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In this week’s episode of Growth Interviews, we invite you to join our podcast conversation with Miroslav Varga, a search engine advertising expert, professor, and MENSA member, experienced and specialized in Google Ads account optimization and statistical analysis (data mining).

Our industry is revolutionizing.

Key Takeaways

  • Machine Learning: Transforming digital marketing with automation and data-driven targeting.
  • Role Shift: Marketers become campaign strategists, focusing on creativity and personalization.
  • Continuous Adaptation: Constant testing and optimization are crucial in the evolving landscape.
  • SME Opportunities: Small businesses can now afford impactful national digital campaigns.
  • Embrace Change: Adopting new methods is essential for staying competitive.

Welcome to Growth Interviews!

Our mission is to provide insights and ideas from world-class professionals on the topic of growth and to cut through the noise of so-called marketing tips and tricks, revealing the money-making strategies behind e-commerce.

Welcome to Growth Interviews, the fun, stimulating, and engaging series of conversations driven by digital business growth.

Each episode is an intriguing challenge involving an insightful expert who reveals some of their best-kept secrets, which you can use immediately to boost your business. 

Miroslav is a Google AdWords Certified Trainer – GCT and online marketing lecturer at several schools and institutions and probably the only Google Ads certified Trainer and GAIQ triple grandfather in the world.

Miroslav is a storyteller, a lateral thinker, and a data whisperer who is always reading the message behind the data and always providing the context and the bigger picture.

Our Interview it’s an exciting road in the world of machine learning, Google ads, and advertising automation with surprising predictions on the future of the digital marketing industry and human behavior changes that will follow.

The Edge of Tomorrow

The fascination for machine learning is creating a lot of debates and predictions for the future. We are on the brink of a revolution like never before as its speed is surpassing all expectations and its applications are disrupting old social systems as we know them.

‘What will happen to us?’ It is a question on everybody’s mind, no matter how high on the social ladder that someone is, no matter if it’s a CEO or a regular blue-collar. As Miroslav Varga told us in our last Growth Interviews podcast, ‘I’m sure that we will change the landscape of our jobs in the next 5 to 10 years completely.’

Unpredictable Industry Changes

Abstract illustration of a tangled ball of multicolored lines.

The impact of machine learning and AI in digital marketing, with the wave of new tools and applications, is changing its landscape at a higher speed than ever and the only constant is that every digital marketer should expect the unexpected at any moment. The industry is changing in unpredictable ways and the focus on data is pushing the adoption of machine learning for everything that implies better targeting, from Google ads to media buying. 

“The machine learning algorithm will know better where the audience is and to whom to serve the ad from the advertiser, as the machine learning signals would have calculated the most efficient person to show the ad to sell. People cannot run this race,” is the prediction launched by our guest.

The direction is pretty clear. Everything regarding data will be managed by machines and we should make them as good as possible as the focus of humans should not be on the data but on how creative we can be with that data. Who are the people behind those numbers, what do they want, what do they like, and what is driving their actions? These are the real questions for digital marketers.

“People should be more in the part of the industry that is creative, strategic and the understanding of the necessities, of the problems the advertiser consults the market on. But the keyword research, bidding, location, device, and all the other stuff that is today the preoccupation of account managers will be done by algorithms much better than we are doing it today,” Miroslav Varga.

History Repeating

Infographic illustrating the timeline of the evolution of digital marketing from 1990 to 2020, highlighting key developments and milestones.

The history of emerging new technology shows us that the one thing that is constantly repeating is our fear of it and its results, even if it is based on scars proof. Machine learning is foreseen to replace humans in doing some jobs but is also expected to increase the possibility of expanding the industry with new needs that require new skills and thus new functionalities.

Things have already changed in the digital marketing industry and Miroslav Varga underlines the direction, the future evolution, and the most important direction for digital marketers to focus on.” for example, you do marketing as a campaign strategist. 

That is the new name of the account manager: account strategist or campaign strategist and you will check which databases are important to find the best suitable audience. You have to check data and analytics to understand how to become a storyteller, not a data analyst. Data analysts are mathematicians. 

