70: Exploring new paths to future-proof your marketing career in the age of AI

What’s up folks. This is part 3 of our deep dive into AI impacts on marketing jobs.

I want to start off by apologizing that this episode might be a bit rusty, I’m attempting to record this while fully sleep deprived thanks to a 1 week old newborn at home. Our daughter arrived nice and early and, yeah it’s been a wild change in sleeping patterns haha.

In our first episode we introduced the topic and covered how fast AI could replace marketing jobs and what the transition might look like. In episode 2 we covered ways marketers can stay up to date with the latest advancements in AI.  

Next up, 

3. Practical changes and new areas marketers can invest in (today)

4. Find the top AI marketing tools and filter out the noise

Here’s today’s main takeaway: 

  • AI is already disrupting martech but in 5-10 years our jobs are likely going to look very different. Now is the time to figure out if you need to make changes to your current area of speciality in order to future proof your career. 
  • Ask yourself if you should double down on additional areas like data and API services, getting closer to product and customers or starting to learn about ethics and data privacy.
  • Today we’ll help you reflect on different options to investigate as you navigate through this future landscape and what job titles of the future might be in store for marketers.

Here’s a quick outline of some of the new marketing areas to potentially focus on that might future proof your career if AI becomes as big as some are predicting


  • AI tech implementation, find ways to use AI and automate tasks
  • Data and API services, exposing data from your business to let AI assistants leverage them
  • Getting closer to product and customers, deeply understanding customers is always going to be something hard for AI to replicate
  • Copywriting, generative AI is great at creating the familiar but can’t yet create the new
  • Ethics, privacy and responsibility, AI is really bad at displaying the POVs of underrepresented groups
  • And a look into the future at emerging tech, trying to guess some future job titles for marketers

I have to admit, what spurred this whole AI series and what led to my diving into the rabbit hole was a genuine fear, or at least serious contemplation about whether I needed to focus on new marketing areas or pivot in some case.

New marketing areas to focus on

Yeah it’s a totally valid question and probably something a lot of marketers are wondering. 

Phil you had a great episode previously (part 2) that covered how we can stay informed… let’s chat about what you can do practically about your current situation or at least start thinking about career transition strategies. 

Some of you listening or reading today are probably already in a really nice spot. Our podcast mission is to future-proof the humans behind the tech and if you’re already working with marketing tech you’re in a really nice position to continue the shift towards additional AI and automation. 

We talked a bit about this in the first part of our series – but I think that AI developments represent that same type of shift that we’ve seen in the past. The change always seems bigger when you look back historically, but living through these developments are step functions not quantum leaps.

Still – it bears repeating – the pace of change in AI is far faster than other emerging tech we’ve seen in the past. I think while the tech is moving blazingly fast, there is already considerable pressure to throttle development. 

One thing that is highlighted in that Goldman Sachs fear report about Millions of jobs being replaced by AI is that despite losing millions of jobs, AI may also mean new jobs and a productivity boom.

The report cited that 60% of workers are in occupations that did not exist 80 years ago. Think about aht for a second. 

I think that all you have to do to see how fast things are going is to pay attention to the developments coming out of ChatGPT. I’ve used it a bit and it’s mind blowing what you can do with it. 

I asked it to design a workout plan for me based on my age and fitness factors. I specifically told it that I couldn’t be sore or too tired while I ramped up – I chase 4 young kids at home, after all. The plan it designed is solid.

I think the bigger factor isn’t how to apply this tech, it’s how quickly will use cases become common place. It’s easy to think of an AI reading all your docs and chat logs and then operating as a support chatbot – but how fast are teams going to move on this type of work? What type of engineering is required by the existing team to get this in place? Why do we assume they’ll automatically lose their jobs? Is it possible the extra efficiency can free up time to be spent on higher order tasks? Have you met a support team that isn’t overrun with requests and also have big ideas on how to improve customer success? 

There’s a process to tech adoption, and I think it has as much to do with confidence in the tools, concerns around ethics/privacy, and actually figuring out how to implement this stuff.

Every week there’s like hundreds of new AI tools coming out. We’ll talk in our next episode about some of those tools but obviously the first new marketing area to focus on is AI tech implementation.

While the tech is new, the process of adoption is as old as time itself.

AI tech implementation

This might actually not be that new in fact. Scott Brinker recently surveyed martech folks and the most popular task in this role is to research and recommend new tools. Some of those new tools are just going to be predominantly AI driven.

Most of the Twitter bros are in two buckets right now:

  • AI is going to replace every job
  • AI won’t replace your job… BUT Someone who uses AI will replace your job if you fail to integrate it.

I think it benefits a lot of people on social media to stoke fears to generate buzz – and while there’s some truth to that, sure, one could also make an argument that AI could unlock an economic golden age.

