Marketing: poached, scrambled or fried?

Just as we’ve crowned ‘Content as King’ and accepted the need to have ‘social at core’ there’s yet another buzzword being bandied around. If you work in marketing, ‘Marketing Automation’ is something else you need to know about. Awesome. The good news is it’s not rocket science. And if you’ve ever made brunch for the family, you pretty much know how it works.

Marketing Automation is just marketing, automated.

Wikipedia tells us Marketing Automation refers to software platforms designed for marketing departments and organisations to automate repetitive tasks. That’s pretty much on the money. And if you read it ‘glass half-full’, it’s just marketing as we know it with the boring bits done by computers. Bottom line, it’s designed to make life easier. But what do you need to know to actually make life easier?

If you can cook brunch, you can ‘automate’.

Imagine you’ve got four people for brunch: bacon, eggs, toast, coffee and maybe a glass of juice or two. Nothing fancy. But you need to “automate” your thinking to get it right. Paul likes scrambled, James prefers poached and everyone else is easy-over. Toast is straightforward, but Jane needs gluten-free. Sally is a vegetarian, so no bacon there. Two OJs, four flat whites, one trim – and half a sugar in Paul’s.

It’s only four people. But it’s four personalised meals with three core variables, two options on bread, three on eggs and extra detail on the sugar and milk. That’s 288 possible combinations. But it’s just brunch. And you can probably do it in your sleep.

The secret to complexity is simplicity.

If you’re on brunch duty, you’ll probably simplify. Cut back the options on eggs, pop the sugar and juice out for people to help themselves and suddenly you’ve cut it down to 24 options and everyone still gets the meal they want.

People ‘automate’ every day. Apparently most of us can hold up to seven different things in our heads. After that we create groups, segment, systemize and automate.

Cars don’t drive people. People drive cars.

The problem with machines is that they do what you tell them to. Machines don’t do marketing, people do. Machines don’t think, people do. Machines don’t build strategies, understand customers and create propositions that sell. People do all the marketing they always have. All the automation does is make stuff easy. But if you want to build a machine – you need to think like a machine.

Break it down. And build it again. Just like Lego.

That’s what I reckon.

What do you think?

Michael GoldthorpeHunch