Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize nearly every industry, and has already begun transforming the world of marketing, according to a Monday report from IBM Watson Marketing. Moving into 2019, CMOs and digital agencies are reimagining the marketing function, driven by a growing need to structure data to enable actionable, real-time decision making, the report found.

“It’s not often an entire profession experiences a sea change the likes of which has profoundly impacted all facets of marketing, but we are in that moment,” said Sylvia Vaquer, co-founder and chief creative officer of SocioFabrica. “This transformation fueled by AI-powered inferential connections provides a rare opportunity to rearchitect the whole ‘marketing house,’ but it’s critical to have practical knowledge to capitalize on it.”

SEE: Job description: Data scientist (Tech Pro Research)

The massive growth of information will lead to the rise of the director of marketing data and other data-related marketing roles in cutting-edge organizations in 2019, according to the report. These dedicated roles will establish and drive the human and machine/system connections across the company. These professionals will work with tech vendors and internal teams on data integration, as well as create processes, rules, and procedures to ensure that critical data is collected and integrated into a customer data platform (CDP) for use, the report said.

Data has been a foundational piece of the puzzle for successful marketers, helping to advance customer segmentation, personalization, and relevant messaging to customers and prospects. The growth of AI-based marketing tools has made data management and integration mission-critical for marketing organizations, the report noted, with 61% of executives indicating that machine learning and AI are their companies’ most significant data initiative for 2019, according to a MemSQL survey.

Other new roles that the rise of data and AI in marketing will enable include data integration and marketing data architects, the report predicted. These professionals will help organizations use AI and machine learning-based tools as they analyze data and customer behavior, make recommendations and predictions, and get smarter over time.

Along with these new roles, marketing professionals will look for solutions that are open and easy to integrate via APIs and pre-built connectors, the report said. “Those companies where marketing struggles to partner with IT, Customer Support and e-commerce and to integrate relevant data across channels, functions and systems will essentially be limiting their AI marketing systems from making accurate or reliable decisions and recommendations,” it noted.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • The rise of AI in marketing has led many CMOs to reimagine their departments. — IBM Watson Marketing, 2018
  • Companies will begin to hire director of marketing data and other marketing data professionals in 2019. — IBM Watson Marketing, 2018