Will a Robot Make Your Marketing Job Obsolete?

Cars with no drivers.  Airport ticket counters with only touch-screens. Surgery with no doctors. Automation has taken over human jobs since the industrial revolution. But this trend may be accelerating with the “Great Restructuring“. Which marketing jobs will automation make obsolete?

Time magazine recently published an article titled The Robot Economy which highlights the types of jobs that will flourish (and which won’t) as automation expands. Time says,

“If your job involves learning a set of logical rules or a statistical model that you apply task after task – whether you are grilling a hamburger or issuing a boarding pass or completing a tax return – you are ripe for replacement by a robot.”

Marketing automation is one of the fastest growing sectors of the technology industry, growing at 11.8% in 2012 according to the IDC 2012 Worldwide Marketing Automation Vendor Share Report. Most marketers would agree that marketing automation drives gains for their companies – improved customer engagement, greater marketing accountability, better pipeline management, etc. But is it good for marketing people? The jury is out on whether automation is reducing marketing headcount.  On the precipice of the 2008 downturn, the IDC Tech Marketing Benchmark showed a decline in marketing headcount as a percentage of total employees to approximately 1.5% and the number has sat roughly at that level for the last few years.

Winners and Losers in Marketing Jobs? Nate Silver’s book, The Signal and the Noise, is about making better decisions using analytics. In a chapter about chess, Silver summarizes a 1950 paper by MIT’s Claude Shannon on the benefits of a computer in making decisions versus the benefits of a human.  Claude Shannon said that computers are better at decision-making because:

  • They are very fast at making calculations
  • They won’t make errors, unless the errors are encoded in the program
  • They won’t get lazy and fail to fully analyze a position or all possible moves
  • They won’t play emotionally and become overconfident in an apparent winning position that might be squandered or grow despondent in a difficult one that might be salvage

 Claude Shannon said that humans are better at decision-making because:

  • Our minds are flexible, able to shift gears to solve a problem rather than follow a set of code
  • We have the capacity for imagination
  • We have the ability to reason
  • We have the ability to learn

 Silver concludes that the reason why a computer like IBM’s Deep Blue could beat a chessmaster is that chess is a deterministic game, that is, there is no luck involved. In deterministic situations, where there is perfect information and perfect knowledge of the rules, computers do a better job.  However, wherever there is uncertainty, a better decision will be made if humans help out.

Future proof your career. To ensure you head your career in a confident direction, gain competency in the following types of marketing skills:

  • Solve problems that have never been solved before:  Work that is genuinely non-routine, creative, or paradoxical – such as people or customer management, strategy development, and design.  However, be warned that being creative does not let you off the hook for learning to use data to inform the creative process.
  • Analyze for insight:  While analytic tools will do most of the heavy lifting for us, humans will give meaning to the data patterns as well as to create models, frameworks, and stories for using the analysis.
  • Make unstructured decisions: Unstructured decisions are those where no explicit process for deciding can be put in place – such as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). Almost every category of marketing has jobs like this. Put yourself in the line of fire, where there are tough trade-offs, and information is ambiguous. 
  • Persuade: Automation can take over lead nurturing by listening to online data, analyzing it for behavior patterns, and responding with the most relevant selection from a content catalog.  However, blending a human with automation may get you better results.  A leading tech company found that although they can go straight through to purchase using automation, that adding an inside sales person to the conversation increased deal size by 3x.

What ideas have you seen marketers implement to help future proof their departments?

 

IDC’s 2013 Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix: Are you a Marketing Leader, Achiever, Contender or Challenged?

CMO ROI Matrix
IDC’s 2013
Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix

If you are a B2B Marketer you’ve read the articles, heard the pundits, and attended the conferences – marketing is transforming. This is not ground breaking news. However, what you probably have not seen is a tangible and holistic way to measure your organization’s marketing performance. Today you are in luck.

IDC’s CMO Advisory Servicehas just released our Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix. This Matrix not only provides measurement on Marketing ROI for those companies who participate in our annual benchmark survey, the recently published reportalso provides fact based analysis, actionable recommendations via IDC Analysts and best practices from leading marketing organizations.

For the down and dirty on the report view our press release


For some quick and interesting facts from the study look no further, you are in the right spot!
You must have the muscle (ie: budget) to move the needle.

