Fast food workers and cashiers are possibly the first to go in the everyday world. Their tasks involve repetitive work, a prime example for automisation to kick in. But in marketing terms, it gets a bit more complicated.
Repetitive website content creating and copywriting. The LA Times has automated reporting on earthquakes, by pulling generated information from the US Geological Survey site for weather patterns, fire hazards and traffic. In a South African context, this could result in reducing staff at the SA Weather Bureau for instance, but more importantly these kind of organisations could possibly focus more on their core business such as developing more accurate reports on various fronts, including sending fire warnings to rescue teams.
But wait, copywriting is also under threat. There is no need to have a BA or Honours in languages an automated process can actually write or suggest copy on the events of a sports game, is there? How much would a PR company rely on automated responses to negative press or customer complaints? Programmable or automated responses might just be the answer in a hectic PR consultant’s day!
The same goes for customer services and marketing representatives. Call centres and customer services from remote areas such as India can all become obsolete if computers could do the job. So there go the secretaries as well, because computers can easily set up and send out reminder meeting messages and requests, or issue a boarding pass based on provided flight information, hire a car or book accomodation in a hotel.
Who saw the 2015 Anomalisa movie? If you have not… it is releasing on 4 March in South Africa. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT6QJaS2a-U) It promises to be “The most Human film of the year” and mentions dialogue such as “What is special about each individual”, “Each one is extraordinary”… and “Our time is limited, we forget that.” This 90 minute movie was created by Kaufman and starred puppets as real life characters – not one actor was featured. Not all critics were all impressed by the movie, but it was surely a wake-up call for actors! By the way it has won the Grand Jury Award at the Venice Film Festival!
Think for a minute where media agencies could and should be automated. Surely it’s already happening with buying functions smooth-lining the financial functions in a media agency. To some degree I also think that implementation planning can be targeted, especially where there are immediate sales or uptake reports needed. The benefit would surely be less human mistakes with fewer financial consequences.
Automisation is no more complicated than creating an algorithm if sales are down to increase marketing messaging in certain platforms like digital, radio and print advertising!
My prediction is that the number of creative executions could also be curtailed which will have a major impact on creative agency income, but could come as a cost saving for clients. Programmatic media buying is not a mere option any more, but is here to stay and create efficiencies of economy and time. Humans writing strategy on the other hand will possibly still be around, however I predict that the strategy writing could also be automated once the computer has learned the appropriate behaviour and action required.
Are customers and marketers going to be frustrated? Some say yes, because of the socialability nature of the human to speak to anther human. Others say no, because efficiency can only increase to make our lives better.
One thing is for certain: we need to ensure that we hire the right people to handle not only the media work, but that can handle or programme computers as well. Speak of diversifying in the media industry! Boy oh boy… may the computers never crash or have down time… we’ll all be frustrated and in a world of trouble! But a time will come where there would be no more need to persuade clients and media owners of the most appropriate route to take: Automation will speak louder than human reasoning!