There is a scene in the sci-fi classic Minority Report where John Atherton (Tom Cruise) is walking through a mall. Coming at him from every direction are personalized ads inviting him—by name—to buy this, drink that, go there, spend here. It’s really kind of a dazzling scene, if a bit nightmarish. Data about John Atherton’s tastes and history are being deployed to create ads unique to him, while each passerby is having a similar experience.

Fifteen years ago, this scenario seemed far-fetched, but not any longer. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how small agencies would have to adapt to survive in this new data-driven world, and you can’t turn around without running into a reference to “Data is the new oil.”

According to the prognosticators interviewed by Matt Kapko over at Adweek, that reality is right around the corner—but in a good way. In “A Guide to the 10 Next Hot Jobs in Digital Marketing, and for Several Years to Come,” Kapko describes not just the hot new jobs, but the skills needed to do them.

  1. Chief experience officer (aka CXO)
  2. VR editor (yup, that’s virtual reality)
  3. Bot developer
  4. IoT marketing strategist (Internet of things)
  5. Mixed-reality designer
  6. Data scientist
  7. Machine-learning engineer
  8. Omnichannel retail strategist
  9. Voice skills developer
  10. Hologram retail display designer 

It’s probably dating me to admit that seven of those jobs sound like science fiction occupations, but this is where marketing is heading. Maybe it would be more accurate to say this is where marketing is. The term experience appears 19 times in the article, and in almost every case refers to the task of designing experiences for very specific audiences“‘[Marketers] need to create experiences that people want to consume,’ notes Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction.”

If you are (or want to be) in marketing, or if you have kids making decisions about their educational paths, here are a few areas of expertise that will be increasingly important:

  • Computer science and programming
  • Linguistics and natural language processing
  • Design Thinking
  • Data, data, data

One attribute that has always been crucial in advertising is creativity, and that isn’t going to change. If you’ve been feeling less creative and inspired than you used to, you might be in a rut. Send me an email at and we can set up a time to talk about some strategies to get that fire going again.

photo credit: CommScope VR_Man via photopin (license)