The Problem with Marketing Automation…
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The Problem with Marketing Automation…

(imitates robot sounds) – Hi there. Now, I know we are entering
the age of automation with the AI and robotics
that are coming out. All the industries out there
will be disrupted by this and the marketing space
has actually been exposed to automation long time ago. But today, I wanna just go over with you what I think is wrong with automation. (upbeat music) Hey there and welcome
back to another video of, teaching
you the data-driven way of digital marketing. My name is Julian, and
today we wanna talk about what is wrong with automation? Now, don’t get me wrong. I am huge automation fan,
especially with email automation, everything that made it possible to scale the businesses that we have in terms of serving people
like you out there on YouTube or on different other channels is made possible by automation. I could not do it alone,
but it’s so much easier with all these tools that are out there. Now, I had my fair share
of using automation tools, everything from setting up a
website to sending out emails, but also in the context
of the underlying data that we are always try to analyze. We can use a lot of automation to bring insights to our organizations, and these tools are definitely useful. But I’m also a little bit
wary of how automation changes our work and why it
might not be such a good idea to automize everything right away. So today I want to give you my thoughts on what is wrong with automation. So the first point here
is that they go wrong. All the time, they go wrong. Now, if you think about automation, those are little programs,
maybe, or little scripts that you might have written
or put it into a system that actually takes up different variables and then sends certain
things out automatically or does a task automatically for you. Now, these underlying data
points, the underlying variables, are actually interchangeable. That’s why they’re called variables. Now, sometimes these
variables change too much or the underlying system changes too much, so your automation breaks. And that happens all the time if they are not set up robustly. So if you think of Google Tag Manager, we have a lot of data
going into such a system and then we deploy our
tracking automatically. We don’t have to build that
into the system ourselves and think about the automation
in that sense anymore. And therefore, oftentimes,
automation and tracking actually breaks because
the underlying databases, maybe your website, changes
and nobody has thought about what we need to change and
update the tracking for. Now, I always encounter
this on a weekly basis. I get emails from people
who tried to download one or the other tracking
template that I put out there, and our automation just goes wrong. The data that is flowing into the system sometimes screws up and
it’s really hard to find the different little download
links and what went wrong and that’s why sometimes I
just resort to going back and sending that email out manually, which is definitely not
the point of automation. But there’s definitely
a lot that can go wrong. Now, how can you circumvent that? You need to do a lot of testing. So before you send out any
kind of new email automation, you need to be testing,
testing, testing this before it actually goes live. The same is true for
tracking or when to send out a dashboard that you have scheduled in your dashboard system. It needs to be always looked at and tested before it goes out to the end customer. So always testing, testing,
testing, is one of the things that I would definitely recommend when working with automations. Which brings us to our second point. You actually need to maintain
it and do a regular checkup. That’s true for tracking, that’s true for dashboards out there, that’s true for email automation, and all the other tools that you set up to actually make your work easier. But if you don’t look at them anymore, you might not see the immediate
result on the daily basis. So a perfect example of
this is actually tracking. When we set up Google Tag Manager, we think, “Oh, this is
set it and forget it.” But our website changes, the
technologies is changing, all the time. The tools that we install
change all the time. And sometimes the tracking can’t keep up, and suddenly spits out different data from what we had before, and if you don’t do regular
analysis on our data, we might not see the
problem in our automation. So scheduling regular
maintenance and checkup points where you look at these
different tracking techniques saying, “Okay, do I still need this? “Is this still working correctly? “And should I still be using this?” is very important in terms
of automizing a process and tracking, for that matter, as well. Which brings me to the next point is what is wrong with automation’s really, sometimes it’s not worth
the effort or the time. Now, think about not only the set-up time, so if you use, buy a tool
or you ask your developer to automize some process that
somebody was doing manually, is it really worth it,
and what are the things that could go wrong in
terms of later maintenance or the checkup that you need to do or the things that could break down? What are the underlying variables that actually feed into that, and how often do you
change these variables? And how often, then, you
need to maintain and checkup on your automation that you put in place. So sometimes I think it’s
not really worth the time and the effort. Obviously, I’m a huge tech
geek and I always look at little scripts and little things that could make things
easier, but I could definitely spend my time on more productive things. So sometimes I think, okay,
if I can just put this into a checklist, for example, and go through it every week
and not forget about it, that will also force me to
go through it and maintain what is maybe changing in the process and the underlying variables, so I’ll be able to be more
flexible with my process with a human involved, really,
rather than spending time on automizing this process. Which brings us to our last point. Sometimes it’s just
better to do it yourself. Now, what I mean by this, I
have tons of clients who say, “Hey, can you automize
this report for me?” I think reporting and insights,
if you use them correctly, you can definitely make
use of automized reports, go in and look at it and
say, okay, here is something that’s changed, and we
need to look at this in a certain context and
dig deeper into the data. That makes totally sense, but some people are so new to data they don’t really
understand the context of it and they want to get
insights of the later, heavily edited report that
maybe comes out automized. They can’t really interact with that data, and have a lot of questions. So what I would recommend for people who are starting out with data is actually pull up a spreadsheet and put the data in yourself. That’s how you will notice
and ask yourself questions automatically and say, “How
does this number actually “come together, and why
has this gone up or down?” And that’s when you will
start asking questions which we actually want as analysts and then go into your tracking systems, and maybe do your own
analysis, find out more stuff, and maybe find other tracking mistakes that you have in the system,
and this will give you a lot of awareness. Now, at the beginning, I think
there is a wonderful step to get familiar with the data that you actually have available. Later on, you can go to the
next step and say, okay, I want to automize this report. But going from something
that you don’t know about to a whole automized report
that you may not be able to trust that data as a whole
is really, really hard to do and will bring more questions
than the before process. So sometimes it’s just
better to do it yourself. All right, so these are my thoughts on why and what can go wrong with automations. Now, don’t get me wrong,
I still have tons of tool that automize my processes here. I love to hear from you. If this video resonated with you, leave a comment down below. And if you like this video,
then give us a thumbs up and also subscribe to our
channel right over there because we’ll bring you new
videos just like this one, every week. Now, my name is Julian. Till next time.

