Skills You Need If You Want To Keep Your Marketing Job In 2022

While the video “Humans need not apply” really brings home the impact of technology on economy and employment, there has been a lot of debate around it. Academicians like Jerry Kaplan have argued that while increased productivity made possible through tools reduces the “ absolute number of people” required and therefore existing job prospects in the short term; the increased prosperity creates new jobs and opportunities for gainful employment in the times to come.

To put it simply – Expert opinion is that technology will ultimately supplement and NOT substitute human effort. We will continue to need less people working fewer hours to do the same job and while that will cause people to lose jobs for a while – That very leisure that technology creates also provides new job opportunities…. think amusement parks, flower shops, restaurants and yes, spaceships to Mars!!

Great. So it WILL work out in the end. I mean, somebody has to be around to buy all the cheap food and stuff these machines are going to help make so that does kind of intuitively make sense, doesn’t it?

But what about those of us caught in the middle?

But a time lag there will be and let’s take a moment to think of the people at the BRINK of the transition who are out-skilled by a machine in a job that they had prepared for their ENTIRE life. Think doctors, software engineers, classroom teachers, recruiters AND MARKETERS !!! And hey, it’s not just about the bricklayers, link builders and drivers anymore. Even if only 30% of your job tasks that can be automated, there will be a significant impact anyway as companies will need to hire fewer people to do the same job. 

30% less marketers anyone?

We study / practice for hours, take out loans to pay tuition at colleges and then rack up years of experience in one niche field so that our promotion or raises can outpace inflation. What happens if this entire learning curve becomes redundant at age 46?

Source : MIT Technology Review

And even if you do find out that the jobs in the social media copywriting field are booming, how many of us really want to or are even capable of starting again from the very bottom? Because that will the logical entry point for a new profession. right?

There is an alternative.

It’s called planning ahead. 

As we all know, the least differentiated and most routine jobs are impacted first  across industries and functions so lets’s start by looking at some of the most common tasks we assign  our junior digital marketing executives at the very bottom of the food chain.

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Competitive analysis, on page analysis, keyword ranking data, directory submissions and report creation are the ones that come to mind.And  almost all of these can be accomplished by one person team armed with a subscription to SEMRush, Ahref, MOZ and a hundred others. BETTER and FASTER. So yes, this is definitely not something you want to continue trying to get better and /or faster at.

There are also several social media dashboards, posting tools as well as apps that once employed can increase productivity massively so take a good hard look at what you do and see what technology exists to do it better.

Advanced Research

In addition to the competitive and other user information that toolkits can pull out in a click, he likes of  Lucy by Equal3 are capable of processing massive amounts of data. Cost appears to be the only constraint and once made affordable, it seems likely that this task will be automated further.

Not looking too promising either!

Content Creation

Simple summaries, fact based reports and already being produced routinely by AI tools as are short copy for social media, headlines and email responders. Even advanced content is being generated by programs like Wordsmith, Articoolo and Quill.

I would suggest that you monitor and compare the quality and type of content being generated by these tools and even if you see a comfortable gap today, it is important to know that technology grows exponentially faster than your ability to improve  so evaluate your risk accordingly.

User In-sighting and journey mapping

It is a fact that software is better able to analyze user behavior, purchase trends and deep learning to create more granular user personas and journey cycles that it can then adjust in real time basis ongoing behavior. Humans simply DO NOT have the processing power to make the necessary cross connections between millions of users across multiple platforms and the resulting permutations of opportunities and their prioritization by ROI.

But this level of data and insights never existed in the past and the opportunity it presents is immense. Companies will need people to analyze this output, connect the dots and come up with strategic insights! Seems like to be a good place to be.

Lead Generation

Given the number of channels and sub -strategies ( SEO, SEM, EMAIL, Affiliates..etc.) at our disposal, cross leveraging and optimizing the many lead campaigns is often no more than a tangled web tripping up the best of us. I really think we NEED Martech to give us a helping hand here.

I truly believe that Marketing Automation tools like Hubspot, Adobe and Marketo will supplement more than substitute human skills.  Let’s be honest, aren’t we all struggling?

Campaign Management

Marketing automation tools from Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle and Hubspot allow you to deeply examine customer data, past trends to create user relevant personalized campaigns that you can measure progress for in real time. It is a fact that “ inside sales” has changed the way companies engage thanks to a ever strong pipeline of leads created by digital marketing.

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So again, I’m seeing more jobs than before! ( Maybe some at the cost of sales personnel though)

Ok.. enough about the possible losses..lets look at some of opportunities.

1. Data Analytics

Faster and better the tool, the more data it churns out and data can paralyze without due analysis. In the future we will continue to need people who can make sense of Big Data, draw actionable insights and even identify needs for future data requirements.

2. Content Strategy

Next, even if you have reams of data AND analysis which is both accurate and fast, it is fair to assume that you WILL have more time for creative and adaptive strategy – another skill that will be a default expectation from marketers in times to come.

3. Martech Specialists

Given that all this human labour is being replaced by smart tools, marketing will continue to need and invest in people who can understand and leverage these MARTECH tools optimally to get traction on point 1 and 2.

4. Cross Functional Marketing

With most companies understanding the value of “ experience management” and “ human centric processes” the need for a marketing mindset will cut across functional silos. Companies will need market their brand for the best talent, investors in addition to prospective customers. We will need marketing capability across functions.

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Which are all great opportunities for us. Especially jobs that involve social, emotional, technological and higher cognitive skills as against physical, manual and/ or only basic cognitive skills.

Or in other words, more the uncertainty / unpredictability of the role like emotional counseling or managing a team of people or visualizing a new way to colonize Mars, safer you are.

Repetitive, monotonous problems like posting the same message across multiple media, creating directory listings with the same information or checking keyword position or backlinks authority – all jobs that an algorithm can predict solutions to, will and should be automated, leaving us time to do the cooler stuff!!

Source : https://www.skynettoday.com/editorials/ai-automation-job-loss

To summarize, I believe that marketing as a role and function is going to become even more important and on the whole jobs will multiply many times over. But there are some niches within that set which look better positioned than the others. But given the break neck evolution that we are seeing of the role itself it’s rather pointless to get boxed in using current designations as a reference point for future opportunities. The role of SEO executive will still exist but it may require understanding and operating a tool more than manual effort.

Also, in a commoditized market of Martech tools cheap enough to be at everyone’s disposal. it will be ultimately be their application through  human creativity and visioning that will be the biggest differentiator.

We should therefore focus on specific skills that we want to build and the problems they can solve for better clarity.

In fact the biggest winners will be those than can quickly understand the fast changing landscape of user expectations, starter strategies to leverage digital technology within a given environment as well as educating internal and external customers on the need for using digital content across functions for better stakeholder engagement. 

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1 Comment
  1. Pam Cooper says

    I have been following this debate and I don’t think we have anything to worry about. Companies take a long time to adopt technology. The lag is significant to make the transition comfortably.

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