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7 areas where it shines and struggles

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7 areas where it shines and struggles

AI is changing our world even if we can’t see it. It’s helping us navigate to places faster, get products into our hands and even diagnose diseases. In this article, though, I want to explore the role AI can have in marketing. It may not be as grandiose as helping cure cancer but marketing needs to reckon with the role of AI in its world.

This is a timely article, especially since ChatGPT went viral. If you haven’t been following the news, ChatGPT is a project by OpenAI, a company working on driving making AI tangible in the business world. It functions like any kind of chatbot where you can ask all kinds of questions and get answers back in seconds.

The “cool” factor is that you can ask highly specific questions and get back answers that could have been written by a human. For example, I asked ChatGPT to tell me the three most important elements in marketing but to give me the answer in the form of a haiku.

Here’s what I got back.

The trouble with AI is sorting through the hype. Parlor tricks like my haiku question are cool, especially on Linkedin. But we need to get to the essence of the value AI can provide while being clear on what it cannot do. Here are a few guidelines for thinking about AI in 2023 and beyond. 

Dig deeper: Why we care about AI in marketing

Where AI shines right now

AI is still in its early stages. Despite what you may see and hear in conferences and Linkedin posts, AI still has a long way to go. It can do several things quite well but it still struggles with others.

If you read or follow certain people, you would think we are just a few months away from living in a Black Mirror episode where AI rules everything.

Keep in mind that some use cases of AI — such as self-driving cars — have been “10 years away” for more than 50 years. I don’t doubt that we will accomplish certain feats but it will take longer than expected. 

In the meantime, here are the areas where AI can legitimately help marketing teams. 

1. Cleaning data

Marketers have a love-hate relationship with Google Sheets. It’s common to encounter dirty data that needs to be cleaned before it can be used.

I recently helped a team clean an Excel file with hundreds of contact requests structured in the worst way possible. AI — and even ChatGPT — can help you here.

There are now Google Sheets extensions that sort through your data and apply transformations. You even see the beginning of this kind of shortcut built into Google Sheets directly by suggesting formulas you can use.

2. Transcribing videos

Video captions are huge in today’s world — just look at any TikTok video. Luckily transcribing is becoming easier with AI, and it’s surprisingly accurate. 

You can do it after the video is recorded or even in real time. The addition of subtitles provides all kinds of benefits and you no longer need a human to give you great captions. 

3. Creating assets

The days of Getty images might be over. AI can create images or assets of all kinds. I saw a project that creates human avatars to be used in marketing. The assets look realistic and don’t carry complex usage licenses.

There will still be demand for pictures of real places and events but other artistic work will be slowly replaced by AI-generated images.

4. Surfacing insights

Tools like Google Analytics are using AI to surface insights from your data. Some insights are pointless, while others are worth exploring. Expect to see more of this kind of data analysis as a way to sort through the increasing amount of data that marketing teams collect.

Marketers do not lack data, but insights. AI might finally be the breakthrough that allows us to dig through a never-ending pile of data points. 

Dig deeper: ChatGPT to support digital experience analytics

Where AI struggles

We are not being replaced by AI — yet. Maybe poem writers might struggle to find work but AI can’t match certain human skills. The debate on whether this will always be true is a topic for another article.

AI should be viewed as support for marketing. You will still need real humans for several tasks, but thanks to AI, you can free up your time to tackle the three areas below. 

5. Creativity

AI can surface insights but creativity is still the realm of humans. Deciding what campaigns to run, how to appeal to human desires and how to bring it all together is something only humans can do.

Kayak recently ran ads — the Kayak Deniers — that were brainstormed by AI. They looked at the language and topics that were popular in social media and then created ads around them. 

They are clever but will be less impressive once everyone starts doing them. If everyone is using the same algorithms, you will end up with the same answers. Hence, the value of human creativity.

6. Uniqueness

While AI text may be factual, it is missing the unique voice of humans. We all know authors we could recognize by simply reading a few sentences of their writing. You can still infuse the concept of a voice into all your content.

AI will kill boring content that simply states facts. That’s probably for the best. If someone wants the facts about B2B marketing, they should go to Wikipedia. If they want to solve their problems, they need humans to help them.

7. Strategy

Humans still need to figure out the strategy. Making these decisions isn’t just about looking at the data but taking into account a variety of factors. Sometimes marketing teams have to make choices that don’t match the data because their experience (a.k.a., gut) says so.

We can see this play out in the chess world. World-class players like Magnus Carlsen rely heavily on AI to prepare for matches and run through different positions. However, during games, Carlsen is known to make the opposite move a computer would recommend. He knows that his opponents are looking at the same data creating an opportunity to make unexpected decisions.

