In a world where people are busier than ever, automation is a welcome relief. Getting our emails sent, meetings scheduled and spreadsheets filled out automatically makes life much easier and frees us up to focus on the big picture tasks that we need to complete.

Unfortunately, automation isn’t always beneficial to marketing efforts. While it can certainly help marketers get more done in less time, marketing automation can also lead to results that harm a company’s reputation and suppress their results. Here are five examples:

1. Letting automation overtake the human element

Though most people expect companies to use some degree of automation, a human touch is still appreciated. Many companies drop the ball here when it comes to email newsletters. Take a cue from HubSpot – while many of their emails are sent from a company address, they are usually signed (and presumably written) by an actual person. In some cases, the person’s photograph appears alongside their name.

Email Example

 Here is an example of a personlized email from HubSpot.

2. Leaning too heavily on data

Data should always be an important component of how you make decisions related to your marketing. But don’t let it be the only thing that factors into the way you plan your campaigns and outreach.

PWC suggests going beyond market research by using a concept called social listening, which involves collecting feedback in real-time through social media channels. The numbers matter and you should use them to guide the majority of your efforts, but don’t be afraid to try something different or listen to what one individual customer or prospect is telling you.

3. Trying to use too many marketing automation tools at once

Between email, social media, CRM, and CMS, there are thousands of tools available that can be used in marketing or automation. Many companies get caught up in the hype of the latest and greatest fad, switching tools frequently or adding new ones to their stack just because something new is available.

This isn’t a recipe for success with marketing automation. You must decide which marketing automation tool you use based on your company’s specific needs and objective. Once you choose a tool, stick with it for at least 6 months, if not longer. Resist the urge to add a new tool if you don’t get the results you want after a week or two – successful marketing automation, like marketing itself, is a marathon, not a sprint.

4. Not having a plan

Deciding to use marketing automation because it seems like the right thing to do or because lots of competitors in your field are doing it is not a good approach. Marketing automation is too complex and dynamic to be used without clear, straightforward goals. It’s okay if you have multiple objectives, but make sure that you also have a plan to achieve these objectives and you understand what success will look like. Use the SMART goals system if you aren’t sure how to set objectives for marketing automation.

5. Not improving based on results

One of the worst things you can do in marketing automation is to repeat the same actions over and over. In today’s data-driven digital age, marketing automation tools give you more feedback and insight than ever. You should always be tracking, measuring, and analyzing the results of your campaigns. If a campaign was successful, plan to do more of what worked. If it wasn’t, figure out the problem and change it for future efforts. Whatever you do, don’t let your approach to marketing automation tools remain static over the long-term.

There are plenty of other mistakes you can make with marketing automation – these are just the five we see most frequently. Used properly, automation can be a powerful factor that exponentially improves the reach and effectiveness of your marketing.