B2B Marketing Blog

The Future of B2B Marketing in an AI Driven World

By Dave Rigotti
Apr 10, 2018
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I’m the type of person who actively manages their career. Both on a micro and macro level. I also enjoy reading about new technologies and trying as much as possible to be on the forefront.

That’s why recent news articles on AI have caught my eye, especially ones like, “Most Americans think artificial intelligence will destroy other people’s jobs, not theirs,” from the Verge. Essentially a Gallup survey found that 73 percent of US adults believe artificial intelligence will eliminate more jobs than it creates, but only 23 percent said they were “worried” or “very worried” automation would affect them personally. I took this as most people think AI will destroy jobs, except not their jobs.

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Honestly, it got me thinking about my own job in B2B marketing. How will AI affect my job? What skills will I need to build to be relevant in 20 years? Some really heavy questions. Where did I end up? This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this, but it’s been two years so it’s worth a re-evaluation.

To add some context, I need to say I’ve been in marketing as a full-time employee for about 10 years. So really, not that long. I have seen Mad Men though, which epitomizes what I think was the original marketing professional.

The original marketing professional, the one that was promoted, made CMO, and celebrated, was the one who developed and launched great marketing campaigns, the creative and memorable campaigns. The classic Don Draper. This was true until about 2010, when math becomes the celebrated skill.

Today’s celebrated employees and CMOs are the ones who deeply understand the customer journey, measure and optimize for revenue, and think about business growth first and creative second. They think about funnels, attribution models, and conversion optimization. Essentially, they operate like the rest of the organization does, i.e. it’s all about the outcome and much less about the activity (the creative).

I truly believe that’s where we are today. The math marketers reign supreme.

But in an AI world, what type of marketing professional will sit on the throne? Like many trends, I think it will go back the creative.

Why? Well, AI is very good at repetitive and predictable processes. Therefore, I think computers will get very good at helping marketing team optimize the math aspects of their work. I think there will always be a creative aspect to all of this, so essentially humans will be needed to oversee the AI, but much of the math work we celebrate today will be done by computers.

So who will oversee marketing? Tomorrow’s CMOs will be a blend of creative and math marketers. They will be able to develop new creative campaigns (which computers will not be good at developing) and also oversee the AI functions of marketing.

Want to stay relevant? Understand the math aspects of B2B marketing, especially marketing attribution.

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Topics: B2B Marketing

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