The Future Of Digital Marketing Is Up To Gen Z
We’re experiencing a watershed moment with the emergence of generative AI on the precipice of integration across virtually every industry. These new technologies have been scrutinized for their potential to take over jobs, including many in the e-commerce sector. Publishers and agencies are already using ChatGPT for digital marketing, including search engine optimization, website development, and copywriting.
So how are an emerging cohort of digital marketers feeling about the introduction of these technologies into their future careers? I spoke with a number of young people embarking on careers in digital marketing. Let’s look at what they had to say.
A Fear Of Being Irrelevant
Young digital marketers are hyper-aware of the rapid changes facing their industry. Since generative AI can do many aspects of digital marketing, from writing key-worded blogs and generating images and video from text, to coding websites, many young digital marketers fear their careers will be upended by new technology.
“The future of the digital marketing industry was already intimidating as a soon-to-be graduate, but with the emergence of these AI platforms and their easy accessibility, I often worry about my career no longer being relevant,” says Haley Pistole, Strategic Communications Major at WSUV.
Agencies are already experiencing structural changes thanks to the adoption of generative AI, including how digital marketers are spending their time, and conducting experiments with programs like ChatGPT and DALL-E.
Be Ready To Adapt To Change
They were also quick to point out that the e-commerce space is one that has had to grapple with changes since the inception of the internet. From search engine optimization, to omnichannel marketing and social media integration, the most successful digital marketers are those that embrace change, adopt relevant new technologies early on, and always have an eye toward the future.
“The industry is always changing,” says Strategic Communications Major Haley Brown. “I think we all need to be prepared to learn and adapt to these changes.”
Course offerings that integrate current events and rapid advancements into curriculum are going to be important differentiators for university digital marketing programs into the future. Yesterday’s digital marketing textbooks are outdated, and the future competitive landscape is being written by today’s experimenters.
The Strength Of Next-Gen Gigital Marketers Will Be Creativity And Judgment
Following a formulaic digital marketing strategy is not going to be enough to differentiate you from competition, because automated intelligence can create systems around best practices that humans can’t compete with. The real differentiators are going to be human ingenuity and discernment.
“I believe humans will always be needed in the process because we possess important characteristics no robot can replicate,” says Faith Prom, Integrated Strategic Communications major. “Namely, creativity, experiences, values and judgment.”
Automated intelligence is a tool that can advance the output of human creativity, which can make digital marketers infinitely more productive.
Embrace The Opportunity
Even though this new generation entering the workforce understand the risks to their career trajectory, many also understand the value of the new technologies for the digital marketing ecosystem.
“I’m excited about the potential of AI to personalize marketing messages and improve customer experiences,” says Digital Technology and Culture Major Vera Nikolaychuk. “I’m constantly exploring how technology and creativity can be merged to create unique and engaging digital experiences that resonate with consumers in meaningful ways.”
While the future of e-commerce, and many other industries, hang in the balance as we understand how new technologies will be wielded, it’s heartening to know that our future marketers are thinking deeply about their constraints and their possibilities.
“Marketing and advertising are among some of the most creative endeavors because of how they evoke emotional experiences and evolve culture,” says strategic communications professor and agency owner, Tina Mulqueen. “Experience and culture are uniquely human, so I’m not concerned that generative AI will replace human capital in this space. It can, however, redefine how we use our time and serve as a powerful medium for human creativity.”
“Our young digital marketers are much more thoughtful about the risks and benefits of emerging technologies, thank goodness, because our relationships with these technologies into the future will be defined by them.”
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