The only thing more amazing than the things for which we fall is the length of time for which we continue to fall for them. Given the popularity of inbound marketing and marketing automation, I’d have imaged them to be relatively new phenomena. I’d have been wrong. Case in point: “Where Marketing is Going … in 2013 and Beyond“:

Modern marketers have more data available at their fingertips than ever before in history. And marketing automation allows them to manage that data into actionable insights. No longer is there any question around what the return on their marketing spend is and how it contributes to driving revenue, there are now hard metrics to report.

What, precisely, is actionable intelligence? Is data actionable? Without meaningful analysis it’s … well … data. Whatever a given data set means to you, it’s not likely to mean the same thing to me. And what action should be taken? It’s a good idea to know what content people are consuming so messages can be tailored most effectively. But there comes a point at which the enamored start using tails in futile attempts to wag dogs.

This stuff is typically “discovered” by companies that don’t understand marketing or the meaningful establishment of brands. It’s typically discovered by the sales folks in those companies. By the same logic that compels them to load their websites with labyrinthine numbers of un-navigable pages, they jump to one of two bruising contusions: (1) “This thing will make more sales for me!” or (2) “This thing will make sales easier for me!”

After they decide the Lone Ranger wasn’t the only one with a silver bullet, they conclude that all of this automated magic — sales-ready leadsleads they ownlead scoring, et al. — are legitimate grounds for re-jiggering their business models. Rather than using the actionable data they’ve been collecting to help better understand prospect behavior and market predilections — then using it to establish relationships person-to-person — they confuse means and ends by subjugating content and accessibility to an effort to generate even more actionable data. It’s akin to assuming that every nibble is the exact equivalent of a landed fish.

We’ve become so averse to work, and so enamored of technology as a surrogate for work, we don’t even recognize things like illogic, lost opportunity, the absence of common sense, or the need to establish personal relationships anymore. Call the dude? What the hell for? I’m tracking him with software:

As marketing automation begins moving into the mainstream and quickly becoming the hot topic at marketing conferences around the world, the analytics that this technology provides will prove and improve marketing spend and finally give the marketer a seat at the revenue table.

Is the purpose of this software to improve business or to become the hot topic at marketing conferences around the world? Aside from counting opens and click-throughs, what are “the analytics this technology provides”? Is the purpose of this software to improve business or to “improve the marketing spend”? If marketers are the bridge between the brand and fulfillment (sales), why don’t they have seats at the table already?

And riddle me this, Batman: If folks are so lathered up about the prospect of robots replacing people in manufacturing jobs, where’s the outcry over the fact that software is at least creating the illusion of replacing people in marketing and sales activities?

As a consumer, if my attempts to satisfy my curiosity about a product or service happen to rate me a “lead score” that launches an outbound fusillade of sales activity in my direction, I’m headed down to my bunker.

Please send me a message to re-surface when pigs achieve flight.

Image by sandid, courtesy of