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Will Technology & Artificial Intelligence Harm the Outlook for Marketing Managers?

Not a week goes by without another article about how emerging technology, including artificial or “enhanced” intelligence (AI), with wreak havoc with nearly all jobs and business moving forward.  While this certainly makes sense for several current positions and industries, what does the marketing leader make of said predictions?  Will we be soon replaced by marketing robots?

All kidding aside, it is clear that all of our jobs are being affected, and will be affected, by advancements in technology and of working smarter.  Within reason we need to embrace that fact and learn the basics of such in order to prosper in the decade to come.  That said, an expert no less than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that “marketing managers” will grow at a rate faster than average through 2026.

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm

Of course the BLS has been wrong before, and I do find it amusing that apparently with marketing managers there is no on-the-job training.   I’d venture to estimate that at least 50% of what you do on a weekly basis was learned and improved while “on the job”.

Complacency is the enemy of success, and here are just a few avenues which illustrate how marketing (and advertising in general) are different in 2019 than 10 or 20 years ago:

  • Web/ mobile advertising: Fifteen years ago few people were using Google Adwords, PPC, SEO, web banner ads, and other tools which are commonplace today.  They are common because typically they work and achieve a ROI which is non-existent in other more traditional means of advertising.
  • Mining “Big data”: We often hear about big data, and computers and algorithms/ programmers analyzing said data.  Just think of the simple filter tools which a company like The Dodge Report employs on it project opportunities pages.  With some forethought, I can change some criteria and allow Dodge to sift through hundreds of construction projects and come back with the 10-12 best ones for me to chase and spend my time on.   With a little thought, “big” data can be used productively within the AEC community.
  • LinkedIn/ Social Media: LinkedIn can be a game-changer to business development and marketing, like it or not.  In 2006 there were about 5 million LinkedIn members; today there are over 400 million members.  80% of the people you want to reach and connect with are on LinkedIn.  If your firm (or you personally) do not have a viable LinkedIn profile/page, that is harming your brand.
  • Enhanced intelligence/ Artificial Intelligence: There are several elements to AI, and the field is growing and changing by the week.  As a simple example, auto-responders are a type of AI.  Companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple are creating computers that can essentially “think” for us- given certain parameters.  Who wouldn’t want to have a qualified virtual assistant at our side to help us do more, work better and more efficiently, and drive more business?
  • Video conferencing: What seemed rather out of place ten years ago is now very common and generally is not seen as impersonal.  GoToMeeting, Skype for Business, et al have their place in today’s business.  The best video conferences are the ones where attendees almost don’t realize they are not present in person.  Mastering this format and technology is key.

Much of what we do in the AEC field will NOT change in the foreseeable future.  No matter what these bullet points dictate, parties involved in a complicated, multi-million dollar development project will not make a final/ contractual decision based on who has the best website or LinkedIn profile.  Face-to-face meetings, getting to know the key people, building trust, and fostering a partnership attitude will always be staples in the success of any marketing professional.

Ken Lambert

Author

Ken works in new business development for Red Thread's Architectural Products department. Some of his writings have been featured in ARCHITECT magazine, constructiondive.com, and for U.S. Building News.

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