Emerging TechnologyAI & AutomationIs martech a threat to marketing jobs?

Is martech a threat to marketing jobs?

Fears about job loss are increasing in the martech era, but businesses can be more transparent about how jobs will change and what tasks tech will take on.

A new report has found that fear among marketers about their job security has increased between 2018 and 2019.

The State of Marketing Technology 2019 report published by Walker Sands last month paints a broadly positive picture about the adoption of martech among businesses, but also highlights some of the negative aspects of the contemporary marketing context. These include reports of tensions between sales and marketing teams and the perceived risk to jobs thanks to increasing investment in smart automated technologies.

Advertising technology drives martech investment

On the whole, the Walker Sands data signals that we are currently living through something of a marketing technology boom. 75% of respondents agree that they are currently investing the right amount of budget in martech and 64% of marketers plan to increase these budgets in 2019.

the technology that respondents feel their company needs to invest in most

Advertising technology is really driving things. 54% of marketers currently incorporate adtech, making it the most-used form of martech. And 29% of respondents feel that advertising and promotion technology is the type of martech their company needs to invest in most.

Marketers are more scared of job loss in 2019

But while organizations look to be investing in martech with some enthusiasm, many marketers admit they have concerns about this technology taking their jobs.

respondents' level of agreement that martech will at some point threaten their jobs

42% of respondents agree that tech will threaten their jobs someday. This proportion is growing – up from 39% in 2018.

Buzzword tech such as AI suggest staff replacement

The report looks to AI as the key reason for marketers’ worries. This technology is clearly improving all the time and taking on a bigger role across organizations.

But when diving down into the data about just how many businesses are investing in these staff-replacing technologies, it could be argued that many are quite cautionary with their approach to these kinds of hyped (or ‘buzzword’) technologies.

when do respondents plan to implement technology into their marketing strategies

Out of all the types of martech the report looks into, AI is actually one of the types businesses are most likely not to have ‘current plans to implement.’

Businesses want more staff and are being forced to outsource

These job fears among marketers are also quite interesting when looked at in conjunction with another recent report from MuleSoft.

As I reflected on in my piece Digital transformation: Top challenges to success in 2019, while organizations seek to implement digital transformation initiatives, one of the key challenges is having the capacity to be able to see these adoptions of new technologies through.

IT teams are subsequently calling on business leaders to hire more staff. 52% of businesses are planning to do just this in 2019, while 44% plan to outsource projects to contractors. I wonder if this suggests that job adaption and diversifying of roles are really the order of the day for staff in the era of martech, rather than these technologies simply resulting in jobs being lost.

Walker Sands suggestions to allay fears

Following these findings, Walker Sands does have some suggestions to address these fears among staff who are viewing martech as a threat to their future work. This is important, not only in an HR sense, but also in a plain business sense as managers work to stop their staff from becoming stressed, less engaged, and more likely to leave the business.

“As a marketing leader,” the report author Jennifer Mulligan writes, “keep worried talent engaged by being transparent about AI investments. Make it clear how you see the tech helping the organization (such as by taking over tedious, time-consuming tasks to increase marketers’ productivity) and what kinds of new jobs it will create.”


It is understandable that many marketers have fears about the onset of martech such as AI. If businesses aren’t addressing these fears, they are likely to grow. While many new types of technologies are clearly being incorporated into organizations in order to take on tasks which have up until now been done by people, we can see that in many cases these tasks are those which marketers might consider more towards the laborious end of the scale.

There are also many reasons for marketers to look at the growth in martech as a new work opportunity rather than something that will simply steal their jobs.

As the Walker Sands data highlights, organizations are often very cautionary in their approach to adopting new marketing technologies such as AI – especially in comparison to other emerging technologies such as video marketing and content experience. Part of the reason for this may well be because businesses need the knowledge, skills, and capacity in order for emerging technologies to be successfully integrated. This is notable as we continue to see evidence that companies are looking to employ more staff, even as new tech is adopted.

But businesses do need to be communicative to their staff about these above factors to help ensure fears and uncertainties about martech can be lessened. That way, we can reasonably expect business environments to remain low-stress, high-productivity environments for people to work in – even as technologies, job roles, and processes continue to change.


US Mobile Streaming Behavior

Whitepaper | Mobile US Mobile Streaming Behavior


US Mobile Streaming Behavior

Streaming has become a staple of US media-viewing habits. Streaming video, however, still comes with a variety of pesky frustrations that viewers are ...

View resource
Winning the Data Game: Digital Analytics Tactics for Media Groups

Whitepaper | Analyzing Customer Data Winning the Data Game: Digital Analytics Tactics for Media Groups


Winning the Data Game: Digital Analytics Tactics f...

Data is the lifeblood of so many companies today. You need more of it, all of which at higher quality, and all the meanwhile being compliant with data...

View resource
Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

Whitepaper | Digital Marketing Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people


Learning to win the talent war: how digital market...

This report documents the findings of a Fireside chat held by ClickZ in the first quarter of 2022. It provides expert insight on how companies can ret...

View resource
Marketing Cloud Suite vs. Best-of-Breed Approach: Why Brands Are Turning to CDPs to Power Their MarTech Stacks

Whitepaper | Digital Transformation Marketing Cloud Suite vs. Best-of-Breed Approach: Why Brands Are Turning to CDPs to Power Their MarTech Stacks


Marketing Cloud Suite vs. Best-of-Breed Approach: ...

Marketing cloud suites have long positioned themselves as the “all-in-one” solution for enterprise brands. Many have even promised the single customer...

View resource