The question isn’t about the technology – it’s about human nature.

As an individual contributor, I think AI will feel like a super power. There is no doubt that there is an opportunity out there for tech savvy marketers to use AI to level up and accelerate their own work. I think it’s fair to say we’ll see general adoption and benefits as well. 

Let’s unpack this.

Peep lays it out nicely here, a nice niche for marketers is Ops folks who continue to find ways to use AI to automate tasks and find new efficiencies.

He calls marketing Ops folks the new resident AI tech implementation experts, I really dig this angle.  

As mentioned, we’ve got a full episode on tools coming up but a nice place to start when it comes to implementing AI tools is: Data, personalization, media, chat

  • Data, can you find ways to democratize data in more ways than you are currently?
  • Personalize email, this one’s obvious for anyone working in marketing automation but this is going beyond marketing emails, can you help out with smarter sales-rep flows or outreach?
  • Media, how many marketers on the team are spending too much time writing, podcasting or creating images and design that could at least be sped up for AI tools?
  • Personalize chat, this one isn’t new but can you improve the current chat tools that are used by the demand gen team on your site, or the bots in your customer support team or the Intercom bot you have in your product? 

If you’re on the more technical side of digital marketing – like SEO or operations – you’re probably not a stranger to data models and APIs. I think a lot of marketers are used to the idea of these more technical integrations – but if we take a closer look at being the person on the ground implementing these tools, you realize you need to integrate AI with your current tech stack. 

There’s a puzzle here – and that’s where Data and API services come into play

Data and API services

I’ll go back to the grandfather of martech here, Scott Brinker, predicts that the future of content is Data and API services. 

Exposing data and models programmatically from your business to let AI assistants leverage them in the answers they deliver. AI optimized content will be the new SEO.

Scott also wrote the other day that AI has caused significant disruption in SEO and not just limited to Google alone, but he calls it code red for the entire digital marketing industry.

  • Scott talks about composability, assembling different software components
  • Hubspot’s ChatSpot is built on top of CGPT + HubspotCRM + Google Docs
    • So it’s using NLP with domain specific data sources that you use
    • CGPT4 introduced plugins, including Zapier, and any apps you have connected to it

Personalization is a huge topic and outcome of AI but anyone who works in martech or marketing ops knows that today every company’s data is a total mess so adding AI and new tools isn’t going to magically fix this.

Personalization is easily a hot button use case in our current environment as privacy and security is a critical issue for marketers.

Brands would love the ability to use AI to custom tailor advertising copy based on known personas. A company could come along and use a huge, global database to create a segments based on behaviour across platforms. 

So AI implementation and data integrations, those seem pretty seamless for martech folks and you might be thinking, well duh naturally, I was going to do this anyway.

What if you want to take this in a different direction though. I’ll propose two marketing areas that you might want to explore getting more experience in that might be better suited for AI future proofing: product marketing and customer marketing.

Getting closer to product growth marketing

You might be thinking that lots of folks are saying product and design are going to be supplanted by AI tools… Sure AI can help generate several product wireframes. But is AI capable of producing “leap of faith” concepts derived from customer empathy and genuine conversations with your clients?

Part of a product manager and a product marketer’s job is focused on creativity and innovation. While AI systems are already really great at generating content and analyzing data, they rely on current data and patterns to generate this content. Product marketers have the unique ability to think outside the trained data set, generate new ideas, and approach problems from unconventional angles. AI can suggest multiple positioning statements and message maps but this is largely based on a huge volume of product statements, including 90% of really bad product statements. We don’t yet have the ability to generate content based on the top 10% of content.

Testing is always contentious within tech companies. Regardless of how big your company is, you don’t have time to test all 100+ variations of your product. You need a team of growth product marketers to prioritize experiments and the pov to recommend top few ideas to spend resources to test.

Getting closer to customers and community

Roles that are focused on conversations with other humans and building communities are well positioned to thrive during AI tool implementations. Many consumers prefer human interactions, and human marketers may still be better able to connect with consumers on an emotional level.

Replacing empathy will be hard. Understanding your customers on a deep level involves knowing their 

  • mindset, 
  • problems, 
  • desires, 
  • needs, 
  • wants, 
  • values, 
  • appreciation, 
  • and what connects with them. 

Former SHOP marketer Kevin Indig said it really well:

Developing empathy can help you 

  • position your brand, 
  • design, write better copy, 
  • create resonating offers, 
  • differentiate, 
  • understand the market, 
  • find customers, 
  • comprehend their behavior, 
  • see things from their perspective, 
  • create exceptional content, 
  • and understand the customer journey.