About Ralph Robinson

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7 thoughts on “The Problem with Marketing Automation…

  1. No doubt you provide so wonderful insight regarding digital marketing and that's the reason I am your most active follower (I believe), I watch your all videos but today I would like to comment that I have never done it before is that, I like your smile…
    and the way you deliver the information that's really impressive…

    " ……….To another video of measure school dot com teaching you the data driven way of digital marketing "

    thank you….

  2. Thanks, Julian this is a great topic. I'd like to add my experience on this issue, hope this can help.
    One of the main reasons for complex implementations to constantly fail, is the lack of a proper blueprint for the implementation, It is crazy however can you imagine building a tower without an actual blueprint? How will multiple contractors work? what would be the margin of error?
    OR can you imagine trying to fix a water leakage for pipes under the ground without a blueprint? (dig the whole ground)

    It is crazy for me to imagine an actual implementation without a blueprint, yet it is common everywhere I go.
    By having a clear blueprint for your implementation – updated regularly, this will allow you or your team to understand the implication of your actions, and if something went wrong you can easily track it back.

    I personally build two types of blueprints, a) blueprint as per design: this is what I provide to my customer prior to starting the implementation, b) Blueprint as built this is a document I provide to the user when handing over the project.

    The second tool that I use to keep me up-to-date in complex environment is Google Analytics Alerts, this is a priceless tool and can help you significantly if managed correctly, for example, you may set an alert for specific page error, so once an error appears for example 404 page > 10 then you will be notified. don't set it to small so you will not receive allot of false alerts.

    Third and that is the most important element in my opinion, "KEEP IT SIMPLE" I love simple implementations that work, remember "everything is simple until you make it complicated" I see a lot of complex implementations nowadays – I can care less for what the trend of market saying, if it doesn't make business sense then why adding it? Most of the people do things by mimicking what they hear or see and not because they need it. the following video is a great to watch

    All the best.

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