Marketing automation is the big buzz in the corporate sales and marketing world right now.  Be it B2B or B2C, a majority of medium and enterprise companies are implementing it to one degree or another while the rest struggle at times to understand the urgency.

The Hurrican Effect

There’s a sort of “hurricane evacuation” effect at play here. The big storm was supposed to be big data – it was touted to be a revolution. However, its proponents over promised and under delivered and thus, left a lot of marketing and sales C-suites wondering if it was all a false alarm. Now we have marketing AI and automation being touted as Viagra for lead gen and retention. There may be some understandable doubt out there in the person behind the curtain.

Consider however, that the reason big data disappointed a lot of marketing and sales execs was because it essentially a raw resource. Can you really mine big data to determine when a lead is ready to buy or just as importantly, when an established account is considering a competitor’s solution? The simple answer is yes.

This is BIG

The optimum word in big data is “big.” It’s a river of information that can provide incredible fodder for insight if you filter the data effectively.  Notice I said “fodder for insight?” Even with today’s improved applications for marketing automation, raw data is indigestible without insight on the side.

In fact, MarketingCharts.com has an interesting survey posted this week where the majority of decision makers felt human insight was far more valuable than automation. That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise when you consider they are asking the humans and not the machines for their opinion! And that really is the point. You can’t ask AI for an opinion because they don’t have that capability yet – thank god.

Automation and AI are Tools

Automation and AI are tools which you use to better your relationships with real humans! AI can indeed distil the firehose of big data into information you can act on, but it can’t give you an opinion or a gut check. As with any technology, it’s not important what it does! It’s important what you do with it!