I’m a huge fan of digital marketing automation. I have written extensively about SEM automation here and all of my favorite platforms. One of loyal readers, ppcKnight, wrote in with a super interesting question. (Thank you ppcKnight for reading and for the question, you rule!) I have pasted ppcKnight’s full question below, and here’s the main punchline: Will automation eliminate careers in digital marketing? Today, I will respond to ppcKnight’s question. Preview: I’ll share why automation is absolutely critical. It enhances and grows careers in digital marketing.
Will SEM Automation Eliminate My Career?
Hi Ian, remember me? Long time ago I asked some questions about work-life balance in PPC and you gave some brilliant answers! I now have a new, very important question, and would appreciate to hear your thoughts on that.
I am still at the same company (client side) and am the global PPC Manager. My role is less technical and more… marketing. Recently, our tech guys helped the Director of Online Marketing automate everything (you surely have heard about AdWords API etc) thereby making 80% of the PPC team redundant. That was a lot!
I have heard of slightly similar stories in other client-side PPC departments/teams – If this trend continues, will in-house/client-side PPC become extinct as a career? If not, how can a PPC professional be more valuable than automation, especially in-house/client-side?
Would really really appreciate to hear your thoughts on this, especially because I love my job, I love PPC, but I don’t want to be replaced by a machine…
My 2 Cents On Digital Marketing Automation and Digital Marketing Careers
I’m here to say that SEM automation absolutely does not eliminate careers in digital marketing. In fact, it enhances them! Here’s why:
- Digital marketing is getting more and more complex by the day! Digital marketing professionals are doing even more than before, with no end in sight. Many digital marketing professionals are expanding from Google AdWords and Bing Ads to manage new programs such as Facebook, LinkedIn, display advertising, retargeting, and so more. Many digital marketers are taking control of new programs, including the customer experience. I, for one, love utilizing ion interactive for building incredibly sophisticated landing page experiences. Many digital marketing professionals are venturing into other closely related marketing channels such as email marketing and even direct mail. Many digital marketers are testing new beta opportunities on Google AdWords and Bing Ads, expanding the sophistication of their core programs. The only way to scale, in my opinion, is via automation. Automate as much as possible so you can focus on new initiatives and new complexities. Automation is your key to career growth.
- Advertising dollars are shifting online at a rapid pace. Competition in many/most categories is increasing with little relief in site. The only way to keep your edge? Innovation! Marketers are being challenged to push the limits of digital advertising. I’m a huge proponent of automation because it offers precision and scale. Let computers do the manual stuff so you can focus on clever new strategies to outsmart your competition. As marketers we are judged on performance. Automation is your friend in hitting your numbers and goals.
- Humans are incredibly smart and creative. As marketers we deserve to be thinking about marketing strategy. I’m talking about truly knowing the customer and crafting amazing campaigns. This vision becomes so much more possible with great automation. Automate the routine, manual tasks so you can focus on the higher level strategy. While automation may change the day-to-day of many online marketers (less manual, repetitive work), those same marketers will now be focused on new, more exciting challenges. Automation grows careers and allows marketers to push our industry forward with new strategies.
- Automation requires incredibly intelligent marketers to set up and manage the system. Many savvy marketers are integrating automation deeply into their organizations. They’re starting to import CRM data into their bid management platform so the automation can bid even more efficiently. Such integration requires a truly seasoned marketer, one who can work cross-functionally throughout their organization. There are always more opportunities to integrate. There are always increased opportunities to leverage automation in new ways. Platforms are always releasing new features that will help you and your company scale. Exciting work for digital marketing professionals, especially those that can manage the technology platforms, has no end in sight!
- Automation helps grow teams. I have managed digital marketing programs at four large companies during my career in online advertising. In all four cases, we implemented and grew our automation. In all four cases, we actually ended up expanding our teams as automation grew. Why? Complex programs need amazing teams. As programs grow, companies make more money. With more money, comes more responsibility and more future opportunity. There’s no better way to tap into that opportunity than to hire world class marketers. As someone who has embraced automation for ten years, I have never seen automation actually shrink a digital marketing team. It’s always the other way around!
This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but just a few of the top reasons why careers in SEM and digital advertising are here to stay. In my opinion, technology and automation increase the need for talented individuals. What do you think? How has automation impacted your team and digital marketing program? Do you leverage a digital marketing technology platform? If not, make sure to start auditioning right away, you will be super impressed!
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