Marketing is still primarily perceived as a fuzzy touchy feely discipline. But the Internet is bringing this to an end rapidly. In ten years our current perspectives on this will seem quaint.
Marketing will be much more like what Wall Street quant guys do. Everything will be math. There will be few "soft" taste judgments. It will all be about precisely definable ROI. The good marketers will be the people who can design the tightest systems for adjusting messaging based on the reaction of the audience. The *great* marketers will be the ones who can figure out how to tie feedback to rapid turn product adjustment in real time.
As I have discussed before, technology is removing all friction from the marketplace. Marketing will really be about figuring out how to most quickly and effectively tap the feelings of the market for the benefit of the product. This will go from a process that currently takes months or years, to one that happens in hours and days. All messaging and product feature sets will be rapidly optimized using the next generation of marketing techniques and technologies.
Like hedge fund algorithms, the best marketing systems will be proprietary. And the best creators of these systems will make Wall Street style bonuses and profit sharing.
To be clear, the direct marketers have, in some ways, been doing this for years. The Internet, and things like Google Analytics have brought direct marketing ideas to a wider audience and reduced the information turn time dramatically. But marketing is today still driven more by the creative folks -- the softer side. In the future, creative will be a marketing systems input, not a marketing driver.
The bottom line is, today, it is not uncommon to hear a marketer say, "Oh I'm not technical, I'm in marketing." In the future, when your marketing person says that, you will know that indeed, they suck.