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Humanology: Do You Have The Right Balance?

Striking the right balance is critical:

  • If you rely too much on technology, you’re missing the value of human input.
  • If you rely too much on people, you’re missing the efficiencies of technology.

We’ve observed that, for the most part, people’s strengths are the same as machines’ weaknesses and vice-versa. Let’s look at what your ideal “division of labor” so-to-speak should be:

Technology Strengths
Computers are great for:

  • Importing/exporting data
  • Numbers crunching
  • Producing detailed reports
  • Running automated bidding processes
  • Creating graphs and charts
  • Slicing and dicing data upon request

There’s no need, for example, to manage keywords or display campaigns on a spreadsheet when you have super-fast computers to do that for you. Technology is great for “grunt work” and they don’t complain either!

People Strengths
People are all about things that machines can’t do:

  • Developing a strategic plan
  • Writing expert copy
  • Analyzing data
  • Developing offers and calls-to-action
  • Communicating with colleagues in other departments and agencies to avoid “silo-ing”
  • Creating graphics

The last time I looked, computers can’t write copy and that’s something people do very well. In fact, copy is one of the most important variables that impacts search. In short, the value of people bring to the table are the exact skills that computers fumble with and may never master.

Striking The Right Balance
Using paid search as an example, many search vendors promote a “set it and forget it” mindset, leaning too heavily on technology to pretty much do everything once a set of keywords is developed. They basically talk about being able to put keywords into a “black box” and let the “algorithms” take it from there.

At the other end of the spectrum are search agencies that do everything by hand, managing thousands of keywords on spreadsheets, and not taking advantage of the incredible tools that are out there that assist us in analyzing data and spotting trends.

Clearly, neither approach is optimal. Finding the right blend of people and tech, “humanology,” is not really that difficult. The six bullet points listed above for each section are a good start. Assuming you have the staff (or agency) that has the right skill-sets for the people side, you can easily find technology that supports the tech side. Understanding and using the tech platforms to their fullest is challenging – the more sophisticated the software, the longer the learning curve, but the greater the benefit to the client.

Conclusion
The right balance between humans and technology leads to the best possible use of our skills and time. It’s a formula that works for paid search, social media campaigns, display or any other form of promotion.

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