As Automation Accelerates, Where Does The Strategist Fit In?

Further automation, more sophisticated algorithms: What's music to the ears of brands’ bottom lines and media efficiency is slowly encroaching on the role that actual humans play in the ad ecosystem.

Crunching the data and making sophisticated buying suggestions is one thing. Using the data to develop effective storylines and creative is quite another.

Nevertheless, automation and technological advances in programmatic efficiencies will have a noticeable effect on the scope of employment in the programmatic world.

RTBlog spoke with Centro CEO Shawn Riegsecker about how he envisions the evolving role of the digital media strategist.

“There are two major shifts happening here,” began Riegsecker. “First, as much of the workflow and execution process is being automated, strategists will evolve much more into higher-level strategic marketing consultants to their clients. The software will take over answering the question of ‘What should I buy?' -- which has been the predominant role of a strategist historically.

“The second shift, relative to programmatic infrastructure, is that many strategists who are more technically inclined will choose the path of becoming martech/adtech consultants, helping their clients understand how to properly choose and implement the right technology vendors to ensure success across all of their marketing efforts.”

This is particularly interesting in light of the developing importance of digital strategists to the 2016 presidential campaign. There's no doubt sophisticated techniques -- beyond just automation and programmatic capabilities --  were central to the success of campaigns using digital strategies.

“A human will still need to spend a lot of time in strategic business, competitive and product analysis to determine what are the right audiences, goals and KPIs for the media investment,” said Riegsecker. “However, once that happens, we’re not that far away from a media strategist inputting critical information into a system -- and the platform takes over and makes intelligent decisions across all digital channels and formats.”

The complexity of digital advertising requires more than current technological capabilities can handle at scale. Still, there's no doubt “the days of spending an entire day pulling and formatting reports from various systems and platforms are quickly coming to an end.”

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