Can Marketing Managers be Replaced by Bots?

Scott Brinker recently posed the question of whether marketing managers could one day be replaced by computers. He writes, "Do you think computers and software could run marketing as well as humans? Or better? Skeptics and humanists — which describes my leanings on this subject, even though I'm a technologist by trade — may reflexively answer 'no.' The complex organizational and psychological facets of marketing — a discipline renown for creativity and imagination — seems like it would defy the purely mechanical capabilities of computation."

He goes on, "That's true today. But if you doubt the potential for software to take on a much larger role in the future of marketing, you should read Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World by Christopher Steiner. Steiner starts his book by telling the tale of how computers took over Wall Street, beginning with the story of one of the first computer programmers to hack NASDAQ in the 80's and effectively pluck money off of trees. Over the next 20 years, Wall Street evolved rapidly from a physical pit of human traders, shouting at each other like in the movie Trading Places, to an environment where superfast computers and communications systems powered by innovative software now dominate the market. Traders as we knew them are an antiquity."

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