an automated message asking them what’s wrong.

Bots fail the basics of customer service/engagement in every respect aside from offering a timely response, and punctuality is only worth something if the response is actually useful. When was the last time a bot did something genuinely useful for you?

The bottom line is to be careful which and how many marketing tools you employ. If it de-humanizes the experience for your customers, then don’t use it.

Listening to the needs of the customer, empowering employees to solve problems, providing the tools and platforms for real, person-to-person engagement are things that you simply should not automate. Instead, rely on the humans who power your business to use the skills they have worked hard to develop. Learn how to improve customer experience by speaking with actual customers. Use social media to build relationships, not distribute spam. If you want to humanize your brand, there’s no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and, well, just being human.


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