Written by Sam Yadegar on Feb 15 , 2022

Automation is everywhere these days — including in the digital marketing sphere. But these tools simply can’t compete with the “human touch.” 

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why personalized management is key to marketing success
  • How the “set it and forget it” model falls short
  • The benefits of a hands-on approach to your strategy
  • How too much automated marketing can affect your budget

Most experienced marketers have come across some type of automated software. 

If you have, then you already know how they’re touted as being the end-all-be-all tools your marketing program needs. 

Leveraging customer relationship management (CRM) tools like Salesforce and HubSpot can be beneficial for things like syncing your data, keeping your funnel up to date, and creating impactful workflows.

The latter platform explains that “marketing automation uses software to automate monotonous marketing work.”

But these tools are only as good as the people on your team — or your agency — who manage them. On their own, automated marketing tactics can only go so far. 

automated marketing downsides: AI

Software and machine learning still can’t compete with the human brain. (Image via Unsplash)

Why marketers leverage automated tools

Many people take advantage of automated marketing tools because they think it’s the best option for their budgets, bandwidth, or expertise level.

But, the fact is, the “set it and forget it” marketing model often leaves you with unoptimized campaigns and less ROI than you deserve. Plus, you miss out on the opportunity to create a personalized marketing experience. 

A hands-on approach to digital marketing enables you to create more targeted campaigns, allocate your ad spend more efficiently, and feel confident that you’re putting your efforts where they matter most — and make the most impact.

How a hands-on approach benefits digital marketing

Despite the artificial intelligence (AI) space becoming more refined, software and machine learning (ML) still can’t compete with the human brain. That’s because, as Forbes explains, AI currently can’t do things like:

  • Feel emotion
  • Conceptualize the unknown
  • Be creative
  • Have empathy or an affinity for discovery

Of course, automating certain repetitive or technical tasks can save you time, which is a great benefit. But a well-rounded, high-performing marketing plan has a human-centered approach at its core.

Top reasons to work with an experienced marketing team

When you work with an in-house or agency team, you have access to the skills and experience of an expert crew. Working with a group of marketing professionals means less time onboarding and more time brainstorming, testing, iterating, and launching.

After all, the aim of marketing is to foster connection — connecting products or services with people who can benefit from them. And robots simply can’t create that connection like a human can. 

It’s also worth noting that there are strategies, ad types, and platforms that are more successful for some brands than others. You don’t want to waste time and money on an idea that worked great for one business type but won’t work for yours. 

Luckily, a hands-on agency that takes time to understand your ethos and mission can work to prevent this by building a strategy that fits your unique company and goals.

Communication enhances digital marketing

Outside of a support team, you can’t exactly “communicate” to troubleshoot with automated software programs. If there’s an issue, bug, or problem you can’t quickly solve, you may end up spending a significant amount of time seeking out a solution.

When your digital marketing team has a solid communication plan in place, you can avoid things like misaligned expectations and unnecessary or doubled-up efforts. A quick team sync can clear up any issues and keep everyone on the same page.

Sticking with automated tools means working with what you have and perhaps being forced into extended A/B testing to see what works. On the other hand, actual marketers can do immediate deep-dives to understand what needs to happen and when. 

Automated marketing tools run per your specifications. However, experienced marketers can also pinpoint untapped or underserved facets of your target audience. This is an easy way to expand your personas and grow your reach.

automated marketing: a hands-on team

Professional marketers may be able to see something you’re overlooking that could quickly take your efforts to the next level. (Image via Rawpixel)

A hands-on team leads to omni-channel success

More personalized attention also means more hands-on experience dealing with omni-channel marketing. This is the use of multiple communication channels to connect with your audience. 

As a more personalized experience, omni-channel marketing is important now to get ahead of your competition. But it’s difficult to manage through automation alone. 

That’s because multiple channels means multiple programs, user experiences, and platforms that may not easily sync with one another. Being able to manage these efforts simultaneously takes a human touch. 

Human experience plays a big part here. Professional marketers may be able to see something you’re overlooking that could quickly take your efforts to the next level.

For example, they may find a significant portion of your target audience is on a specific social platform, and suggest creating more organic or paid content there.

Marketing automation can be a great option for increasing productivity and efficiency. It can allow you to make the most of your resources, streamline your workflow, and eliminate repetitive busy work. But just because technology advances, that doesn’t mean real people become obsolete.

Pro tip: Think of marketing automation like a plane’s autopilot. It’s helpful and, when used correctly, can make things run more smoothly. However, planes still need pilots. Even automation experts focus on the tech as a tool for pros to use, not a replacement for them.

A personalized approach helps you stay within budget

If you’ve ever blown through your quarterly budget well before the third month’s end, you know staying on top of spend is paramount. 

Again, human experience matters here. A person who knows your goals can dig into your budget allotment and see if any changes need to be made, whether that means more or less spend, before it’s too late. 

Plus, eliminating unproductive marketing efforts saves you time when getting ahead of competitors is a matter of fast action.

The takeaway

Automated marketing probably won’t go away anytime soon. The need for real-life experience, though, stands the test of time. 

After all, humans understand things like connection and nuance in a way that AI just can’t. And these skills translate to all facets of your business, including your digital marketing.

As time goes on, we predict marketing teams and agencies made up of real people will remain in demand for business looking to stay ahead of the curve and foster new creative ideas for their industry.

This post has been updated and was originally published in October 2020.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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