 #CMOFact: As a percentage of revenue, Marketing Leaders spend ~3X more on marketing than the Challenged http://bit.ly/CMOROI Tweet This!

It is important to note these properly funded Marketing organizations were not just blessed by their CEO with a strong budget, they first proved their worthiness. The first step to earning your budget is to be efficient and effectivley track the dollars given to your department. Leading companies spent years optimizing (and wisely spending) their budget before earning a larger piece of the pie.

“Marketers, tear down these walls!” 

#CMOFact: Marketing leaders staff Campaign Mgt roles at 5.4% of their staff. http://bit.ly/CMOROI Challenged staff at 1.7%… Tweet This!
The quote was once said by Ronald Reagan…ok, maybe he didn’t say that, but we are seeing leading marketing organizations aggressively staffing areas that promote communication and knock down proverbial departmental walls. Leaders staff Campaign Management, Sales Enablement and Marketing IT at a significantly higher rate than the challenged.  They also staff MarCom and Executive & Admin positions at much lower rates.

Remember who keeps the lights on and bust your…you know…to make their lives easier.

#CMOFact: Marketing challenged spend 22% of their program budget on digital. http://bit.ly/CMOROI The leaders spend 33%! Tweet This!

Within tech we often think of innovation as tied to R&D and the product; however leading companies are actively innovating their marketing tools and strategy. The buyer has changed and no matter how good your product is, if the value proposition is not delivered in a way that ‘speaks’ your buyer’s language you will risk losing business. Leading companies are pushing boundaries through new and innovative digital strategies and cap spend in areas like Email Marketing and Events.
This is research the team is excited about and truly believes it will help marketers continue to improve their organizations. What is clear from this research is the gap is widening between the marketing teams that “get” the marketing transformation (the Marketing Leaders) and the ones still wallowing in traditional ways (the Marketing Challenged). Continue working hard and using all the resources at your disposal to stay ahead!
For more information about the Chief Marketing Officer ROI Matrix and a complimentary executive summary email me smelnick (@) IDC (dot) com. To be considered for the 2014 Chief Marketing Officer, you guessed it, you should email me.
You can also download the full report here and don’t forget to join the discussion on twitter by using hashtag #CMOFact
Oh, one last thing… Follow me on twitter: @SamMelnick

#CMOFact: IDC 2013 Marketing Investment Planner

With 2012 coming to an end, for many businesses planning for 2013 will bleed into the New Year. Marketers are no exception; in anticipation of the planning cycle each year, the CMO Advisory Service publishes our annual Marketing Planner in August/September, developing the B2B tech industry’s leading marketing (and sales) benchmarking study. To anyone familiar with the industry, you are probably used to hearing that Marketing is transforming. What is so exciting about our Marketing Planner is we are able to provide specific guidance on changes, challenges, and successes within the industry through incredibly accurate industry data and qualitative information provided by you, the senior marketers. Marketers in turn are able to use this information to successfully plan for the upcoming year.
I’ve taken the liberty of pulling out some key facts below from our report that are particularly interesting or useful. Feel free to share them and remember to follow me on twitteror check out the CMOFact hashtag – we will continue to share some marketing goodness there.

#CMOFact Number 1:  In 2012 the average large B2B Marketing organization is in receipt of a 1.7% budget increase. This is 50% LESS than the 2011 rate.

#CMOFact Number 2:  The Marketing Budget Ratio for B2B tech companies has declined each year from 2009 through 2012. Marketing Investment is not keeping up with revenue growth.

#CMOFact Number 3: B2B Tech CMOs are spending approximately 30% of their budget on digital marketing programs. This is up from 12% in 2009. 

#CMOFact Number 4: For Large Tech Companies, only those in Software (vs Services & Hardware) are receiving increased budgets!

#CMOFact Number 5: The marketing automation train is picking up speed, and fast. Jump on now or prepare to be left behind. This is a new category in our survey and is already at 3.1% of programs budget and 1.6% of staff allocations.

These are just 5 nuggets from the 2013 Marketing Planner. The full version includes a complete overview of the current state of the B2B Tech Marketing it includes; program spend, staffing breakdowns, up and coming technology, and forward looking advice. For your own copy, reach out to Wendy Pemberton at wpemberton@idc.comor find it here