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Will marketing managers be replaced by AI?

When the electronic calculator replaced mechanical tools for performing arithmetic, accountants weren’t replaced, they were just able to do their job more accurately and quickly. To me, this is a perfect analogy for generative AI. Marketing managers won’t be replaced by AI, whatever a few people in senior management might think after reading a space-filling thinkpiece in their weekend newspaper.

Creating content is only a small part of the marketing role, and even this is as much about working out the goal as it is coming up with the words or images. We’re a long way from a machine being able to tell us what our customers need to know that we’re not telling them.

Sure, it’s a process, involving an understanding of what they’re looking for, how they’re looking for it, what we offer, and what gaps need to be filled. And we all know that processes can be automated. But if anyone can work out how to take the human involvement out of that (and why anyone would want to), then I’m ready to invest my meagre savings in their product.

In practice, the only people likely to be replaced by these new tools are those whose jobs are entirely on producing something to order. And that’s probably been the case with almost every technological advancement for 200 years. If your job has any degree of working out what needs to be done, then the only change to be concerned about is that you’re probably going to be doing that yourself a bit more in the future.

So… will I be replaced by AI?

As an example, the obvious thing to do was to ask ChatGPT the question posed in the headline. Could it have written the article above? Of course it could. Could it have done it better? Well, it depends on what we mean by ‘better’. It did it a lot more quickly. Some might think its version is more interesting or more readable than mine. I suspect if I’d spent more time crafting the initial prompt, I’d eventually have given it what it needed to produce something even more readers might prefer to my article.

But the point is – the reason you started reading this article was because the subject intrigued you. And I think we’re a long way from machines having a better idea of what the audience wants and needs than someone involved in the market does.

Here’s what ChatGPT wrote:

“AI has the potential to automate certain tasks and processes traditionally performed by marketing managers. For example, AI can analyze large volumes of data, generate reports, optimize advertising campaigns, and even provide insights for decision-making. These capabilities can enhance efficiency and accuracy in marketing activities.

“However, it’s important to remember that marketing is a multifaceted field that requires human creativity, strategic thinking, and understanding of consumer behavior. While AI can assist in data analysis and provide recommendations, it is not capable of replicating human qualities such as intuition, empathy, and the ability to develop creative and innovative marketing strategies.

“Instead of replacing marketing managers, AI is more likely to augment their roles. It can automate repetitive tasks, provide valuable data insights, and enable marketers to make more informed decisions. This can free up time for marketing managers to focus on higher-level activities such as developing strategies, building relationships with customers, and fostering creativity in marketing campaigns.

“In summary, while AI may change certain aspects of marketing management, it is unlikely to entirely replace marketing managers. The combination of human expertise and AI capabilities is likely to be a powerful force in the future of marketing. It is important for marketing professionals to adapt, embrace AI tools, and continue developing their skills to stay relevant in a changing landscape.”