Why We Need Marketing Managers in the World of AI and Automation

2 min read
December 11, 2019

Why We Need Marketing Managers in the World of AI and Automation


“Will robots take my job?” is a question (and website) that informs a universal concern: the fear that, in the blink of an eye, a robot will make one’s job obsolete.

AI does have the ability to outperform humans at routine tasks — that is, with the right amount of data in one domain — so, it is capable of displacing jobs. However, human employment across the board, right now, is not threatened; rather, the robotic takeover of some jobs will facilitate new job opportunities that may not even be on our radar now.

Still, even with rapid advancements in AI, and the presence of automation in industries across the board, AI / robots cannot replace all jobs. Specifically, occupations in creative and scientific fields, and those that require strategy and inventiveness are not at risk, as these jobs go beyond the limitations of Big Data.

The role of marketing manager has shifted

In the world of AI and automation, we still need marketing managers. The chance of a robot taking the job of marketing manager is just 1.4%. Marketing automation is designed to automate repetitive tasks like email marketing, social media posts, and ad campaigns — but a human still has to define what the automation will achieve. Repetitive tasks can be automated, “but the decisions affecting those processes may still require human input.” Marketing automation doesn’t automate how to market.

We need marketing managers to understand the shift in the marketing paradigm. This shift requires an understanding that the role of marketing manager has changed. As tasks and time spent on managing multiple email lists, for example, lessens, marketing managers are liberated from the mundane. With marketing automation, marketing managers can spend more time on creative strategies, and less time on manual tasks. It takes emotional intelligence, perspective and an understanding of the human psyche to strategize and determine how to market to a target customer.

Human emotion drives purchasing decisions

The most effective marketing is that which appeals to emotion, where human creativity is required to gauge how messaging will resonate with people. One example that comes to mind is the viral Extra Gum commercial “The Story of Sarah & Juan,” which chronicles a love story to Can’t Help Falling in Love, in just under two minutes. The video was a sensation, bringing people to tears, with chewing gum as the product marketed. AI may have informed optimization and timing, but it could not have composed the narrative.

Marketing is ultimately a form of storytelling, and humans have been storytelling since the beginning of time. AI may be able to perform processes that determine what content yields the highest ROI, but would offer no perspective on how to shape the content. It’s the human that tests what resonates, and we need marketing managers to move buyers to act, using emotion as a driver.

Successful marketing in the world of AI and automation is a matter of humans working in tandem with technology. BMW created “robot/human teams,” and found an 85% reduction in workers’ idle time, showing improvements in productivity that were not possible without automation. 

The human can create unique and interesting messaging that resonates with a target audience, and technology informs where to share that messaging and at what time. It’s neither AI, nor automation that threaten the effectiveness of marketing, but rather the loss of the human touch.