Automation currently serves as a very niche tool in the marketer’s life. It deals with the humdrum, housekeeping tasks that were traditionally a part of the marketing process. Currently, automation will make the job easier by carrying out some of the more tedious tasks of the job and leaving the rest of it to a well-trained intrepid marketer.
That’s the state of automation in marketing right now. But what about in five years? What about ten years?
No matter the industry, the word “automation” inevitably rouses fear of human obsolescence: the day when machine-driven tools and capabilities surpass and replace flesh and blood humans. While it has been our mantra here at Solutions Review that “marketing automation supplements marketers, it does not supplant them,” that may not always be the case. AI has already arrived in data, and in a big way, managing large swathes of marketing technology from email campaigns to CRM. But will AI ever do everything you do?
The answer? Maybe. But probably not anytime soon.
Dr. Anders Sandberg, a robotics expert at Oxford University, officially stated 47 percent of all jobs will be replaced by software. McKinsey Global Institute estimates 140 million jobs may be invalidated by algorithms, and almost half of all marketers believe their jobs are in immediate danger of robotic replacement. It’s impossible to accurately predict the exact trajectory of AI technology over the next ten years, but it is highly likely the technology could become advanced enough to take on the finer points of marketing work, especially when you consider the astounding growth of AI-based marketing for companies like Anymind.
The Human Element
This paints a pretty grim picture for marketers. Thankfully, technological developments of that caliber are quite a long ways off from where the technology is currently. For automation to function, it needs concrete parameters like predictive patterns, numeric input, and specific data. The concept of creativity, which marketers should hold dear, cannot be clearly defined in a numeric way. Therefore, it cannot be carried out by machine learning algorithms.
Ultimately, automation’s strengths are our human weaknesses and vice versa. The solutions we enjoy today are doing what we cannot: processing large amounts of data, sorting and categorizing leads with machine-like rapidity, waging email campaigns at mass scale, and tracking all of your leads. There can easily be more depending on the features of your chosen solution.
Automation as it currently exists is really just a boon to marketer’s efforts. It keeps up that boring work you as a marketer dread but still need to carry out to ensure that your operations continue smoothly. Automation is here to save you time so you can focus on your creative endeavors, like unique campaigns, collaboration with your team, and engaging inbound content. The long and short of it is automation is available to let you focus on the compelling parts of your job.
The Weakest Link
But what about those still worried about the potential for fully automated marketers? There is one surefire way to ensure you’ll never be replaced by marketing automation: cooperation.
In his TED Talk about the future of automation in the workforce, economist David Autor cites that, though the automation of jobs has decreased employment opportunities in theory, in reality, the percentage of the population employed has actually risen since the turn of the 20th century. Autor likens the workplace to a chain which links are only as good as the next one. And when one link is strengthened, it becomes easier to determine how to hold the other links to the new and improved standard. “As our tools improve, technology magnifies our leverage and increases the value of our expertise, our judgment, and creativity,” said Autor, as he refrenced back to the advent of the ATM and how it made bank tellers focus on the other aspects of their job rather than the petty distribution of cash.
There you have it: the robot uprising isn’t coming anytime soon. And when it does, the intrepid marketers out there will adapt and evolve their roles as they have with the current automation software landscape. These reasons and more are why you should be getting on the automation bandwagon with a solution to help enhance your team.