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Is AI the End of Agencies As You Know Them?



On 10 April, the Association of National Advertisers published a new article;

"Is AI the End of Agencies As You Know Them?"

which features comments by Decideware, Inc. CEO Richard Benyon.


Forrester: Predictions 2020: Agencies Report

"If Forrester's recent  ‘Predictions 2020: Agencies’ report is correct, this is the year that agencies will ‘upgrade or fade,’ either delivering ‘more synchronized, impactful campaigns and experiences’ or finding themselves falling by the wayside. The marketing research firm has a pretty good idea about the impetus causing such dramatic change: artificial intelligence and machine learning, which will transform 80 percent of agency jobs by 2030. And such a transformation will no doubt have a significant impact on client-agency relations. But how?

‘This transition is arguably already underway,’ says Jay Pattisall, principal analyst at Forrester, lead author of the report. ‘The impact of automation is transforming agencies and jobs, some of which will thrive, some will transform, and some will go away completely.’

The changes will completely upend the client-agency relationship, transforming everything from deliverables and metrics to projects and interactions. In some cases, the transition will automate the client contact role and impact how projects are charged and billed, Pattisall says.

Sounds daunting? It shouldn't, because automation and the changes it ushers in can be a boon to those agencies willing to take some chances. ‘AI is not the agency job destroyer the industry perceives it to be,’ Pattisall adds. ‘Traditional agencies will need to adjust their skills and outputs [but] this is an opportunity for those agencies willing to transform.’”


The Importance of People

“Forrester's Pattisall says AI and machine learning speeds up the creative process, but agencies must remember that the human element is integral — now and forever. For example, there are already AI-assisted platforms writing copy, but what they write is questionable, he says. ‘[AI] is not about replacing but enhancing what a creative does,’ Pattisall says. ‘There's always a risk of relying too heavily on technology or becoming overly reliant on technology to the exclusion of good ideas.’ To help illustrate the point he cites various mobile apps created for airline companies. ‘When they all do the same thing and all look alike [as they do], how do you tell the brands from each other?’ he says. ‘That's where creativity and branding is needed and must continue.’


“Another agency veteran stresses that agencies should be cognizant of what AI is best used for, but not forget the secret sauce that humans can provide, in terms of the creative. ‘The elements of the creative flow that are process oriented and rely on data for decision making and workflow that underpins the client-agency relationship are the ones that technology can best assist in,’ says Richard Benyon, CEO and co-founder of Decideware.


“Richard Benyon, CEO and co-founder of Decideware, adds: ‘It is vital that technology should never replace communication. It should provide important insights, but not get in the way of the irreplaceable magic that happens when teams collaborate and innovate.’"


The ANA and Decideware

Decideware is a long-standing ANA Thought Leader Partner.