Would you rather sit down for a cup of coffee with Iron Man or Terminator? Boiled down, this is essentially the current digital marketing dilemma. Allow me to explain.
If you Google “digital marketing systems,” tech buzzwords will scatter across your screen: analytics, data-driven, integration, segmentation. But most common today is the proudly displayed “automation”. Yes, we all dream of a future in which our metres-long list of monotonous tasks is swept into an automated system.
This machine will do it all: door knocking, cold calling, blog writing, client prospecting, and will even pour cream into your morning coffee.
Sounds great, right?
Consider self-driving cars. I would love to close my eyes and count sheep all the way from Brisbane to Sydney. But could I? The first trip would surely evoke a spectrum of feelings, starting with novelty and possibility, but concern and unease are bound to follow. Could I fall fast asleep, or would I shift anxiously with each slight bump and turn? I have a hard time trusting human drivers; am I prepared to trust a robot?
I have no doubt that self-driving cars will successfully manage driving risks eventually, but we have one final question to consider: do we really want to give up driving?
It’s fun to push the pedal and feel my pulse accelerate with the car. I enjoy the tacky grip of my steering wheel through the force of a sharp turn. I like driving. If I need a break, I can always switch on cruise control and relax, but I prefer controlling the car, instead of letting it control me.
If this idea resonates with you, consider what this means in terms of real estate marketing.
Your database is your baby, and arguably your greatest asset. It is the culmination of your potential, current and past clients. It needs your care and protection. Are you comfortable handing over years of relationships to an automated system? Do you trust that it will care for and protect the connections you’ve nurtured throughout your career as well as you? I doubt it.
It’s a challenge to juggle the three main elements of marketing while preserving your relationships. You need to simultaneously expand your audience, strengthen your connections and identify qualified leads. There are few systems in the market that can claim to manage all three.
Yet, this is the easy part. The real problem is balancing robotic precision with a human touch. Machines are great at identifying trends or sorting data, but they are terrible at building relationships. Have doubts? Consider Siri. You might trust her enough to ask for directions, but I doubt you will send her a Christmas card.
Clients want human interaction, not the cold exchange of an automated bot. They will never replicate your personality, intuition or charm, and your clients can see the difference. To engage your contacts effectively, you need to connect with them on a level that machines will never match. Terminator may be an effective bodyguard, but Iron Man will always be a better friend.
We believe there is no system, no machine and no AI that knows your clients and your brand better than you. We believe your experience, insight and personality must be the driving force behind your marketing, and you should never take a back seat to a robot in your own efforts. That’s why our solutions ensure that our clients control their marketing, and humans design every campaign.
Understand, this is not a condemnation of automation. Rather, it’s recognising automation’s inherent limitations. We know automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence are all essential for any business hoping to succeed today.
Our fundamental disagreement lies in how automation should be used. Automated systems should simplify your workload to allow for more personal interaction with clients, not replace them. We will continue utilising and developing powerful automatic features that will simplify your marketing and deliver greater results.