By Published On: August 1, 2022

We generally like to focus on the positive around here, but we just couldn’t let this case of marketing automation gone wrong go without sharing it. Because as painful as it was, we all got a few laughs from it. Maybe you will too.

Marketing automation, as you know, is as ubiquitous as hipster-owned microbreweries the Pacific Northwest. We’ve all been exposed to it. And aside from the occasional “how do you like your new sneakers” email that comes the day before they arrive at your doorstep, it usually works okay.

Here’s the scoop: Beth had been thinking about buying a new car when, without much notice, her old car decided it needed some seriously expensive love to keep doing its job. Before deciding if she was going to drop a wad to fix it, she sprang into action to see if she could find the one she’d been eyeing.

And she did what most of us would do—she went to the website of a local dealership and started her search. What should have been a fairly straight-forward request turned into a comedy of marketing automation errors that, frankly, shouldn’t happen.

Below is the entire interaction with the names blocked out to protect the not-so-innocent, along with the Beth’s thoughts on the whole ordeal on the right in blue.



My favorite part: When the obviously automated message “we’ll look for one” was followed two weeks later with “it was my pleasure working with you…”. And nothing in between. If I was the salesperson in this situation, I’d be mortified.

The moral of the story: If you’re going to use marketing automation, do it right, or don’t do it at all. Oh, and for the love of all that’s good, please TEST IT REGULARLY!

About the Author: cat-tonic

Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
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Empathy for the invested: creative and emotion