So, you will have to check the numbers, become a storyteller, try to understand strategically who the audience is, and try to connect different databases to be as efficient as possible in serving personalized ads to your audience. Personalized messages strategically shown to people, emphasize that you, as the account strategist, are thinking of the best possible audience. That will be the job. You will have to carry completely different tasks.”

The change in digital marketing is fast-paced, it’s the mother of all matches. Every day a new tool, based on new technologies, new algorithms, and offering a new perspective is coming to the market. Living in a global market has its perks and although the dimension of the new digital landscape feels overwhelming, our direction is getting clearer and Miroslav Varga points it out very clearly:” 

I think this is the direction that people will go. They will use many more databases to connect all the traces we are leaving and use this data, these traces, to make your profiling and send you the best possible ad, and this ad is going to be more efficient than text ads that you write down trying to understand the mental state of your potential customer. So, that’s three to five years, and is not far away.”

Thriving in the Online Game

Illustration of two people with gaming devices and a large game controller in the background, representing gaming culture.

What we have now is unique, both in opportunity and in the speed of business development. On one side, we have a global market opportunity like never before. Everything that is being created, every new tool, every new algorithm, is here to help businesses grow in the global market. Also, like never before, technology created so many communication channels that, no matter how small the marketing budgets are, we still can draw attention and make our voices heard and our products seen. 

The democratization of marketing tools means that even small businesses can compete on a larger scale, leveraging these advanced technologies to reach a global audience. This unprecedented access to sophisticated marketing techniques is leveling the playing field, allowing innovative ideas to flourish regardless of the size of the company.

Adapting to Rapid Changes

Illustration of people collaborating in a modern office setting, working on laptops, discussing, and presenting data on whiteboards.

On the other side, we see how fast everything is and almost every digital marketer is developing a form of FOMO. As long as old frameworks are still in place and old thinking is setting the pace, most of the marketing efforts will be doomed. It’s time to pack the mind with knowledge, unleash the creative human spirit, test everything, optimize on the way, and deeply understand the customers. This is the new big picture.

“The game didn’t change. The methods are much more diverse. The game is the same as it was always; test and test and test indefinitely. What is today different are these new options based on machine learning, based on so much data that you couldn’t use it before,” explained very surely Miroslav Varga and then continued.

“I think the opportunity, the basic point didn’t change. You should keep optimizing things all day in and out. But what do you have now? You have several machine learning options that have never been here before and I think that people who would like to scale their business should try them all.

There is no one-size-fits-all recipe and there is no one-size-fits-all solution or whatever but what we have shown sometimes, for example, the maximized conversions bidding strategy is much better than the target CPI, and in another account, it’s vice versa. So, it would be a lie to tell people which is the best possible solution because every campaign, every strategy has its pitfalls, but what is important for people to find out what works best for them.”

The diversity of tactics and strategies that any digital marketer could adopt is attracting and opening new streams of business success but at the same time, we lack the experience of working with all the tools and channels together. The only way to discover what works for any business is to forget the old frameworks and the old ways of setting up campaigns and test any new creative idea, strategy, and tactics with the courage of a four-year-old in a Batman suit.

“People are very often victims of company policy, life circumstances, previous experience, however, you name it, it’s there. And you should always try to challenge these borders, these frames that you have, and stop you from flourishing. Because usually, it’s based on fear. What will my boss tell me? What will my neighbor tell me? What will my wife do?

Fear of the reaction of your environment is something that is very often putting people down. So many things are different than the things our parents have done. But we’re still afraid, constraining ourselves, not brave enough to think outside the box, to think outside frameworks. So, I think this is something that should be embraced. The sooner, the better because our industry is changing. It is revolutionizing from the inside.

We are not aware of this but it is changing at a fast pace from the inside. Nobody has imposed this change. This change is generated by the industry itself. We as people from digital, have the data and we want to use it even more, even better, efficiently, and even faster. And we have been the main generator of our, let’s call it Armageddon.”

“As long as people are buying more and more, your services will be more in demand because testing and optimizing and iterations to improve will be the main part of the strategic change in the industry.” – Miroslav Varga

The Pressure, The Changes, And The Digital Marketing Talent Scarcity

Illustration of a magnifying glass highlighting a person in a crowd, representing talent search and recruitment.

