Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Robotic Marketing Is Artificially Intelligent.

So, the esteemed Bill Thompson complained about computer problems delaying his flight and that reminded me of a train debacle some years ago. SouthEastern trains, clearly knowing a thing or two about the internet, noted my comment and retweeted it and thereby amplified some bad publicity about themselves.

That and the fact that it was truncated suggests to me that this was an automated, "cost-efficient" communications initiative. Nobody read the comment. Nobody realised that it related to a hellish five hour stay trapped on a snow-bound train with no power, consequently flooding toilets and lamentable customer communication and service.

No, they just thought any mention of their name was good publicity and sought to have it reverberate across the air. There's a world of difference between monitoring what people are saying about you online and being part of the conversation - if that's what you really insist on being.

It can't be long before someone exploits this laziness by sending out all sorts of genuine complaints or, worse still, defamatory messages alongside a company name and waits for their bots to do the rest. I'm sure some company somewhere must already have suffered this fate so the first lesson is to get your bots to be triggered by a combination of your name and positive keywords rather than your name alone.

But the real lesson, of course, is not to outsource your marketing to machines. The internet isn't actually a computer network, it's a human network. Forget that at your peril.


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