"Martech" is one of those all-compassing marketing topics that people generally agree is important. But it can also be difficult to define. For our purposes, we'll say that Martech covers  tools that marketers use to automate tasks and make better decisions. Programmatic advertising, marketing automation, artificial intelligence... all these and more constitute martech.

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As IBM's first chief digital officer, Bob Lord pushes the limits of martech daily, working to spread the word about the company's groundbreaking technology. Before joining IBM, Bob was President of AOL, where he oversaw the company’s unified global advertising operations ,and before that he was CEO of Razorfish, a Web design and digital agency. Bob's also the author of Converge: Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology

I invited Bob to Marketing Smarts to discuss his thoughts on cognitive developers and data scientists, and why technology skills are critical to the success of aspiring marketers.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

To stay competitive, study up on development and data science (02:48): "The world of marketing has merged very quickly with the advertising technology world and the marketing technology world. Over time, marketers are going to have to become much more sophisticated around their use of technology, how they use cognitive development and machine-learning tools and AI tools or augmented intelligence tools.

"Both development skills and data science skills have people think about a problem differently and solve that problem differently than if they didn't have those skills. The core skillsets of the marketer have to go beyond pure marketing skills [to] really possess some data science skills in order to be effective in the future landscape."

Marketers, it's your job to know your audience (03:35): "90% of the world's data today has been created in the last two years. If you just think about what's happened on our cell phones, we only ironically have access to 20% of that data, so mining that data is really important for you to gain insight on a consumer. If...we trust a brand, we're going to give that brand more data about ourselves so that the value exchange between ourselves and the brand will exponentially go up. The job of the marketer has changed. It's no longer one-way communication. It's finding insight into the consumer on behalf of that brand so they can bring [consumers] value on a day to day basis."

To combat ad blocking, use your messages to give the audience something worthwhile (04:29): "There are 600 million devices that are using ad blocking today. Ad blocking grew 30% globally in 2016.... The marketer has a harder job than they've ever had before. The reason people are putting ad blockers on their devices is because the value exchanges of those ads aren't really that sophisticated. If the advertisement was providing them with a value exchange—whether that's a free coupon or providing me...insight about friends that are in the area with me—I wouldn't mind getting that communication from the brand.... If the value is there and the exchange is there with the brand, I'm going to engage deeper, I'm going to provide them with more information than ever before. Artificial Intelligence (or as we call it at IBM, 'Augmented Intelligence') can really help you to mine into the data to provide you with insight into the consumer so you can provide a value exchange."

Start planning to hire a cognitive developer and a data scientist (or maybe a few of each) (10:39): "Anyone who is a marketer or creative person, there's a core base of education for them to understand what it means to be a cognitive developer or a data scientist.... Going forward, for someone to go about doing the work, I do think you need to have cognitive developers and data scientists on staff. In the next few years, they should be 50% of your staff, because you don't know where the creative ideas are going to come from. There could be insight into the data that gives you a very interesting creative idea that you wouldn't have thought about before.

"No longer are there departments of creativity, media, marketing—the lines are starting to blur more and more. As data becomes much more accessible, there's a lot more transparency across what's working and what's not working. That takes out the holy grail of the 'Mad Man' creative director who knew that they had the answer and they were the only ones who had the answer, because data tells you whether or not your customers are interacting with your brand and whether or not you're getting sales lift. I absolutely believe that the cognitive developer and the data scientist are going to be the anchor to the modern agencies of the next generation."

To learn more, visit IBM.com or follow the company on Twitter @IBM.

Bob and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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