Whether you watched the first debut of the Dinobots in the original series or the whole of Transformers 4, both tell a story of creations going out of control. And likewise, the same can happen if you put too much faith in marketing automation. Like any part of your lead generation campaign, your marketing tools are still your responsibility and should remain completely under your control.
In the original series, the Dinobots were actually the first Autobots ever to be built on Earth. Their creation was inspired after Wheeljack and Ratched discovered dinosaur bones in a cave. But as soon as they were activated, they went wild and had to be decommissioned until they could discover a means to put them under control.
A strangely similar plot occurs somewhere in the movie with just one big difference. Instead of the Dinobots, it is Galvatron that becomes the creation in a new line of human-made Transformers. Literally Megatron 2.0, his rebirth wreaks additional havoc all the way to the film’s conclusion.
Obvious moral of the story: Giving too much control of anything to a machine always ends up with the machine controlling you. Forget the evil A.I. There are many real-life instances where marketing automation can turn on and inflict serious damage to your business:
Corrupt data quality
When the scientists created Galvatron, they used Megatron’s former head as a starting point to extract raw data for the OS and other programs necessary. Apparently these people have no scruples about the sources of their data.
Then again, the same can be said of some marketers. Yes some database platforms can improve the process by digitizing the requirements defining qualified sales leads. Still, how long can you keep your back turned without making sure those requirements stay in line with a changing target market?
Not to mention things like title, industry, and basic contact information won’t be enough to land you in the meeting room. In the end, a machine is just a machine. It doesn’t’ so much ‘tell you’ what a prospect is looking for as it only records the information a prospect just leaves lying around on the internet.
Don’t just base your campaign’s data on a loose guide or worse (copied mined from an obscure source). You acquired it to make it better and make it more distinct (such as including information from your own conversations with the prospect).
All hype but little testing
Whether you got sold on an automated process or you’re the one doing the selling, this kind of story is still a bad ending for both. Worst of all, technology is often blamed once poor results come in after the first run. Don’t just tear the machine down if you have no intention of making any real drastic changes after it’s been built up again.
The arrival of technology should come with the intention of creating habits that support its use. Set standards for the marketers as much as their automated processes. Otherwise, you’d just be wasting money and time doing the same thing but expecting different results. (Any wonder why they call that insanity?)
Complete lack of control
If malevolent technology will inspire anything, it’s the fear of being less advanced and having zero control. It’s like creating your own Mona Lisa but the painting comes to life and starts eating everyone’s souls.
How many marketers are still unaware of how the increasing advances in data mining are raising a lot of privacy concerns? One look at Facebook’s recent scandal and you’ll see just how serious the problem is becoming. You can do your part by exercising sterner controls and policies over how technology is being used to acquire information from prospects and defining ethical boundaries.
In spite of all this, marketing automation does have its benefits and it improve the entire industry. But ironically, such improvements can only be realized if you don’t automate it too much. Learn to exercise manual control before the machine ends up controlling you!