From manufacturing to agriculture to healthcare and more, automation is having a huge impact on jobs and employment levels across nearly all industries. Software, machines, and artificial intelligences are joining and (in many cases) replacing workers in roles that have existed for decades or even centuries.
Whether or not this is overall a good thing is up for debate. But given the growing anxiety around the rise of automation, it’s understandable that marketers might be wary of welcoming more machines and marketing automation consultants into their industry.
This trend isn’t going anywhere. Automation tools and machine learning are only going to grow in sophistication and scope. Already there are very few marketing functions that have entirely escaped its grasp–those that haven’t caught on yet have largely gone extinct. Marketers will have to adapt to a new technology-driven landscape in order to sustain a career.
Fortunately, automation is something marketers should embrace; not fear. Automation, when implemented appropriately, cuts down on the amount of menial work you have to do and grows the potential reach of your efforts. Few marketers pursued their career paths to do manual customer data entry, mind-numbing reporting, or painstakingly deliver thousands of emails one by one. Now that most of these tasks are largely automatable, you can focus on the aspects of marketing that make it most fulfilling: creativity, innovation, and strategy.
So far, automation hasn’t dramatically affected the job market for marketers. In fact, the job market has only strengthened over the last few years even as automation has become more ubiquitous. Demand for marketing automation staffing in disciplines that are very heavy on automation, like lead nurturing and email marketing, remains high. Additionally, an entire new field has opened up for marketing automation consultants and experts who can integrate systems across a business and improve overall efficiency.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should get complacent. It’s possible that automated systems will eventually start threatening marketing jobs that are taken for granted today. Stay on your toes and take action to robot-proof your career!
Keep Track of What You’re Doing and the Results You’re Driving
Most great marketers have a lot of responsibilities and bring a lot of value to their business far beyond what’s simply outlined in their job description. Make sure you’re keeping track of all the ways you strengthen the organization, and have evidence to back it up. Frequently these are things that fly “under the radar” but are essential to keeping the marketing operation running smoothly.
For instance; shortsighted business leader might buy a new analytics automation system and then wonder, “why do I need this big team of marketing analysts?” not realizing all the intangible or undocumented value they bring to the workplace on a daily basis that could never be supplied by a machine. Being able to show you’re an indispensable member of the team will minimize the odds of a replacement.
Steer Your Expertise Towards Skills Machines are Bad At
Automation is a really good option for some marketing tasks, and less attractive for others.
Brian Fetherstonhaugh, CEO of OgilvyOne Worldwide, suggests that most business activity can be broken roughly into two categories: repeatable and creative.
“By repeatable, I mean things like mass production, performing calculations, and other mechanical tasks. In this domain, the machines dominate,” he says. “They are faster, more accurate, more reliable, and more efficient. In the creative domain, humans still dominate. We are good at things like inventing new ideas, dealing with ambiguity, and building human trust.”
You’ll never be able to “win” against machines at performing definable, repetitive tasks and calculations. Instead, get good at improvising, dealing with unexcited situations, planning ahead with incomplete information, and learn to empathize with your audience. Learn how to coordinate and manage people, tools, and systems. You don’t have to be in creative staffing or similar work to bring creativity and inspiration to your job!
Join the Ranks of Marketing Automation Consultants and Experts Yourself
Automation is steadily embedding itself into nearly every aspect of business. Organizations that do it well have the potential to dramatically increase productivity and improve customer experience. But the actual implementation and maintenance of automated systems can be quite complex. There’s a huge demand for marketing automation staffing with the technological and people skills needed to automate both basic and advanced marketing functions. Whatever your field of marketing may be, study up on what people are doing to improve efficiency through automation and get familiar with the tools they’re using to make it happen. Even a basic understanding can take you a long way. Alternatively (or additionally), master one of the major marketing automation platforms like Marketo, Hubspot, or Pardot to get a more general big-picture understanding of how to automate a marketing strategy, and consider joining the ranks of highly-paid marketing automation consultants.