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Automation is a source of controversy and anxiety in virtually every industry. Digital marketing is no exception, as the ongoing growth of things like machine learning promise to make computers more and more capable of taking on roles that once required human minds and human hands. But there are important questions that any given digital marketing company should ask about whether to resist or embrace the adoption of those resources, and when it would be appropriate to shift from one mindset to another.

It is ultimately a fool’s errand to fight against automation over the long term. If it can be made both practical and cost effective, nothing will stop the change. But by latching onto it to early, a digital marketing company could put itself at risk of erroneous decisions and public relations disasters that would have been relatively easy to avoid if professional individuals had kept control of the entire campaign.

On the other hand, the same digital marketing company makes itself vulnerable to more forward-thinking competitors if it tries to micro-manage every aspect of digital marketing, from the creation of new content to the scheduling of social media posts to the collection and analysis of customer data. Some or all of these tasks can be either taken over or assisted by apps and algorithms, so as to free up human resources for strategic aspects of a digital marketing campaign.

With that in mind, web marketers and their clients should probably be inclined toward a tentative embrace of automation. It should be built into operations wherever feasible, but until consistent outcomes have been demonstrated over a period of years, digital marketing professionals should be present at every step of the process to check the work of the machine and to make sure that humans and A.I. are always helping one another to get better.

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