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3 December 2018

Debate on the data skills of marketers with Koen Pauwels (3/3)

This third part of our  3-piece article series based on an interview with marketing professor Koen Pauwels focuses on the “WHO”: Which skills should marketers have to be able to analyze their data?

Like The House of Marketing, Koen Pauwels thinks that robots won’t take over our jobs in ten years from now. Let’s discover what his vision is about it.

Which skills should marketers have?

Which skills should marketers have according to you?

“It is not only about the marketers, we should look at it company-wide. On the one hand, I think traditional marketers need to learn more about IT and data science but on the other hand data scientists need to learn more about marketing and business as well. It comes from both sides. I believe it is important for marketers to have some knowledge in data analytics to be able to ask the right questions to the data scientists they might be working with, or to understand the data quality issues they might have, and so on.”

How will those skills evolve in the future?

“The future is hard to predict. However, I believe that the softer skills will become even more important, because machines can take over tasks that have to do with prediction or even product design but cannot yet understand human feelings. Some people at my university believe we should teach coding to all the students, while other people say we shouldn’t because the machines will do the coding for us. We are indeed working toward very smart interfaces where Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems will help us decide on the actions we should make. In that world, what will matter for the marketer is to quantify if what the machine says is important. Marketers will need to understand the machines, tools and models and distinguish a good from a bad analysis. Instead of all learning coding, maybe we should leave the nuts and bolts to AI and focus on the payoff.  Have a look at the book “Prediction Machines”.

Let’s now imagine that machines are becoming very strong in predicting, companies will then be able to predict what customers want before they even know they want it and deliver it at their home by drone before they even order it. That is how good prediction might become. It is then very important to know what are the payoffs. Let’s have a look at some examples:

  • Imagine the machine tells you it will rain today and you should take your umbrella with you. But at the end of the day it didn’t rain. How annoying will this be for you? And what does that depend on? That is something the machine can’t precisely quantify.

  • Imagine a company which charges a high price versus a low price. For the machine it may be exactly the same but how consumers feel about it and how upset they will be with a very high price increase is hard to understand by the machine. 

Marketers will need to become much better in their softer skills and feelings. They will need to understand the models, how they can use the models but also think about the restrictions that are not in the model.”

Which skills do marketers already have in the US and how are the marketing teams organized?

“In the US, companies usually have business profiles and technical profiles in their marketing team, for example, an IT specialist, tool specialist, data analyst and business specialist. Even if all those profiles are integrated in one team, it remains a challenge for companies to make everyone work closely together.

I believe companies in the future will need teams that collaborate closely and understand the same language.”

What are the key lessons?

  • Robots won’t take over our jobs because softer skills will become even more important. Marketers will need to understand the models, how they can use the models but also think about the restrictions that are not in the model by using their softer skills.
  • Companies in the future will need teams that collaborate closely and understand the same language.


Did you know The House of Marketing is part of Quanteus Group? Quanteus Group combines the skills and knowledge of very complementary entities. 

  • The House of Marketing bridges the knowing-doing gap by offering strategic marketing consulting and interim management.
  • Upthrust offers digital expertise and bridges the gap between marketing and IT.
  • HighMind provides data expertise while combining business and technical realities.
  • BrightWolves is leading in company-wide transformation projects.

Want to know more about data analytics?

Wondering what ‘data analytics’ means and what can marketers gain from it? How do marketers use data analytics and how well are they using their tools? And which data skills should marketers have now, but also in the future?

Register for our 3-part article series and discover the full interview with marketing professor Koen Pauwels on data analytics for marketing. 

SIGN UP FOR OUR ARTICLE SERIES ON DATA ANALYTICS


Want to know more about how to become more data-driven? We got you covered! 

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT DATA-DRIVEN MARKETING

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