The best part of my day is easily the hour or so I spend on social media, touching base with customers and fellow industry experts on what’s going on in the wide, wonderful world of marketing, printing and taking your business off the web and out into real life. And do you know what I’ve learned? That today’s marketers have been bitten by the automation bug.

Virtual reality is plagued with marketing bots, and their presence in offline reality is starting to become a real problem.

botfly

No, not that kind of bot.

What’s the Problem with Bots?

When automation for social media was first invented, marketers thought it was the coolest thing ever. They could send out automated direct messages, have bots trolling the web for mentions of their company/industry and generally maximize their reach with a minimum of effort. Great idea, right?

Sure it is…until you remember that social media was never truly meant to be a marketing medium. Building a reputation for your company in the wide world of cyber-socializing is generally considered a qualitative rather than a quantitative endeavor. It’s a chance for you to reach your customers on a more personal level.

While customers were willing to let businesses use this new medium to answer their questions and connect with them one-

girl on computer

THAT kind of bot.

on-one, they were un-amused when companies started spamming their inboxes, Facebook walls and Twitter timelines. Having spent most of my morning wading through bot after bot, I can see where they’re coming from.

The problem is, bots take the personal touch out of marketing. By using what I like to call a plug and chug technology across the board marketers are effectively telling John Q. Public that who he is as a person doesn’t matter. He’s going to hear the exact same message in the exact same way as everyone else…whether he likes it or not.

Avoiding Botting IRL

Botting on the web is an obvious problem. A software steps up, provides the tools, marketers jump on it like a starving pool of piranhas. But you can’t really bot in real life, can you?

Actually, you can-and many direct mail marketing experts do. To understand how this works, and how to avoid it, let’s trace back to plug and chug marketing. In this case, we’re talking about consistently sending a single message out to every single member of your clientele.

Digital printing and variable data have taken all of the excuses out of taking a single marketing message and sending it out to your entire mailing list, regardless of which aspect of your business they’ve expressed their interest in. You have the capability to divide your clientele into subgroups, which can then be reached on a personalized level based on their current relationship with your company.

You have the tools at your fingertips to build a personal relationship with your customers through a tailored, carefully structured direct mail marketing campaign. Why are you wasting that capability by botting away?

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