Mark Bowling
Mar 23, 2017

Will AI take away your marketing job?

PHD China explores the impact of future tech forces at ‘Predestination’ event.

Will AI take away your marketing job?




Marketing roles will be recast in the next two decades as inevitable technological forces—such as artificial intelligence—replacing existing tasks and functions, said PHD China at a conference held in Shanghai last week.


However, despite huge shifts in the way we do business and the use of algorithms leading to some roles becoming extinct, technology will create new roles, according to Mark Bowling, head of strategy at PHD China.


“The potential of AI is infinite. A future where machines reach human levels of intelligence and adopt an active role in our marketing jobs is a possibility that shouldn’t be discarded. AI will reveal new opportunities for brands and marketers, enabling new levels of data precision and analysis based on personal preferences, needs and endeavours instead of past experiences and tendencies" said Bowling. He went on to describe a future where machines will be able to predict what consumers want. Meanwhile, we'll be developing personalized, creative and impactful solutions with a newfound understanding of the consumer journey.


Bowling continued “Although some marketing roles will cease to exist in the next few decades, new ones will be created from continual developments in technology. You only need to look at the roles that have already come into existence in the past few years that didn’t exist a decade ago, such as SEO, social media management, ecommerce, marketing optimization. As repetitive tasks and jobs get replaced by AI, new roles will emerge in the management of further tech development. Recent AI breakthroughs have all required humans in some way and the hardest jobs to automate will be strategic planning and consumer insight.”


AI was just one of the subjects explored at PHD’s ‘Predestination’ event, coinciding with the launch of the agency’s bilingual booklet titled ‘Predestination: Where we are all heading’, which explores the marketing implications of technological forces that will shape our future. 


These inevitable trends, fuelled by digital innovation, offer opportunities for creative breakthroughs—from virtual reality in a multi-connected home and an on-demand economy, to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture, revolutionizing the way we buy, work, learn and communicate with each other.


The booklet builds on PHD’s collaboration with Wired magazine founder an visionary Kevin Kelly, author of “The Inevitable”, who partnered with PHD at last year’s Cannes Lions to explore tech trends.


According to Kelly “by understanding and embracing these forces, we will remain on top of the coming wave of changes and arrange our day-to-day relationships with technology in ways that will bring maximum benefit."


At the event, PHD clients and partners were invited to a showcase of technical innovations, including keynote speeches from PHD’s Mark Bowling, KIIP’s Brian Wong and Xiaomi’s Chen Gao Ming, and an interactive session to see and experience emerging technologies. A final discussion with a panel of experts focused on the types of changes the marketing industry will be forced to make, and the emerging (and disappearing) jobs that these changes will bring. This led to an eye-opening audience Q&A session on how to prepare for this upcoming shift.


Lars Bjorge, chief digital officer, PHD China shared, “AI will amplify our work and allow our ideas to evolve in a new environment. With the rise of virtual personal assistants (VPA), we will no longer be persuading humans, but algorithms that select and buy on our behalf...the future of marketing will be algorithms making the necessary arrangements to skilfully appeal and sell to our consumer’s VPA."


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