I write a lot about marketing automation here and usually I'm just trying to get people to understand that it's an extremely beneficial thing for your business if done right. The only problem with that is, there are also times it just makes us dumber as human beings. When done incorrectly, automation can encourage laziness and generate lower quality work than we would typically produce had we just done it ourselves.

Content automation tactics are rising in popularity and should help, not hurt. Here are five ways automation is turning us into dumb, lazy marketers when we don't do it right, and hurting our companies in the process.

1. Automated Content Curation May Discourage You From Researching

Automated content curation uses algorithms to source content relevant to your audience and publish it on your blog, social media and marketing automation platforms. It allows you to save time sorting through articles to present the content most interesting to your audience in a way that is most valuable to them.

However, if not used correctly, automating content curation can create a negative image for your brand. In curating content yourself, you have to personally research topics and find relevant content for your audience. By automating this, you don't have a hand in what content the algorithms curate and risk publishing irrelevant or low-quality material.

2. Algorithmic Content Creation May Stop You From Thinking

The idea behind algorithmic content creation is to save content marketers time and money by using algorithms, client data and personalized client narrative editors to generate large amounts of content.

The problem with algorithmic content creation is that it doesn't make you think about what you're writing. The software is simply pumping out article after article without regard to the value each piece brings your audience, which can make the content stale and repetitive - not to mention incredibly impersonal.

3. Automated Customer Interactions May Embarrass Your Brand

If there's one aspect of content automation you shouldn't utilize, automating responses to social media interactions is it. In crafting the same response to anyone who mentions you on social media, you risk the embarrassment of sending an irrelevant response.

This can have serious negative effects on your brand and can cause customers to think you don't care about solving their problem, which can encourage them to take their business elsewhere.

4. Scheduled Content Publishing May Make You Look Outdated

Scheduled content publishing can be beneficial and save your company a great deal of time. It allows you to write social media and blog posts in advance and schedule them to be published at a later date.

However, this can also make you look outdated and untimely if you schedule content too far out in advance. This is bad for your brand's image if your audience no longer finds your content relevant or if the material that's published is seen as being not sensitive to a breaking development.

5. Personalized Emails Make You Look Unemotional

If you are familiar with marketing automation platforms, you know that you're able to send personalized emails to your contacts. You can use tokens - which vary with each marketing automation platform - to insert a contact's first name, birthday, company name, etc. This can be very useful in capturing your customer's attention and increasing email open and click-through rates.

Where this can go wrong is when you don't have the specified token for a contact or you entered the token incorrectly, causing something like "FIRST.NAME" to appear where their name is supposed to go. I've seen it time and time again over the years. This makes your brand look bad and could also make your customer feel unappreciated.

Although automating content can have its downfalls, it can certainly be beneficial to your business. The key is to utilize automation where it makes sense for your company and to use it in a way that makes you a smart, effective content marketer.

Published on: Sep 8, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.