How To Prepare Your Agency For AI And Machine Learning


Gone are the Mad Men days of high-margin retainers, scotch and sodas at lunch, and leaving at 5 p.m. We’ve all heard it before: Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will eventually replace us. There is no denying that artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly prevalent in almost every industry, including advertising and marketing. It can provide more personalized marketing opportunities through relevance and scale. AI allows marketers to better interact with their brands, services, technology and audience.

In fact, AI and machine learning technologies have already integrated into our day-to-day platforms to tailor campaigns to consumer intent “in the moment.”

The Google Marketing Platform (which launched in June of this year), for example, combines DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) and the Google Analytics 360 Suite to help you easily and conveniently plan, buy, measure and optimize digital media and customer experiences. Custom algorithm for search engine marketing (SEM) uses machine learning to increase viewable impressions for premium placements. This gives brands the opportunity to achieve higher impressions with a much lower cost per mille (CPM). The automated bidding feature uses AI technologies and real-time bidding for inventory across mobile, display, video and social.

Additionally, third-party platforms like RapidMiner use predictive marketing algorithms to determine the success of a campaign before it even launches. The platform drives revenue and reduces risk by unifying the entire data science life cycle, from data prep to machine learning to model deployment.

With sophisticated platforms such as these in the market today, who needs humans?

Don’t be in a hurry to pack up your cubicles just yet. In my opinion, the biggest gap in agencies today is the lack of knowledge or understanding of these platforms and the value they can bring to teams. The agency model of the future is one that combines platforms and people — a team that can strategize and execute using the power of platforms but also apply human insights to support campaign success.

So, how do we implement change? Here are a few ways to prepare your teams for this paradigm shift in your current agency offering:

1. Revisit Your Positioning 

Agencies will always need human capital to execute flawlessly, but make sure that your existing services speak to innovation. Clients want agencies to tell them what’s next. Prepare your teams to speak to the updated services offerings, and integrate the new messaging into your existing credentials presentations. Most importantly, hire professionals who can support the new value proposition.

2. Attend Conferences And Webinars

Conferences and webinars are worth the time and investment. By taking a day or two to attend, you and your staff can stay in the know on the latest emerging technologies within the AI and machine learning space. These events can also strengthen your agency’s thought leadership. The content learned at these events can turn your employees from new learners to experts. This demonstrates that your agency is doing its due diligence to stay innovative and learn about the latest technologies that can be used for upcoming client engagements.

Attending these conferences also provides meaningful content for your shared media channels. The content captured at conferences can bolster your agency’s social following just by posting or livestreaming relevant content.

3. Form Partnerships

Strengthen your offering by forming partnerships with emerging platforms. Seek out partnerships with businesses that will provide added value to your agency offering. Additionally, make sure partnerships are based on similarities, like shared goals, but do not have any conflicts of interest with your existing client roster.

By forming these partnerships, you can share valuable resources, from knowledge and consumer bases to subject matter experts. These partnerships can also provide increased awareness and visibility to your organization.

The agency model is changing. By taking an audit of your existing services, forming partnerships with emerging platforms and staying in the know, your agency will be set up for success.

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