Expect to see more companies rely on AI and then be surprised when competitors make seemingly “wrong” moves that work. Strategy will simply evolve to take into account what kinds of algorithms other companies might be using and how they can be defeated. 

Dig deeper: 17 AI-powered writing tools and how to make best use of them

AI is here to stay

The rise of AI will continue. You would be surprised at how much this innovation touches today, but most of it happens behind the scenes. AI is freeing us from mundane tasks so we can focus on those things that truly matter.

We must embrace AI and use it to drive revenue and growth within our teams. In an era of decreasing budgets and higher expectations, marketing needs to pour more resources into creativity with fewer people. AI will help bridge that by becoming one of your most effective unpaid assistants.


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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About the author

Ruben Ugarte

Ruben Ugarte is the global expert in Decisions, Strategy, and Data and author of the Data Mirage and Bulletproof Decisions. He helps executives at the most innovative medium and large enterprises find their hidden treasures and use them to dramatically boost performance, increase profitability, and make their teams world-class. He has done this across five continents and in three languages. His ideas have helped hundreds of thousands of people make better decisions.

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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]

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Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand

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MARKETING

MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow

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MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.


Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 


Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.


Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.


Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/MarketingOps.com, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 


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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

If you’re thinking about getting a degree at any age, it makes sense to think about the value of that degree. Is the qualification needed for the career you want? Are there alternative paths to that career? Can you develop better skills by gaining experience in work? 

All of these are perfectly valid questions. After all, getting a degree requires a pretty large investment of both time and money. You want to know that you’ll get enough return on that investment to make it worthwhile.

Why marketing?

When it comes to marketing, a lot of entry-level jobs list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement. That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternate ways to get into marketing but having a relevant degree certainly makes your resume more competitive. 

Growth industry

Marketing skills are in demand in the current jobs market. According to a recent report from LinkedIn, marketing job posts grew 63% in just six months last year. Half of those jobs were in the digital and media sectors, meaning digital and content marketing skills are highly valued

Personal Development & Career Path

The reason for this increased demand for marketers is tied to the rise in digital marketing. New methods of marketing have continued to develop out of the digital sector. This means that marketers capable of creating engaging content or managing social media accounts are needed.

This leaves a lot of room for personal development. Young graduates who are well-versed in social media and community management can hit the ground running in digital marketing. Getting on this path early can lead to content strategist and marketing management positions.    

What are the Types of Marketing Degrees?

When we say marketing degree, the term is a bit too general. There are a lot of degree paths that focus on marketing in major or minor ways. The level of degree available will depend on your current education history, but the specific course will be down to your personal choice. 

Associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s?

Recent statistics suggest that 74% of US marketing professionals hold a bachelor’s degree. 9% have an associate degree and 8% have a master’s degree. Here’s a quick overview of the differences. 

Associate degrees – 2-year courses that cover marketing and business in a more basic way than bachelor’s qualifications. They’re designed to give students the basic skills needed to apply for entry-level marketing jobs.   

Bachelor’s degrees – 3/4-year courses that cover business and economics. There is a range of bachelor’s courses with marketing at their core, but you’ll also cover wider business topics like management, communication, and administration. 

Master’s degrees – 2-year courses, usually only available if you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree. MA or MBA courses are designed to develop a deep understanding of complex business topics. They are highly specific, covering areas like strategic marketing or marketing analytics. 

Free to use image from Pixabay

Marketing Specific or Business General? 

This is down to personal choice. There are general business degrees that will cover marketing as a module as well as marketing-specific degrees. There are also multiple universities and colleges, both offline and online, offering different course platforms

If you’re looking at a specific job role or career path, then research which type of degree is most relevant. Remember that you will need to add to your marketing skills if you intend to progress to management roles in the future. 

Check the Modules & Curriculum

This is important, and not only because it lets you see which courses align with your career goals. Marketing has changed significantly over the last decade, even more so if you go back to before the digital age. Many business courses are still behind on current marketing trends. 

What Jobs Look for a Marketing Degree?

Once you’ve got your marketing qualification, what jobs should you be looking for? Here are some job titles and areas you should watch out for, and what qualifications you’ll need for them.

Entry level

If you’re starting with a degree and no experience, or work experience but no degree, take a look at these roles. 

