Trust Your Marketing to a Team, Not a Machine

November 15th, 2018 by Jeanne Lobman

You’ve probably heard something like this before: “Automated marketing is bad for business!” But, actually, I’m not sure I 100% agree with that—I know, you’re surprised, right? A marketer telling you that machines and automation are a good thing? Well, hear me out. Artificial intelligence is growing at a rapid pace, and in the field of digital marketing where there is data OVERLOAD, you’d be silly not to take advantage of this technology. I’ll admit, I’m one of the silly ones that have, at times, been afraid to trust machines with my campaign performance. But, as AI has become smarter, the real value lies in combining the best that humans have to offer with the speed and data processing capabilities of machines to achieve total marketing domination.

What Can Technology Do for You?

SO. MUCH. DATA! Does it make your head spin?! Luckily, machines don’t get dizzy easily, and they are able to process many more data points than we could ever hope to. The more data and history a machine is able to analyze, the more it can learn to make decisions for the future—this is the machine learning aspect. CUE THE FEAR: THE MACHINES WILL TAKE OVER! Just kidding (but more on this later).

Machines were built to automate simple tasks. If it is a mundane task that is done over and over and over and… well, you get the point. These are the types of things that are perfect for machines to take on. Why pay someone for hours of work when a machine could do this in minimal time? This frees up your time to focus on the more important and creative work that you enjoy doing.

This technology is now more readily accessible than ever. Google, Facebook, HubSpot, Salesforce, and many other platforms invest heavily in machine learning so that you as a business or marketer don’t have to. Google alone has continued to release new features (such as Smart Bidding options and responsive ad types) that make it easier to set up, run, and manage a successful campaign. They’ll also typically release these features in beta and test them first to assure they have the intended impact before releasing them to the public, so you know that these tools are reliable.
31 questions to ask a marketing agency

What About People?

Wow, machines sound pretty amazing! What’s left for us mere humans to do? In marketing, the most important thing a human can do is to understand your business and marketing goals. With that understanding, marketers can devise strategies to reach your target audience and accomplish your goals. Marketers can deploy these strategies and understand the intentions behind them.

Humans have two other amazing attributes that give us an advantage over AI: we are innovative and we are creative. We need humans to drive the innovation to test new theories and ideas. Automated systems and machines can only produce the same results if provided the same data, and it’s our innovation that continues to drive machine learning. With machines, however, we are able to test new ideas faster and with better accuracy.

Because machines have gotten rid of all that boring work, we have more time to be creative and to apply that creativity to your marketing. Marketers can understand your business, what makes you unique, and why you love doing what you do, and they can assure that this message is prevalent throughout your marketing. They can come up with creative concepts and imagery that define your brand and make you stand out among your competitors. Could a machine do all that?

Human + Machine = WINNING

In other industries, we wouldn’t let the machines take over, so why would we do that in marketing? Think about it: autopilot technology has existed since 1912, yet we still have human pilots fly planes. Self-driving cars still have a human driver behind the wheel. Even machine assembly lines are often spot-checked for quality by human beings.

“We need to stop thinking of machines as rivals. Instead, we should see them as an opportunity to take our creativity to the next level,” says Ben Jones, Google’s global creative director.

So how can humans work together with machines? Let’s go through a few examples.

  1. Use human creativity to write ad copy and create compelling ad graphics, then use machines to make it more personalized. For example, Google’s responsive display ads allow us to put in a combination of assets that the algorithm integrates to be specific to the person it’s targeting, including the content the ad is shown next to and the size of the ad placement. Now that’s powerful! Otherwise, we’d have to create hundreds of combinations of ads to be able to show in all of the available inventory, and on top of that, we’d have to spend a lot of time organizing these ads.31 Questions Checklist square image
  2. Once a marketing strategy is created, marketers can set up campaigns and machines to manage it. However, it’s not a “set it and forget it” mentality. Machines can make decisions based on past performance and data, and they are capable of processing data, but they can only process the data provided. And while machines are getting better at reconciling offline and online data, humans should have the oversight to determine if campaigns are driving the bottom line.
  3. Marketers can work with businesses to define KPI targets, which are then fed into machines to optimize campaigns and work toward these goals. As mentioned above, it helps to have the human oversight to understand that marketing is doing what it is intended to do.

How Can an Agency Help?

Agencies have access to more technology, humans, and data. With larger marketing budgets, they are able to invest in some pretty powerful marketing automation tools, those that aren’t so readily (cough*inexpensive*cough) available. And as an important investment, they have likely researched and evaluated several platforms before choosing the one that would help them best achieve client goals most efficiently.

Agencies also have the benefit of working with many clients across various industries with different objectives, so they’ve been able to put the machine through many different scenarios to figure out what works best in each situation.

So rather than trusting your marketing to just a team or a just a machine, combine the power, speed, and intelligence of the machine with the creativity and empathy of a human team for a truly winning combination. The experts at Search Influence can help you integrate automated systems into your marketing strategy while providing creative feedback to ensure that your marketing campaign reaches its full potential. If you have any questions about implementing these tactics, start a conversation with one of our marketing strategists today.


Girl with AI