It's smart to re-evaluate your skill set regularly, whether technological developments are likely to affect your work soon or not. According to two experts, John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas, the value of any skill you have declines by 50 per cent every five years. However, marketers who want to succeed in a technology-driven world have even more reason to take advantage of personal development opportunities when they arise.
So what skills will marketers need as the industry becomes more reliant on AI? Here are ten that we think will be essential.
1. IT Knowledge
It might sound obvious, but you'll need to know quite a lot about IT. Only 46 per cent of marketers surveyed last year understood what AI's capabilities are, so if you do, you'll be at an advantage. If you're already working in tech marketing, you may well be up to speed with what terms like machine learning, augmented reality and natural language processing mean, but it's also important to boost your understanding of specific AI-based marketing tools.
2. Data Analysis Expertise
Recent research has revealed that 59 per cent of B2B marketers believe they'll be able to use AI-driven technology to find potential customers and 40 per cent think using it will make it easier for them to identify macro market trends. Therefore, you could see it being utilised more often in these areas first. However, while increased application of machine learning will mean that you can automatically analyse more customer data, you'll still need to interpret the results. Improving your data analysis skills could be the key to success when it comes to designing well-targeted campaigns.
3. Qualitative Research Skills
While quantitative data can be extracted and analysed by AI-powered machines with ease, you can't rely on this information alone. By analysing statistical information, you can certainly get an idea of what content your website visitors view most, how far into their contracts they're likely to be when they decide to go elsewhere and which leads are most likely to generate sales. However, to truly understand your customers, you'll need to listen to them. You can use traditional qualitative market research techniques, such as telephone interviews or focus groups, but you can also learn a lot from social media or use chatbots to collect this data if you have the know-how.
4. The Ability to Apply Rules and Ethical Guidelines Appropriately
As AI-fuelled technology increases the amount of client data that businesses can collect and analyse, it will become even more important to stay on the right side of the law. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in Europe earlier this year, for example, imposes strict rules about what personal data companies can collect and how it can be used and stored. Marketers employing high-tech data collection and analysis programs will need to have an in-depth understanding of privacy law and think about the ethical implications of everything they do. While this is likely to be even more crucial for B2C marketers because of the type of data they'll be collecting, B2B marketers will need to be aware of these issues too.
5. Emotional Intelligence
A number of tech companies have already developed platforms and applications that can tap into human emotions. UK-based RealEyes, for example, monitors and interprets people's emotional responses in order to analyse the effectiveness of video content as it's being viewed. While Mordor Intelligence predicts that the global market for emotion detection and recognition (EDR) technology is set to grow by 32.7 percent in the next five years, however, it's not capable of replacing humans yet. Developing emotional intelligence will enable you to empathise with your customers and gain greater insight into their needs and behaviour. You can then apply this knowledge to your campaigns.
6. Creative Talent
All this talk about data analysis and IT platforms might make you think that AI will transform marketing into a science. However, you'll still need to come up with creative ideas. In fact, with so many facts and figures available to you, it's going to be even more important to be able to see the big picture. While discussions about how machine learning can improve lead management, data segmentation and other analytical work are common at the moment, this type of technology has huge potential elsewhere and B2C businesses are already harnessing its power. If you're working in tech marketing, for example, you could consider using AR-powered adverts or interactive brochures as part of your strategy in order to make your business stand out.
7. A Flair for Content Creation
Content is still likely to be king in future, so keep your skills sharp. While some news outlets, such as the Washington Post, are already using AI-driven technology to produce stories, copy produced by this type of software tends to be short and statistically-based. For now, content like thought pieces and videos still need the human touch. You'll find plenty of AI-based content marketing tools to assist you in the creation process, so knowing what's available will be crucial. These applications can help you to do everything from analysing the type of content that will keep your target market engaged to checking that your grammar and optimisation techniques are up to scratch. You'll also be able to use this type of technology to personalise content for your customers. However, this may mean you need to create more if you want to successfully deliver your content marketing plan.
8. A Knack for Planning
As machine learning and similar forms of technology develop, marketers will be able to automate many basic administrative and analytical tasks. 53 per cent of B2B marketers who responded to a 2017 survey said that using artificial intelligence would mean that daily jobs would take less time to complete, so expectations are clearly high. However, having access to more information could mean that marketers lose focus more easily. Therefore, you'll need first-class time management and delegation skills if you want to stay on track.
9. An Aptitude for Adaptability
While it's easy to see the potential that AI has, predicting exactly how it will change the marketing industry is more difficult. The technology is expected to be responsible for boosting the UK's annual GDP growth by 1.2 percent in the next ten years, however, so it's not something businesses can ignore. When it comes to tech marketing, the ability to adapt to the latest trends and technology is particularly important, as your customers will notice if you're behind the times. Therefore, if you have the ability to spot the next big thing and change your strategy to incorporate it, your business could reap the rewards.
10. A Desire to Learn
Having an unquenchable thirst for knowledge is already an asset for marketers and that's not likely to change. Whether you're trying to find out as much as you can about your customers and prospects or learning about the latest AI-based programs on the market, your efforts could add value to your business.