Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Automation of Targeting

Is the end of the marketing analyst near? This question seems almost insane, since the job market for quantitative driven marketers is as good as rarely before. But the last years have seen a significant shift from manual data analysis and derived marketing programs to a software based automation of targeting. There were quite a few near failures like Epiphany at the beginning of the 21st century but the landscape has changed. Google has created its complete business model based on algorithm driven relevant messages and the marriage of consumer intent with most relevant offer without involving any marketing analyst.

The Googlization of most media channels is nothing else as the expansion of the “Search” marketing pattern (algorithm driven real time match between intent and message/offer) to any kind of media. And still, there are two very different business models between Google type firms and most Marketing Service providers: One is based on automated software solutions that incorporate smart upfront thinking of analysts (all translated into code), the other is based on smart individuals who use software solutions to derive the right marketing program with significant lag time. It seems pretty apparent, who will win in the long run.

Most marketing services’ traditional strength on designing targeted programs in the last mile of interaction between brand and consumer (nowadays the last mile is real time and takes not even a second) is not just threatened but could vanish sooner than most of us envision. The trend of Targeting Automation will decrease the dependence on smart people (for which clients have to pay for) and will move budgets to algorithm infused soft- and hardware solutions and services (=AdSense).

Therefore I believe that the future of marketing analysts is not in the last mile of optimizing the 10% of the last mile of brand/consumer interaction but in strategically changing the full 100% marketing investments against any relevant marketing dimension (e.g. Geography, Segment, and Product). The end for marketing analysts is not near at all but the need for changing our work focus is critical in providing value.


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