Two powerful and parallel trends are underway in marketing.
First, marketing is becoming more human. This is the social media revolution. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn groups, etc., are thriving with real dialogues, between real people in organizations and real constituents in the market.
This pushes marketing as a whole to be more real — customers aren’t abstract models on a whiteboard, but splendidly diverse individuals with emotions, opinions, and microphones. What used to be a novel concept, so-called “voice of the customer”, is becoming an integral part of everyday marketing.
Second, marketing is becoming more computerized. A veritable tsunami of new marketing software has arrived — with more on the way — as a result of 7 converging forces:
- largely digital channels of communication to the market;
- cloud computing and on-demand software-as-a-service;
- an explosion data and analytics on customers and markets;
- open APIs for everything from ad networks to CRMs;
- the emerging semantic web (a.k.a., a “web of data“);
- a new generation of AI-like algorithms at the intersection of computer science + economics + marketing;
- ever cheaper and faster computing power and networking;
This is enabling many of the ideas around marketing automation and computational marketing. These technologies change the scale at which marketing programs can operate — huge numbers of smaller atomic elements — allowing thousands of micro-segments of audiences to be tracked and engaged, in some cases down to one-to-one personalization and offer optimization.
But… how do these two trends affect each other?
Social media communities quickly reject “automated” participation (see David Armano’s excellent post, how to be more human).
And marketing software still lacks human intuition and creativity — and will until the singularity.
Marketers must be the bridge between these two engines of innovation, and the wide range of possibilities for how to do that represents a wealth of strategic marketing choices.
A beautiful paradox of how marketing will be both more human and more computerized.
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2 thoughts on “Marketing more human, more computerized”
Scott this is spot on. We all need to work on models for how to blend the new power of linked open data and the semantic web with the social networks to create more compelling value. It is not one or the other but a blend. At LeveragePoint we are working to provide product development, marketing and sales teams with solutions that marry powerful marketing frameworks (our current focus is value management) with the power of collaboration and linked open data. Your idea that in the Linked Open Data world it will be important for marketers to ‘brand’ their data models is also important. I look forward to more discussion on that!
One fellow from Twitter noted that although he liked this post, he felt it described the “problem” without offering any solutions. A true indictment, I will confess!
But the point I was trying to make is that there will be a plethora of different solutions to that problem. And I certainly promise to offer as many of them as I can on this blog in the years ahead.
But each company will have to choose their own special blend as part of their market strategy. And there will no doubt be a vibrant ecosystem of software vendors, new marketing agencies, and high-tech management consultants to help them. And that’s an exciting frontier for everyone in and around it.