FranFunnel Passes The Turing Test

One of the topics that is debated most frequently in the halls of FranFunnel is to what extent automated marketing should be meant to look like non-automated marketing to customers.

We wrote about the language side of this a while back, but ultimately this is a problem that will never be “solved” as people continually change their definition of what is human.

For example, in 1995 if you received an e-mail that started “Dear Jane” (and your name was actually Jane), you would almost certainly believe that that e-mail came from a person. In contrast, things like name merge tags are so ubiquitous today that starting an e-mail “Dear Jane” may actually have you believe the it is more likely that the e-mail is automated.

While Dr. Turing may not have envisioned his name tied to an article like this, he was a man obsessed with computers. While his accomplishments were many, one of his legacies was lending his name to something called the “Turing Test.” The test is essentially a look at whether or not a machine can exhibit behavior not distinguishable from a human. In our words, can you tell that the marketing was automated…

Recently I was doing some spot checks of various flows that we have hooked into FranFunnel. When I was perusing one of our client’s websites, I noticed that they had launched a lead form that I had yet to come across. I wondered whether or not our integration was still functioning with their site, so I submitted a test lead through the form.

After a couple minutes I received a text message from the sales guy at the brand which made my blood boil.

It appeared to me at the time that our customer had stopped using FranFunnel instead texting me from his personal phone. I took a few deep breaths and thought about how I was going to approach him as I wanted to express my frustration without being too upset.

I began to craft an email.

After a couple minutes, an odd thought popped into my head. “Wait. What if that text did come from FranFunnel?” I had immediately jumped to the conclusion that is was him because of the personalization and the lengthiness but was that the text we had programmed for him…

Based on the title of this article, you already know what happened. It was us. I, of course, logged into our backend and saw this:

And there you have it. I tricked myself into thinking that a message that our software sent THAT I CODED was sent by an actual person.

No matter where you stand on the manual vs. automated debate, you must admit that computers’ ability to mimic human behavior is quite impressive.

This article was written by a human, Eli Robinson, GM of FranFunnel. (Or was it?)

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