The Marketing Singularity

Many people are familiar with the idea of the singularity; the point at which sentient artificially intelligent machines can build smarter versions of themselves, which according to Ray Kurzweil will take place in the next 30 years, but I wonder if the Marketing Singularity might precede that. The marketing singularity would take place when technology takes over from humans in creating developing and running marketing campaigns from start to finish.

This is not so far-fetched as it might seem. The drive in marketing towards individualised, highly contextual real time communication is already taking place and indeed forms an element of The Connected Marketer approach.  The combination of digital technologies available today will allow us to deliver personalised marketing at scale. Indeed, the sheer scale of engaging with individuals on a one to one basis necessitates the use of technology.

This will of course rely on holding huge amounts of personal data on individuals and require the technology capable of creating, delivering, responding, and managing the messaging. Almost all of this technology exists in some form or other already.

Any follower of Scott Brinkler’s site will see the growing complexity of managing the tech required to deliver this highly personalised approach. Managing the technology stack is going to become too difficult for many marketers, if it isn’t already. It requires them to develop completely new skills rarely taught in university or indeed within many corporate learning development programmes.

So will marketers face the choice of handing over everything to machine learning and artificial intelligence to meet the needs of connected individuals? No (at least not for a long time yet). It seems certain that execution will be increasingly automated, but there will still be a huge role for imagination, creativity, storytelling and problems solving. Humans don’t behave in rational ways so the need to understand connected individuals will continue to be essential.

What is far more certain is that marketers are going to have to get to grips with the new technologies better than most are doing today. This means a commitment to life long learning among other things. It also means building a better understanding of the future role of marketers as managers of multiple channels, technologies and solutions.

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