This piece was written by Barry Eitel, and originally appeared on the &THEN blog

There is no denying that the future of digital marketing will be heavily reliant on algorithms and machine learning.

However, algorithms alone cannot beat human marketers when it comes to connecting with the emotions of a consumer. This emotional connection, of course, is essentially the goal of all marketing, and machine learning is unable to master this, at least for the foreseeable future.

According to a survey released earlier this year by QuanticMind, some 97 percent of important marketing influencers think that the future of digital advertising will be defined by humans working alongside machine learning-powered automation.

“Marketing in the future will be a combination of smart people and smart automation technology because machine learning and AI are able to help with lots of our menial, mundane and repetitive marketing tasks,” said Travis Wright, co-founder of digital marketing firm CCP Digital, in response to the survey. “This will, in theory, free up marketers’ time to be more creative and focus on big tasks.”

What is becoming increasingly clear is that data paired with emotions is a formula for truly winning marketing.

This powerful combination will be heavily discussed at &THEN this October in Las Vegas. At the session entitled “Data + Emotions = Unbeatable Marketing,” Liz Ross, the CEO of lauded ad agency Periscope, will discuss how marketers can harness consumer data and use it alongside poignant creative work.

“If technology understood the nuances of human emotion, there would be no need for dating apps,” Ross recently told Forbes. “However, there are 2,600 available today. While technology can certainly help uncover the need, the actual experience of it is very complex.”

Right now, Ross believes that the nemesis of marketers is not dislike of a brand – it is indifference. The only way to crack through this pandemic of indifference is to engage emotions, something that requires a human touch.

“The best brands understand the need to both use data and technology but couple it with human insights in order to foster deep, meaningful relationships,” Ross explained.

There is no question that the era of data has completely transformed the industry’s marketing strategies, but that data still cannot inspire ideas, especially ideas that are meant to engage with the hearts of consumers.

On the flip side, great, emotional creative work will have poor reach if not powered by the latest machine learning technologies. By using both, the human heart and the algorithm’s precision, marketers can captivate consumers and destroy indifference.

“We must remember that behind our data points are people – imperfect humans making emotional decisions,” Ross wrote in a piece for Adweek. “If we rely on data in the absence of humanity, all of us are at risk of being very, very wrong.”

This article is brought to you by &THEN, DMA’s annual event. Click here to join the leaders of the marketing community and advance your data and marketing mastery in Las Vegas, October 7-9.