“Dig the well before you are thirsty”, goes the Chinese proverb.
For agencies, this has never been better advice. And while beginning the artificial intelligence (AI) dig may feel like another huge job on the list of other seemingly critical huge jobs every agency is currently dealing with to keep up right now; the AI dig should undoubtedly fall into the urgent and important category.
Is software still eating the world? In 2018, yes, it is, and the business world has been almost entirely polished off. According to Gartner, enterprise software revenues are expected to hit $381 billion and 8.6% growth in 2018. Steady growth in the adoption of data center systems, devices, IT services and communications services is also expected and hit $3,598 billion this year. And you know how many companies are embracing digital.
However, in May 2017, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, stated that though software may be eating the world, AI is going to eat software.
“...we can’t ignore the impact of a technology that brings 10 or 1,000 times better results,” says Huang, in reference to AI’s use in the medical industry. “[And] I have confidence that reasonable minds will realize the benefits of this technology…”
Adage’s Alexandra Bruell amusingly likened the need for shops to become a partner that can simplify the fragmentation in and data from their client’s campaigns to the winter coming in Game of Thrones.
“[This] is an apt metaphor for how agencies are gearing up for an ad future when clients go to market in new ways and seek radically different support from agency groups,” writes Bruell.
She goes on to quote Nick Brien of Hearst Corp.-owned digital agency iCrossing. He predicts a 25% reduction in headcount for holding companies in the next 5 to 10 years as a result of automation in content creation and distribution and the impact of AI on administrative roles.
You may like to read: Artificial Intelligence And The Future Of Marketing And Advertising Jobs
AI is the beast that will crunch through software and wonder what’s next on the menu. What will that future look like? How can shops add value during these times of incredible opportunity?
1. Focus on customers
Technology has forced a big wedge between audiences and media, meaning agencies need to embrace the move from media planning and buying, to audience planning and buying.
This audience planning and buying will be primarily driven by AI so marketers can keep buying in-house. With all that focus on audience planning, understanding your audience is what it’s all about.
Agencies with AI will also be able to move out in front of other marketers who are drowning in data, using AI-driven insights to identify patterns in their clients’ data and use it to satisfy their results-hungry clients.
2. Focus on simplifying the complex
Years of acquisitions, holding company mayhem, add-on offerings and other initiatives that were aimed at making agencies more profitable and sophisticated have made working with them complex at best.
Automation will make every angle of the marketing ecosystem more efficient and effective, as well as improve the working environment of shops for their employees. As automation is implemented, agencies can work on the things clients will appreciate and value the most: strategy planning, creative, insights and results. This makes for a happy agency team that is liberated from mundane and repetitive tasks and gets more fulfillment and juice out of both billable and non-billable hours.
This change will involve the creation of a new delivery model. Shops will need to streamline how they service clients and become more flexible and easy to work with, but this will put them in a great position and allow them to expertly deploy the value brands are looking for and will pay for.
3. Focus on partnerships
Agencies don’t usually make software. They come up with brilliant ideas and strategies, and bring them to life.
So most shops will choose to partner with the best technology companies to deliver all the benefits of AI and its results to their clients. A few others may choose to take the huge leap and risks required to acquire and build their own technology infrastructure. Each to their own.
Those that play to their strengths as advisors on how best to partner and connect the marketing ecosystem will be ideally positioned to respond to and leverage the advantages of AI’s rapid, agile development cycles and changing desires of modern brands.
Wondering who to partner with?
What about Adext, which has created the world’s first Audience Management as a Service (AMaaS) that applies AI and machine learning to find the most profitable audience for any ad at a cross-channel level?
Since Adext is using REAL AI, you will have a one of a kind guarantee: it’ll be completely free and it will not collect any fee for managing and optimizing audiences and budgets over multiple platforms (such as Facebook, Instagram and Google AdWords), unless its AI actually proves to deliver more conversions at the lowest costs.