2 parts of your job AI will struggle to replace.

Wil Reynolds
5 min readOct 30, 2023

Close your eyes, imagine it is 2023, just 6 yeras from now? Are you retired? If not, you need to think about your value in an AI world.

There’s a lot of studies out there, McKinsey, Forrester, others — and while Forrester calls for 7.5% of jobs to be replaced, I can’t help but wonder what about the jobs that are partially replaced, consolidated?

McKinsey Report

I can’t remember where I read it, but CEOs overestimate job automation and workers severely underestimate the ability for AI to replace them. I think this AI world still can’t overcome the idea that “no, not me, I’m too good at my job to be relaced” syndrome.

People keep thinking “others” aren’t as good as I am, so they might be replaced but I wont be.

That -18% I think most of us in marketing will gloss over as “office support” thinking, that isn’t me, that is a mistake.

Here are two areas I was thinking of this morning where you can make your marketing job more resilient against AI in the next 10 years.

The more conventional your consulting advice is the more automatable you are.

Joe Pulizzi said it best: AI is Average Intelligence.

Generative AI, built on the average intelligence of data inputs, tends to perpetuate industry norms. If you’re leaning solely on best practices, you’re in danger of becoming replaceable. Think about it everyone did tactic X, we found that works, so you should do it.

See this recommendation, is it the best example of Average Intelligence? Want to rank for word, put word in title tag. First that is a horrible recommendation, anyone in SEO knows that. BUUUUUUT where you get to do the unconvenional thing is “where does google reward high value keywords where the word doesn’t need to be in the title.”

What are your industry’s best practices that you find yourself disagreeing with, how can you find out where it does / doesn’t make sense, how can you validate that? That person creates more value in an AI world, they keep you ahead of the “average intelligence” and to be honest the average intelligence works most of the time, you need to find where it doesn’t so you are offering unique insights that it will not.

“Our jobs will be to truly lead with our thoughts, question those thoughts, and find new ways of thinking about solutions that are not the industry standard. Run those as hard as we can until they become more standard.”

So what this means is winning, as it’s always been, will be on the fray who’s finding the 2% to 10% in their strategies that are not the average intelligence in their industry. That will allow your clients to win in these nooks and crannies of your industry. These nooks and crannies will only show themselves to the people who aren’t OK following the “way things have always been done” or “best practices” or “what Google says” — which I think for the most part some search people are very well positioned for.

The time has come, you need opinions, regularly. You need to validate those opinions faster (using AI), and then find where you can not be “average intelligence” to your clients.

Your Network Is Resilient Against Automation

Did you go remote or quit your job during the great resignation or recently thereafter? Is your “network” of people who know you and will bend over backwards to help you larger in your new org as a % of company or smaller? Do you find yourself still texting your co-workers from your old job, more than your new remote one? I have my hunches, but deep relationships matter, and they are harder to build.

“People still buy services from people.”

While it’s tempting to measure network growth by the number of LinkedIn contacts, or CRM contacts.

What do people in your network think of you? When they hear your name or your company’s name, are the thoughts positive, or is your corporate brand prettyt much “we sell shit for more than we pay for it” and we’ll do as much of that as possible. Leaving you as just another name vying for a sale? Are you doing drivebys acting like you care, when really you only care enough about me to close a deal? (Watch BD people, LLM use to personalize your emails is likely a “drive by”, so be careful).

Last week, I was at an airport waiting for my coffee when a stranger approached me, saying, “I love the things you put out on LinkedIn.” (Man having dreadlocks helps me get noticed so much more, dreads as business value?? Hmmm).

The real value of a network in not its size, but in how people feel about you.

I was in the airport that day on my way to speak at a Goldman Sachs Wealth Management event, with some pretty impressive folks.

We talked about building a company that raises others up, lifts up communities, and what exactly life changing money is. We talked about parenting, and we made connections, some of which will definitely be carried after that.

Some people there ran businesses, while I’m not there to pitch anyone, I did grow relationships with people highly likely to run large scale orgs, and people walked away taking notes in my session on how they can also do small things in their businesses to build better ones.

These interactions make people more likeable, period. I think being likeable is a competitive advantage when services are not picked on logic all the time, you'd be amazed at how people choose to give your company a shot.

Remember this: Skills are fungible, they create more value and less value over time as industries change. Parts of jobs get automated, some parts don’t, new opportunities are created, old ones go away. But you know what creates value day in and day out…having people think of you as someone they like, someone who is going to be honest, and someone who is authentic. As I see it AI ain’t going to help there, so maybe that is another area you can focus.

If you’vbe gotten this far and you are looking for a tip: Here’s one…we rarely forget the people who change our views. In the work world, when is the last time you taught your boss or your bosses boss, something they didn’t know that changed how they think about a topic or created value for them. FYI if it was over a year ago, they might have forgotten. hat is another thing people don’t forget, the “people” who make them smarter, in a world of average intelligence, I never forget the people in my company that changed my thinking.



Wil Reynolds

Serial Underdog @seerinteractive doing SEO, Marketing, & Stuff, I am whatever you say I am.