  • Sales/customer service roles – These are adjacent roles to marketing where most companies do not ask for prior qualifications. If you don’t have a degree, this is a good place to start.
  • Marketing or public relations intern – Another possibility if you don’t have a degree, or you’re still in education. 
  • Digital/content marketing associate – These roles will almost always require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. A good grasp of new digital and social marketing techniques will be required to succeed. 
  • Copywriter/Bid writer – This is a good route into marketing for those with journalism or literature qualifications. These roles combine aspects of marketing, creative writing, and persuasive writing. 
  • SEO specialist – A more focused form of marketing centered on SEO content optimization. If you know how to optimize a blog post for search engine rankings, this role is for you. Bachelor’s or associate qualifications will be a minimum requirement. 
  • Social media/community manager – Since these are relatively new roles, we tend to see a mix of degree-qualified marketers and people who’ve had success fostering communities or online brands but don’t have on-paper credentials.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

Career Progression

If you have an MA or MBA, or significant experience in one of the above roles, then you can look at these more advanced roles for your career progression.

  • Digital Marketing Manager – A role for experienced marketers that involves running campaigns and coordinating marketing associates. 
  • Senior Marketing Coordinator – A department management level role. Responsible for overall marketing strategy and departmental performance.  
  • Content Strategist – A specialist role that focuses on content strategy. Designing content plans based on demographic and keyword research are a core aspect of this role. 
  • Marketing Analyst – This role involves analyzing customer behaviors and market trends. If you want to move into analysis from a more direct marketing role, you’ll likely need specific data analysis qualifications. 
  • Public Relations Specialist – The public voice of a large organization’s PR team. Managing a brand’s public perception and setting brand-level communication policies like tone of voice.   
  • Experiential Marketing Specialist – This area of marketing is focused on optimizing the customer experience. Experiential specialists have a deep understanding of customer psychology and behaviors. 
  • Corporate Communications Manager – Communications managers are responsible for company-wide communications policies. This is an executive-level role that a marketing coordinator or public relations manager might move up to. 

Average marketing salaries

Across all the roles we’ve discussed above, salaries vary widely. For those entry-level roles, you could be looking at anything from $25 – $40K depending on the role and your experience. 

When it comes to median earnings for marketers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, we can get a bit more specific. Recent statistics from Zippia show us that $69,993 p/a is the average for bachelor’s degree holders and $80,365 p/a for master’s degree marketers. 

Image sourced from Zippia.com

Marketing Degree Pros and Cons

So, the question we asked above was “Is a marketing degree worth it?” Yet, in truth, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. The question you need to ask is “Is a marketing degree right for me?” Here’s a summary of the pros and cons that might give you some answers.  

Pros

  • Degree holders have better job prospects and higher earnings potential in marketing
  • You can study highly specific skills with the right courses
  • Gain soft skills like communication and collaboration

Cons

  • High time and money investment required 
  • Diminishing salary returns at higher levels
  • Can be a restrictive environment for self-starters and entrepreneurs

What are Marketing Degree Alternatives?

If you want to stick with education but don’t want to invest four years into a degree, then accredited online courses can provide an alternative. This can be your best choice if you wish to upskill in a specific area like running conference calls from Canada

If higher education really isn’t your thing, the other option is gaining experience. Some businesses prefer internships and training programs for entry-level roles. This allows them to train marketers “their way” rather than re-training someone with more experience.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

How to Decide if a Marketing Degree is Right for You

Ultimately, choosing to do a marketing degree depends on your goals, your preferences, and your talents. Consider all three factors before making your choice. 

Career Goals

Do you want a management position that needs marketing knowledge? What areas of marketing interest you? What skills do you already possess? Answering these three questions will help you define your career path. That will narrow down your course choices. 

If you want to get better at selling small business phone systems in Vancouver, you don’t need a four-year course for that. If you want to develop into high-level marketing roles, then you want that degree. 

Personality

You don’t need a specific personality type to work in marketing. Your personality and interests might determine what area of marketing would suit you best though. For example, if you’re outgoing and creative then public relations or social media management might be for you.    

Investment & Return

Money isn’t everything. But, if you’re going to put the resources into getting a degree, you want to know that you’ll get some return on your investment. From the figures we quoted above, it seems the “optimal” qualification in terms of salary return vs. time and money investment is a bachelor’s degree. 

Average earnings for marketers with a master’s qualification were only $10k higher. This suggests that you’re not really getting a significant financial return for the additional investment. Of course, if that master’s leads to your dream job, you might see it differently.  

Final Thoughts: Forge Your Own Path

Is a marketing degree worth it in 2023? The short answer is yes. Whether that means a marketing degree is right for you, we can’t tell you. Hopefully, though, this guide has given you the information you need to make that choice. 



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