Copywriters and storytellers

It’s fair to say that writing remains a distinctively human skill that is challenging for AI to duplicate. Hemingway’s distinctive style is because of Hemingway’s personal experiences, so even if someone can copy his writing style, it will never truly be the same.

So this is scarier for marketing copywriters who produce generic content. Time for them to shift gears, as their jobs could be replaced or are already being replaced. 

Aside from great and unique writing, one area AI is really bad at is cultural understanding. Grasping the cultural context and subtle nuances that influence human behavior and decision-making. Marketers, with their deep understanding of cultural and social factors, can create marketing campaigns that are culturally relevant, sensitive, and appealing to diverse audiences.

AI maintenance 

One area is the development and maintenance of AI systems… This could have a wide variety of tasks but generally revolve around ensuring that the AI systems remain efficient, accurate, and up-to-date. 

A big piece of this would be data management and regularly updating and cleaning datasets and adding new data points. 

You could include regularly monitoring the AI system’s performance to ensure it continues to deliver accurate results and meet desired objectives. 

System updates: AI tech will continue to evolve so this would be a never ending job so to speak, keep the system up-to-date by integrating new features, algorithms, or data sources. 

Ethics, privacy and responsibility

As AI becomes more widespread, focusing on ethics and privacy will be super important. AI is really bad at displaying the POVs of underrepresented groups. 

So dive into topics like ethical AI frameworks, data privacy regulations, and responsible AI usage.

Emerging tech

We won’t dive too much into these but I wanted to spend a bit of time looking into the future and trying to guess what emerging tech will be the norm and might be worth getting a leg up on today. I actually asked CGPT-4 to come with some of these, at first they were too short in their timeline but after a few prompts of looking further into the future, we got some pretty cool stuff:

I’ll explain each quickly and let you give your take JT.

Human-AI Collaboration Strategist: In a world where marketers work closely with AI systems, optimizing the synergy between human capital/creativity and your AI systems. Things you can do today are learning how AI systems work and how to best collaborate with them and train your team. 

Immersive Experience Designer: AR and VR are super interesting, holographic tech is even wilder. There’s a lot of smart people that think that we’ll live in a world where marketers will need to create immersive and interactive experiences to engage consumers… see the metaverse. Things you can do today would include learning AI tools that can assist in 3D design, doubling down on storytelling, and user experience. Meditating on the metaverse and how to craft memorable marketing campaigns in virtual spaces.

Personalization and Hyper-Targeting Specialist: This one is talked about a lot actually. AI will bring on this hyper-targeted form of personalization. This is possible today in a way, but it’s still super hard and not easy to accomplish. Things you can do today are play around with tools that spit out AI-generated insights as the trigger for these automated campaigns. Dive deep into composable CDPs. 

Okay so let’s step into the speculative future for a bit haha…

Neuromarketing Expert: This one’s a bit further out into the future but Elon is all over this. Eventually AI and neuroscience will converge in a big way. Marketers could have access to massive insights into consumer behavior and decision-making that are thought of as sci-fi today… think emotions and thoughts. Things you can do today: obviously dive into neuroscience and the marketing applications of the future, get a strong foundation in psychology and consumer behavior.

Telepathic/Mind-to-Brand Marketing Expert: This one’s even further out into the future… but there’s already advancements in this area. Scientists at the University of California claim to have already developed AI that can convert thought into text. If tech advances to enable direct communication between human minds and brands… shit is going to get wild haha… Things you can do today: Learn about developments in brain-computer interfaces, dive into how marketing messages can be crafted for this far future intimate communication channel.

Interplanetary Marketing Strategist: JT this one will be your favorite one LOL… AI is only going to help space exploration and colonization efforts, imagine a world where humans are living on different planets. We’re probably going to be busy with other things but marketers would need to come up with ways for reaching consumers across different planets or even solar systems haha. Things you can do today, read the Bobiverse series of books

What other areas are you thinking about? Hit us up!

  • Strategy, AI is already automating tasks and will do so to an even larger degree, but many experts believe strategic thinking, especially new novel ideas is going to be left to humans… at least probably in our lifetime. So one area to double down into might be enhancing your strategic thinking and creative problem-solving skills. 

You heard it here first folks:

  • The impact of AGI on the job market is difficult to predict in 5 years let alone 10. The only way to future proof your career and position yourself to thrive in an increasingly AI-driven economy is by
  • Finding new marketing areas to focus on like AI tech implementation, data and api services, getting closer to product and customers and much more

Okay… now the part you’ve all been waiting for… what about the tools? Which ones should we check out? How do we cut through the noise of useless tools?

That’s the next topic for part 4 of our AI series.


Intro music by Wowa via Unminus
Cover art created with Midjourney

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Future-proofing the humans behind the tech

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