SMX East Liveblog: Automation Does Not Equal Strategy

The alternate title to this session is “Or, a Tool Box Does Not a Cabinet Make.” Here’s a definition that gets to the heart of the point he’s making.

Marketing Automation: an enabling technology that allows us to remove people so we can communicate with people better.

Kevin’s going to speak on a bad habit: focusing on the new, shiny new technology and neglecting the strategy.

kevin ryan takes the stage at smx east 2014

Speaker: Kevin Ryan, CEO, Motivity Marketing (@KevinMRyan)

200 years ago, William Hazlitt was a pragmatist. Ryan thinks he was him in a former life, or something like it. And in 2012 a publication cheekily named Hazlitt the first blogger. He’d remind everyone to keep this in mind:


He thinks marketing automation is the best thing since sliced banana bread, but we need to step back before we adopt the push-button mentality. There’s a discussion in his upcoming book Taking Down Goliath that goes something like this:


1. Goliath is jealous

CMOs and technology: depending on the CMO or CTO you ask, one is going to be reporting to the other in the coming years.


Analysis of marketing analytics spending shows labor remains the single biggest budget item. While the cost of technology keeps dropping, the cost of people and intelligence keeps rising. No matter how good the technology gets, people still must work the levers.

2. Goliath is clumsy

Major media news outlets are turning to BuzzFeed style headlines and listicles. Everything looks like clickbait these days. It’s interesting to see the monster mashups that using data to create media creates when it’s not done with an intelligent person driving. He shows an article of Shia Labeouf being arrested and a Transformer movie ad next to it.

3. Goliath is dimwitted

His examples of automated messages from businesses go on.



K-Y Brand Couples Place campaign he rips apart:

Here’s an example of a good interaction with a company online. Kevin was picked up by this Lyft car:

Owly Images

He tweeted that pic and @lyft replied:


4. Goliath is inadequate

Leaving you with some final advice:

  • Data isn’t people
  • Automation isn’t strategy
  • Tech doesn’t replace strategy

Tech is cheap. Intelligence isn’t. Build your technology solutions around your people, and you’ll be more successful.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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