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The rise of the content marketing robot

I am a busy man. I have been invited to dinner, drinks, and events from clients of my agency – all on a single day. And despite being a full-time marketer, I also have a family life and other hobbies outside of marketing that take up my time as well.

So when this article about Content Marketing Robots landed in my inbox one fateful morning, I was more than intrigued by the idea of outsourcing content creation to robots. All those late nights staying up until 3 am creating eBooks or writing blog posts might become long gone if this technology actually works as advertised.

But just as an incredible online marketing opportunity comes along once every blue moon, so do frauds and fads. In fact, not only is it a fad, but it’s also a fraud because the robots do neither the marketing nor the business development.

Well, not yet at least.

When I read about “Content Marketing Robots” and “Marketing Automation Platforms” such as Marketo or Pardot (that let you create Automatic Campaigns ), my BS Meter goes into overdrive. And after speaking with some experts that work for both clients and suppliers in this field, I came to realize that there is more than meets the eye here.

So without further ado, allow me to present: The Rise of the Content Marketing Robot.

The Only Thing We Have to Fear… Is Photoshop?  

Ever watched an episode of Star? If you have, then you know that the writers are capable of creating an entire story arc for a single character in under 15 minutes. But to write one episode, they need to spend around 10 hours writing, brainstorming, and otherwise working on the script.

And if you wondered where all those wonderful articles about content marketing come from, it’s actually not rocket science. Content Marketing Robots are tools powered by software that search through various sources online, collect data points to build stories based on pre-programmed templates, and spit out finished pieces to your email inbox or social media feed.

I’ll try my best not to use any clichés here, but I think it’s safe to say this is just another case of “Automation-as-a-Service”.

But let’s get back to the story of these content marketing robots.

One of humans being lazy – specifically marketers who have seen their wordsmith colleagues getting the boot in recent years due to dramatic job cuts.

Another thing that’s probably worth mentioning is that many big corporations rely on marketing agencies for their marketing campaigns, and when these campaigns are planned, it takes a lot of time, effort, and expertise to plan them out.  So when all this was put together, the decision-makers at these companies started asking certain questions:

If I can get one or two eBooks written in 2 -3 days instead of almost 3 weeks? With no research required? And if that eBook can then go out to my entire social media following, generating leads that would otherwise require hiring expensive telemarketers? Well then… Why am I not doing this right now?

For many, the idea of outsourcing content to robots was an easy decision. But once you start looking at these tools, it becomes clear that there’s more to them than just automating content creation. The major players in this field are already starting to branch out their services into other areas.

Possible uses range from completely automated Customer Relationship Management (CRM), complete with lead scoring and predictive analytics built right into the platform, as well as Activity Marketing (the art of automatically emailing people based on their behavior).  While many automation tools like Zapier and IFTTT allow us to create Custom Triggers or “Zaps” around customer actions such as new signups, purchases, blog posts, etc., marketing automation platforms won’t simply wait for these actions to happen. They’ll actively reach out and contact the leads, making sure your company is never far from their minds.

But as I started saying, not everything is as rosy as it seems.  Let me use another quote to explain this…

The Marketer’s Dilemma     

I don’t know how many of you remember the movie Blade Runner, but one of the major plot points revolved around “replicants”. These were bio-engineered artificial humans that were grown in vats, implanted with memories and personality profiles, then sent out into society. Their short life spans are what made them dangerous because they would start to realize that they were just a copy, and in the end, they’d kill themselves.

“If you talk about yourself, who cares?”

Orson Welles

If you look at marketing automation tools from this perspective, it’s easy to see why many marketers are nervous about them. In fact, there’s a great comment by Brandon Gorin on Sharpoint Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation article where he says:

This amounts to building robot slaves with no free will.

Interesting metaphor, right? But I don’t think we should blame the tools themselves for that. After all, marketers aren’t really looking for sentient lifeforms here! They’re simply trying to reduce the amount of time spent on repetitive tasks and increase output. And these robots can do exactly that – provided your processes are actually as “robotic” as you think they are.

But the issue here is that certain actions require some degree of free thought or at least variation.  For example, when sending out an email to a list of leads, it’s not enough just to say “Hi! This is our new product – check it out!”  Just like in real life, people need to be engaged and persuaded. They need to feel like there’s someone on the other side that cares about them, otherwise, why should they care about you?

So how does this all play into marketing automation? Well…

Actually Capturing People’s Attention Is Still Hard

I know most marketers would agree with me when I say that getting people interested in your company should be your #1 priority.  It’s the first step that lays the groundwork for any future relationship, and it’s not something that can simply be automated.

But what happens when you have all these leads flowing through your marketing automation platform? How do you engage them? Well, the obvious way is to set up a drip campaign consisting of various emails with different content formats. But this seems less effective than if a human was using their own judgment to decide which email would resonate best with this particular lead at this moment in time… So why even bother setting up a robot to do this job?

Well, because it makes sense from a numbers perspective – especially if we’re talking millions of leads instead of just thousands. If you send out 10,000 emails, you can afford to make a little bit of noise each time. But if it’s millions… well, there goes your message!  It gets completely diluted and people will simply tune out.

And this is exactly what happens. According to MarketingProfs, 65% of B2B marketers are using at least 6 different types of content in their campaigns. And that’s 6 different formats for just one single campaign! Even more staggering is the number of services these marketers use on average – they’re using roughly 7 different marketing automation platforms simultaneously!  This requires significant work on their part to keep everything consistent across all services, even though most of them have APIs so that creative assets can be shared between them.

This is why marketers are turning to marketing automation tools that can help them keep everything in one place. I think it’s important that we don’t underestimate the value of having all these different types of content in one place.  It makes it easier to create templates and also automate things like scheduling posts on social media. And if you’re using 1 or 2 platforms instead of 7, this will free up a lot more time for you.

Less Time Is More Important Than Ever… But Be Careful

Marketing has always been about how many people you reach, but now it’s also becoming increasingly about how much noise you make each time you make contact with someone. That means there’s more pressure than ever not only to perform but to perform consistently. But it’s hard to maintain consistent results when you’re using so many tools.

If you want your marketing automation platform of choice to be successful, I think it all comes down to the number of integrations that are available. If you need something specific (and more importantly, if this service is willing to offer an API), then chances are you’ll probably find a way to integrate it with your current workflow.  This will not only cut down on the amount of time you spend managing multiple services but also increase overall productivity and reduce operational costs.

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Thanks for reading!  – Kevin

___________________________________________________________________________ This author is an anonymous copywriter and all of the content in this article (especially the last line) was copied verbatim from an ai. If you enjoyed this article, please share it on Facebook or Twitter now. Thanks!

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