Rage Against the Machine Learning

Yeah, you’ve seen the creepy robot dogs opening doors and getting knocked down only to get back up again (which I know I’ve seen in a movie scene starring a certain Austrian-born muscle dude who may have possibly run the state of California at one time) But the machines are really coming to disrupt the marketing profession.

As Google will be quick to point out, yes, a machine can more quickly identify shapes, categorize things, and not miss any. Much more so than our feeble human brains. But here comes the million dollar question — IF marketing organizations had more information about their customers, would it REALLY matter? SHOULD they have this info?Would they REALLY be smarter? Or would they still send out more e-mails, cram people into funnels and really use the technology to just do more stuff, more frequently and poorly. Because as I see it, that’s what is happening with machine learning.

The “promise” of machine language and marketing automation is SO lovely. Google says “As consumer expectations grow for more personalized, relevant, and assistive experiences, machine learning is becoming an invaluable tool to help meet those demands. It’s helping marketers create smarter customer segmentations, deliver more relevant creative campaigns, and measure performance more effectively. In fact, 85% of executives believe AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.”

Uh-huh. And e-mail was supposed to help us communicate faster, more efficiently and more clearly than other methods too. Did it? I’ll wait while you go sort through the thousands of spam e-mails you received just since you started reading this one.

So according to Google, the phases where Machine Learning can get involved in marketing are as follows:

Audience discovery — Identify your most valuable customers. This is always good, BUT you CANNOT be creepy about it and this goes from zero to creepy in about two seconds if not monitored correctly.

Creative—Quickly serve the right message for every moment. This assumes the customer wants to hear from the brand at these moments and this isn’t accurate. Remember, your brand is at risk EVERY time you decide to communicate with someone so sending out more garbage is NOT the path to great relationships.

Optimization—Find the right customers in key moments. Again, you’re peeking through a lens that maybe you shouldn’t have access to so this must be done VERY carefully.

Measurement—Unlock the true value of each step on the path to purchase. Uh-huh, do I even need to say it again? Caution, caution, extreme caution should be used here.

Here’s your compass to navigating machine learning — what business are you REALLY in? How you answer will determine how comfortable you’ll be with the machines.

I WANT TO SELL, SELL, SELL — Congratulations! You’re in the “there are no limits to how creepy I’m gonna get to stuff my audiences down my funnel and sell some stuff to them! I want to know everything they are doing, feed it into a machine and use that information to serve up more ads during their “moments.”

I WANT TO CREATE LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS — Now, we’re talking. THIS is actual marketing right here where we exhibit Empathy, Trust, Brand Confidence, etc. And this is where we truly care about the AUDIENCE’s needs first and we know when to not be invasive, creepy and back off and let them have their “moments” ….without us.

You know, all comms technology was supposed to make things easier — the telephone, the TV, fax machines, computers and the Internet, e-mail, text messages — and NONE of it has worked this way. Mainly because aggressive marketing organizations are waiting right there to use every new tool to bother, annoy and generally creep out the audiences.

There is a much better way.

RobertsonComm helps our clients throw away their funnels and create powerful magnets to attract audiences, exhibit real empathy, not snoop on their data and their lives because that is NOT the way to win friends and influence people. New technologies like machine learning is no substitute for the real stuff that we do on a daily basis out there. …And spoiler alert — it never will be.