Welcome to the age of the ‘machine marketer’

Martech appears to be taking over. Ricky Abbott, marketing and strategy director at Pulse, asks how will creativity survive in this new binary world?

Is everyone in B2B marketing turning into a robot? Strange question I know, but remember the good ol’ days when content was king? It’s almost a distant memory – and when we see a great B2B campaign we now rejoice! But nowadays ‘brand marketers’ seem rare. Even the term ‘digital marketer’ is a bit old hat. We’re now entering the age of ‘machine marketers’.

I recently attended B2B Marketing Ignite, and the first thing that struck me was the lack of agency booths. It was nearly all martech platforms, who also hosted many of the breakout sessions.

Tech seems to be taking over and almost every meeting I attend is a pissing contest on who is the most martech-savvy. This may seem a bit hypocritical since I think martech is great, but the question remains – how much of a machine-based marketer are you?

How do you sift through the martech noise?

How much do your decisions rely on data, analytics, AI, algorithms, or machine learning? How can creativity survive in a world of ones and zeros?

It’s a tough balancing act. How do you sift through the martech noise? How do you know where to prioritise?

  • Proof of concept. If they’re as good as they say, providers should be willing to set up proofs of concept. Interrogate their findings and ask how their systems work. There are some suspect platforms that will say things like ‘well, it’s all very complicated to explain’.
  • Need/relevance. We’re all suckers for lovely dashboards and visualisations, but do you need them? Do they complement your programmes, and are you set up to
  • use them?
  • Creativity/content. Most martech platforms I’ve seen are so focused on data/intelligence, they totally forget about content. Customers don’t care about the data you used, they just see the message. The best ‘machine marketers’ use creativity alongside data to make their programmes sing.

Don’t be afraid to look stupid. Being a machine marketer isn’t always the answer. Know your skills. Surround yourself with people that have skills you don’t and ask the right questions. It’ll make you the best machine marketer you can be.

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