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Nowadays, many professionals ask themselves the same questions: Does what I’m doing require unique enough skills, not to mention human enough skills, to make me irreplaceable? Can machines really take my place in 5-10 years? And if so, how can I make myself valuable to a company, a profession, an industry?
We’re already addressing some of these questions in the marketing business. Not only on the theoretical level – whether a specific AI capability will change the structure of a ‘normal’ marketing department – but also in a more practical sense, as marketers try to reinvent their position and sharpen their set of skills by using the benefits of this new world, experiencing new tools and harnessing them for smarter outcomes.
I’ve spent some time thinking about these questions, and how this new way of thinking will affect marketing professionals and the marketing industry in the near future:
1. ‘Technology’ will rule every CV and meeting
I read a piece on the WSJ this week by Angus Loten, who described how AI tools found new customers for companies. After noticing that their sales’ teams aren’t managing the work load, managers at Snowflake computing Inc assigned every sales rep an automated AI powered chatbot to engage with potential buyers. Four months later, sales showed a real boost. This is the thinking process most marketing departments will have to adopt, which will eventually cause some organizational changes. Familiarizing yourself with marketing automation platforms will become a must, and even the more creative roles will have to start backing their results with numbers. Top marketers trying to build teams might have a much harder time, as they will have to manage AI talents while taking control over complicated processed. Simultaneously, those marketers making the shift to data-oriented marketing will have a much easier transition, as the options for growth and success become endless.
More than that, every marketing team however advanced, will have to apply more and more resources in order to keep up with the new demands towards automatic, data-based solutions. Technological capabilities will have a crucial part in every sales pitch. Some marketing departments will fail at this endeavor – as they will look to bring routine initiatives into the marketing organization instead of collaborating with analytical talent.
2. That loyalty thing will be won with personalization
Customer loyalty is long gone. Dead. Now, companies will have to find ways to better communicate with their clientele. This means building more precise campaigns for smaller groups of customers, more attributes rather than the one-size-fits-all customer journey, getting further and further away from traditional marketing, or even traditional marketing with modern tools, and moving to a completely different approach.
An article I came across on Marketing Land based on a new Euclid report, demonstrated how “millennials appear to be less focused on or impressed by basic retail competencies…” and that “millennials are more likely than the other groups (baby boomers and gen X) to use multiple channels to communicate with brands. And they are also much more likely to embrace virtual assistants and smart speakers as future shopping tools and communication channels.” Take a look at this graph from the report:
To master this kind of personalization, marketers will need to adopt new technologies as well as new ways of working. They will need to leverage advanced tools including omnichannel analytics and continuous optimization platforms and product recommendation engines powered by machine learning. Furthermore, I expect successful marketing organizations will move away from a persona-based approach — i.e., selecting from a limited number of pre-determined customer journeys — and move towards developing adaptive campaigns with more granular customer attributes, offers and recommendations.
3. Digital-first, everything’s second
This probably looks like a copy-paste paragraph from 2017 or 2016, but the idea is more relevant than ever. Online-businesses, big and small, will be giving conventional brands a real run for their money. “Digitally native” habits are no longer a niche. Younger generations’ share of the market is quickly growing, and marketers will need to keep up with their changing expectations and preferences. While brand still matters, personalization and communication are becoming more important. Digital-first companies that adopted personalization technologies early on are in a position to truly challenge traditional retailers by responding quickly to customer needs, connecting online and offline experiences, and reaching targeted audiences with highly personalized messages.
Four months into 2018, the promise to be a year of rapid changes—largely driven by technological advancement—is quickly materializing. Marketing organizations that will move quickly — investing time and resources toward hiring data-savvy talents, leveraging sophisticated technology to personalize their customer experiences, and thinking digital-first — will come out ahead.
This post was roughly based on an article by Tal Kedar published on TotalRetail.