Why it matters

Marketing automation offers heightened efficiency, but can also lack the kind of human touch which is essential to building brands. With big-ticket purchases like cars, connecting with people who represent and sell the product remains a vital strategic element.


  • Data cannot replace marketing judgment, which must be used to complement the hard numbers as part of the decision-making process.
  • Personalization is a valuable strategy for marketers, but should be carefully validated over time using control groups.
  • Mixing digital utility, such as 24/7 at-home access to the web, and real-life connectivity, such as the ability to chat with a product expert, is a valuable strategy.

Data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) may be revolutionizing marketing, but Deborah Wahl, global chief marketing officer for General Motors (GM), believes the rise of increasingly sophisticated digital tools and metrics has come at a cost.