2016-10-10 Thomas Krotkiewski

Automated Marketing
and the Death of Love

AI is taking over everywhere. In a few years we’ll see a huge number of service professions performed by electrons, in ways that you and I would find really hard to understand. But at the moment I’m not worrying about AI – Right now I’m getting really annoyed with “SI”.

I’m talking about Stupid Intelligence. SI defines the world through statistics, and compares us to averages that nobody really fits into individually, and serves us up content that no one really wants. Best case, it’s just a tiny bit more likely that you’ll notice SI-driven content instead of everything else that’s gunning for your attention.

Stupid Intelligence is used in marketing automation.
There are for istance CRM tools, that send clients a “personal” email when they perform certain predfined tasks. An email might for instance go out automatically when you haven’t bought anything for a long time.
You also have AB-testing and content automation- creating digital communication automatically in many versions, discarding those who aren’t attracting clicks and optimizing those versions that capture the most.


It’s all basically built around earning money on clicks. It makes a lot of sense, on paper. It actually looks like it’s more efficient than actually thinking about your target and then trying to come up with a unique message that will move people.

Creative thinking is now unnecessary – using A/B testing methods, SI can simply throw in random headlines, images and copy until clicks increase.
You no longer have to worry about boring stuff like strategy. You can just let your ad evolve programmatically until it works – and hey, you only ever pay when someone clicks it anyway, so don’t worry about showing it to a million people who don’t click it, right? We can now replace the creative process with an Excel sheet. That’s fantastically convenient and efficient.


Of course, you can use a brick to build a house, or you can bash somebody’s head in with it. SI can be used intelligently. But not as a substitute for smart marketing.
Advertising and marketing, for me, is one part skills & experience, and one part love. You can’t work in this business without passion. If you don’t love the client and the project you’re working on, the result will be mediocre.


What the SI approach does is to make something mediocre slightly less crappy. If you want to make an impact, get noticed, really move people – you need a good, smart idea. Preferably an innovative one. Because then you don’t have to show it to a million people to get one click.

So don’t let your brand be the victim of Stupid Intelligence – let love have its way and make something great.


Thomas Krotkiewski Post author Thomas Krotkiewski Thomas is the CEO of Spook AB. 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising. Focus on mobile, digital, social. Advisor in digital to US and European agencies like McKinney, Lowe, Leo Burnett, Isobar and others. Developed marketing for brands like Visa, Autodesk, Orange, Puma and Samsung mobile in regional and local contexts. Strong network in the retail sector and experience in multi-brand retail offer schemes.