Mad Men and Map Men: How AI Is Changing the Marketers of Tomorrow
The world of marketers is changing quickly. Emotionally driven advertising projects from fictional "mad men" like Don Draper have given way to more data-reliant "map men" — able to navigate a strategy using data and analytics — like Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Now a new factor is changing the game: Artificial Intelligence (AI).
As AI integrates into marketing functions from automated CRMs to campaign analytics, the first question most people ask is: Who will AI replace? In truth, it won’t replace anyone. Just as sophisticated calculators didn’t make accountants obsolete, AI won’t replace marketers. Rather, it will help them evolve.
If "mad men" and "map men" exemplify the pinnacles of marketing over the past half-century, then the AI era heralds a unique merger of the two. The CMO — and, increasingly, Chief Marketing Tech Officer (CMTO) — of tomorrow is not reliant on either intuition or data but rather a powerful integration of both to achieve an even higher level of success.
Marketers, AI and Resourcefulness
“A man is whatever room he is in.” —Don Draper
Marketing has a history of resourcefulness, and adding AI to the mix is no exception to this assessment.
For instance, in the 1950s and 1960s, a set of distinct circumstances drove a Draper-esque creative marketing style. Factors included the rise of American consumerism (and expendable incomes), the debut of credit cards, car and TV ownership, and a sense of patriotism attached to being a consumer.
In this creative marketing environment, a Don Draper-type was an easy sell: a creative, bold man of ideas to induce people to buy more stuff. So too was his creative marketing approach.
Jumping to Bezos and his behemoth company, very little is different about his resourcefulness, just circumstances. The rise of big data — the collection of data from every device, including mobile phones, cars, etc., not to mention online browsing habits — led to a personalization movement in marketing, which Bezos was keenly aware of when building Amazon into the household name it now is.
Instead of clustering around a giant television that dispensed suggestive commercials and idealistic lifestyles as done in Don Draper’s day, Americans now spend an average of one entire 24-hour-day per week online. Without a captive television audience, marketing had to change. And personalization, made possible through data collection and analytics, took hold. The advertising style of the "map men" era followed, with highly customized campaigns targeting specific audiences.
But now with AI, these habits are once again evolving.
How AI and Machine Learning are Changing the Marketer
Today’s businesses realize the value of having creatives in their marketing departments. And the same is true for the value of big data, with recent research predicting big data investments to go from $57 billion in 2017 to $76 billion by 2020. This is where AI comes in.
Marketing will be the primary generator and manager of data in business going forward. This explains why CMOs are projected to outspend CIOs for technology over the next few years. The reason is that marketers are generating so much data that one of the biggest challenges of the AI "machine" era will be in figuring out how to digest it into actionable information that can drive business, as well as personalization for customer experiences.
Machine learning can sift through massive amounts of data, but the technology on its own is incomplete. Machines don’t have the ability to read emotions, or judge narrative quality, for example. Without that ability, it hinders marketers’ visibility into the customer journey and prevents them from understanding how customers travel through digital touchpoints to get to a purchase. (E.g., buying a camera: Google search, search reviews, watch YouTube videos, chat with a photo retailer online, buy in-person, etc.).
Combine the typical customer journey with the various channels and marketing platforms where activity exists and you can conclude two big things about marketing’s evolution: Marketers are now more tech-savvy, and they’re reclaiming their inner Don Draper.
What the Future Holds for AI Marketers
While the fictional Draper warned that “our worst fears lie in anticipation,” the rise of AI-powered marketing will provide more confidence and clarity — not to mention creativity. And these capabilities will manifest in a more efficient use of resources and in being able to identify and engage with new customer segments.
In an era witnessing the rise of AI, a great marketing team will need narrative-savvy marketers who are equally adept at the technology skills necessary to handle data. A combination of creativity and a knack for deriving insights from analytics is what next-gen marketers will need to achieve success.
Chaitanya Chandrasekar is the CEO and Co-Founder of QuanticMind. Prior to this role, he built and managed the traffic acquisition platform and was part of the Data Science team at NexTag. His experience in the industry and knowledge of platforms led to his co-founding of QuanticMind. He strongly believes in the power of data technology, which can help decipher Big Data to unlock new ideas and opportunities. Chaitanya earned his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.