Automation doesn’t mean humans aren’t needed anymore.
It is easy to be misled by the word ‘automation’. Although it suggests that an efficient elf (perhaps related to those utilized at Christmas) is going to magically appear and take care of things, reality (aka common sense) leads us in a different direction.
Perhaps a better name would be ‘marketing semi-automation’. Admittedly an amazing tool, the platforms still require knowledgeable professionals to aid in the smooth operation. It’s not an admission of defeat or failure to want (or have) to search out those specialized in this area….outsourcing to, hiring, or training an expert in marketing automation will not only free you up to concentrate on your areas of strength, but will also ensure that you get the most out of your automation platform.
Of course, it is critical that you have procured the right platform for your business needs, or the rest is a moot point. There are many resources to assist in this procurement, and a great summation can be found in Marketing Automation Tools 2013: A Marketer’s Guide.
The efficiency boasted by these platforms can be woefully undermined if they are used incorrectly or inadequately. But used efficiently, automation can have positive (and more importantly, measurable) results.