B2B Beat: Machines Marketing to Machines

July 12, 2015

B2B Beat: Machines Marketing to Machines

The new movie “Terminator Genisys,” like all the previous entries in this sci-fi series, features machines fighting machines to the death.

David Raab’s slightly less cinematic presentation at 6Sense’s InMarket event, which took place in San Francisco on July 8, made the case that machines won't necessarily fight with other machines – but they will soon will market to other machines. And in some cases, this scenario is already in full swing.

Raab, principal at Raab Associates, opened his presentation by describing how a contemporary Jane Jetson might find her way home from work in the near future. Ms. Jetson might take a seat in a self-driving car and do work on a digital device as the car piloted her homeward. On the way, however, the car might automatically interact – machine-to-machine – with a number of other devices, setting up a recharging stop, figuring out where to buy milk, and even consulting with Jane’s Fitbit about why she should avoid getting a doughnut.

Raab said this kind of machine-to-machine communication is the coming reality. In fact, this future is already here in some quarters. “People are delegating more decisions to machines,” he said.

Marketers, for example, are already marketing to machines when they design their websites to send SEO-boosting signals to Google’s search algorithm. There will only be more of this in the future for marketers, Raab said. As evidence, he pointed to the current merging of marketing technology and advertising technology to form something he called “MadTech.”

This new kind of marketing approach will bring the personalization of marketing automation together with the scale of ad tech. And it will heavily involve machines in negotiation with machines.

As the future arrives – and it will arrive quickly – marketers will need to be prepared, Raab said. Data will be increasingly important, and marketers will need to be able to integrate third-party data and identify individuals across channels.

The marketers of the (near) future won’t give machines directions such as “if A, then B” and then sit back and reap the rewards. People will need to be much more involved in the ever-changing action, Raab said. He likened the future of marketing to a football game, where marketers will be continually running new plays based on the situation: running sometimes, passing others.

“The exact play depends on the situation,” he said.

So in the machine vs. machine marketing cage match to come, the companies implementing the best technology won’t necessarily be the winners. The people who can best learn from the machine interaction and put those lessons into action are the ones who will beat their competitors.

B2B Move of the Week

Acxiom has named Jeremy Allen president of its marketing solutions. Allen was most recently executive vice president of Nielsen’s marketing effectiveness division. Prior to that he was a partner at McKinsey & Company. “Jeremy’s ability to innovate and delight customers is key to growth and further advancing our marketing services offering,” Acxiom CEO Scott Howe said in a statement.

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