Automation for humans

What's all this noise…? It’s marketing automation, working for you. I know, that's quite the name, but let's pause for a moment on the word 'Automation'.

Wikipedia, Chapter 2, Verse 32:

“Automation is the use of mechanical or electronic devices to perform a series of operations in a planned sequence, without human contact. Automation frees people, among other things, from performing routine and repetitive tasks, as these are replaced by independent technological means."

The first part is simple: Machines create things without human involvement. But the second part is critical (!) for us: Automation frees people from routine and repetitive tasks. Yes! That's the core of automation.

Another crucial point we must understand is that humans allow machines to perform only what they've been taught (with no room for errors), from installing a screw to building a plane. To teach something, you must know precisely what you want and how to do it, without making mistakes.

So, how can you achieve this?
Now that we understand what automation means, before we dive into practice, let's explore the holy trinity:

Trigger: What initiates each process or action?

Action: What occurs after the trigger is activated?

Conditions (If, then): When a client does X, Y activates.

This triangle will guide us in every automation we build. But how do we start?

Take some time off. Head to your vacation cabin in the mountains with a whiskey bottle. Open a notebook or laptop and outline all your business processes. What processes are we looking for? Any process, in any department, meets these two conditions:

1. Processes that repeat themselves – as mentioned in Wikipedia.

2. Processes where you know each step precisely.

Automation is suitable for every department: examples include Accounting (sending invoices to clients), Collections (sending debt reminders), Administration (service/subscription renewals), and Customer Care (anniversaries, birthdays, special days). For advanced users, there's lead nurturing and remarketing.

After mapping out the processes, let's break them down.
What's the purpose of each process? How does it affect clients or leads?

Take the collection example: A deal is signed, and we've delivered. But when it's time to pay, no one responds. How do we receive payment without hassle?

Trigger: Initiated by a delay of X days from the collection date.

Step 1: Send an email reminder about the owed payment, including the amount and schedule.

Condition 1: If there's no email response within 48 hours,

Send an SMS notification regarding the debt.

Condition 2: If the email is opened/responded to within 48 hours, skip the SMS step.

Condition 3: After 3 business days, the system checks if the debt is paid.

If paid, the process ends.

If not paid, send an email and SMS alert about the pending payment.

This process is just a glimpse into automation's potential complexities, and the idea of how to create one.

How do you talk to machines?

(‘Her’ is a fantastic movie, but that's not what we're discussing here).

First and foremost, automation is technology that relies on tools allowing us to "teach" machines processes and principles. There's a wide range of learning automation tools, which are simpler, more efficient, and cheaper than before. It's a long-term investment.

If we revisit Wikipedia, automation is meant to free us from repetitive actions (has anyone seen Sisyphus?). It grants us more time and resources to manage other tasks, develop our business, and pursue our vision.

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