The digital environment is ever-changing and growing with thousands of new businesses entering this environment every day. Newcomers bring the biggest changes and in their attempt to adapt, they are adapting the entire system to their needs. One of the most effervescent areas of change is digital advertising. The influx of these new businesses is not only increasing competition but also driving innovation, as they bring fresh perspectives and novel approaches to the market.

Old mindsets are clashing with new mindsets, and we are witnessing how digital marketing is taking the scene as the most important focus area. It has become the playground where everyone is welcome and where the impossible is becoming possible. This shift is creating an environment where traditional marketing strategies are being questioned and replaced by more agile and data-driven approaches.

Adapting to New Market Dynamics

Illustration of hands interacting with a computer interface, representing market research and data analysis.

Data, or more importantly, the lack of proper data, is still the most significant barrier to overcome for any small to medium-sized business. The key to overcoming this challenge lies in the creativity of communication, a new vision, and a new way of building interest. With the explosion of digital business, skills in digital marketing are in higher demand than ever. A new wave of tools and technologies is imposing the rise of 2.0 digital marketing, making it imperative for businesses to adapt.

“Small and medium-sized companies that could not afford to have a national TV campaign can afford the national digital campaign. So, as the industry is changing, we should change our mindset at the same time as more small and medium-sized businesses are entering the digital marketing area. And the demand is increasing not because the existing customers are growing but because a lot of new ones are entering the digital market.

This will be the greatest challenge because machine learning is based on data and newcomers have no data. You have to do some manual things to collect the proper volume of data to feed them again in a way.

I don’t know how things develop but with new people entering digital, digital will be their first point of marketing activity. It will not be radio, television, or newspapers as it was before. That is one reason why this industry will grow very fast as a very great volume of new presence will change the industry.

Our mindset is still based on old CPC models and these models are not bad, but I would suggest strongly switching as fast as possible. When digital appeared, it was very nice, very interesting and it was a fight between the traditional marketing experts and the digital marketing experts. And now, in the digital industry, we are the traditional ones. 

We don’t want to change. It’s hard for us to change because finally, we understand how it works, and now, somebody is saying ‘This is not working anymore. This is not the way you should go.’ That’s in a way the proof of the maturity of the industry, now we are mature and we don’t want to change. And it’s not because Google is changing or people are changing or we’re not willing to change. It’s just the guys that will use these new methods and techniques and strategies to be more efficient, and that’s the reason you have to run this race. Without it, long term, you’ll lose.” – Miroslav Varga

Conclusion

Machine learning. The hottest technology is on everyone’s lips and is changing the world we know, as we speak. New digital tools are having machine learning at their core and they are hitting the market every day, changing the entire digital marketing landscape. We are witnessing the digital revolution of the marketing industry and we are at the heart of it.

We hope you enjoyed our podcast interview with Miroslav Varga!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can businesses ensure they are effectively utilizing machine learning in their digital marketing strategies?

Businesses can ensure effective utilization of machine learning by continuously educating their teams on the latest technologies, investing in tools that provide data-driven insights, and collaborating with experts in machine learning to integrate these tools into their marketing strategies. Regularly reviewing and optimizing campaigns based on machine learning outputs can also enhance performance.

What skills should digital marketers develop to stay competitive in the evolving landscape?

Digital marketers should develop skills in data analysis, machine learning, and AI technologies. Additionally, enhancing creativity, strategic thinking, and storytelling abilities are crucial. Understanding and leveraging new digital tools, staying updated with industry trends, and maintaining a flexible, learning-oriented mindset will also help them stay competitive.

What strategies can small businesses adopt to collect and utilize data effectively for machine learning applications?

Small businesses can start by using customer relationship management (CRM) systems to collect and manage customer data. Implementing analytics tools on their websites and social media platforms can help gather insights. Engaging in targeted marketing campaigns, surveys, and feedback loops can also provide valuable data. Collaborating with data specialists or consultants to interpret and apply this data for machine learning applications can optimize their marketing efforts.