MMO 5: Balancing automation and humanisation

Our last few emails have discussed the centralisation vs. decentralisation aspects of marketing operations. We now turn to the other axis: automation vs. humanisation.

Automation focuses on harnessing marketing technology to provide competitive advantage. Coupled with centralisation, it delivers efficiencies: cheaper, more consistent customer experiences, and better use of data. When associated with decentralisation, you can deliver innovation, with processes and tools optimised for local needs.

However, we all know that automation is not everything. Chatbots do not necessarily deliver a great customer experience in and of themselves. Used right, they can enhance the customer experience—but only when their use is tempered with human input.

Even in B2B, buying decisions are not solely driven by logic. Impulse plays a big part in the B2B buying cycle, but in different ways at different stages. Emotional connections matter, and bots and other bits of technology cannot build those relationships. They happen between people.

The opposite end of the spectrum from automation is humanisation. When coupled with centralising, you get a focus on a clear brand, mission and values. Decentralisation and humanisation results in a focus on individual customers, and the development of authenticity. It therefore allows marketing operations teams to build relationships with customers.

As with the centralisation vs. decentralisation debate, neither end of the spectrum is perfect. The key is to find the balance between using technology to drive efficiencies, and providing that human input to build connections and relationships with customers.

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