//Why Agencies Feel "Wrong" About Automation
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Why Agencies Feel "Wrong" About Automation



In terms of automation, many agencies are ambivalent about technology. Survey of Marketing Land's Digital Agencies found that 72% of respondents said "neutral" to the question of what they thought of automation. I was not at all surprised by this high number based on my own agency experience. Here's why.

1. We lose sleep by trying to meet the demands of talent

On the one hand, we are simply trying to cope with the abundance of customer demands and the speed of change in the industry. Most of the time, the demand for work is higher than that of people who know how to do it. I am not surprised that the survey revealed that 70% of the agencies surveyed are hiring. Nearly 50% of this group reported having difficulty filling positions and only 20% of them indicated that they could do so relatively easily.

On the other hand, I think we are actually trying to juggle the growing demands of customers. And do not forget the time needed to recruit, train and retain talent. Somewhere in the middle of all this, we are supposed to be concerned about "automation". Agencies only learn to learn to work smarter as much as possible. For the rest, we juggle deadlines, extinguish a fire on Twitter or try to keep abreast of new technologies, test, update and … everything else.

2. We only touch the surface with the AI ​​and automation

Most companies do not even show what automation can actually do for them when they are examining a potential martech stack. From what I've seen – especially in the OEM and B2B sectors – more and more companies are paying for Salesforce, who still do not know what Salesforce Pardot is, Marketo or no other marketing automation system. Nevertheless, they use them to take over their agencies or marketing services.

The worst part is that some of them own the systems and do not use them. For those with marketing automation systems, not everyone has the internal resources or budgets to implement them properly to make an impact. And, we are not talking about small businesses. We are talking about $ 100 million worth of businesses and some of the largest private companies in the world.

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This caricature reflects a real story.

In marketing, the AI ​​really means logic-based learning systems that optimize for what we ask them to optimize, based on the strategies we create. All this still requires advanced strategic thinking, high level technical skills and analytical tools. That's why I'm not surprised that 41% of agencies surveyed said that data management and analysis was a key issue. and that 40 percent said that tracking automation was a challenge.

3. We are not robots, we should not trust robots

If, by a miracle, all companies used 100% full-potential automation on all possible Martech batteries, they still needed to be human. And, if I've learned something from Google in the last ten years, it's that you can not just "configure and forget". Whether it's auto-opt-in or out, or simple algorithm changes, the systems to their defined protocols is a sure recipe for a disaster. For additional context, a client once asked me to do it (yes, I had a little kick and a kick, but in the end it was a great study of cases). Here is a small overview of what we saw happen:

Costs increased by 40 percent
Conversion rate decreased by 25%

Other Failure: Someone remembers when Expedia's e-mails were sent during hurricanes? Fail. I'm not saying that automation has no place, and that marketers need help, but it should be used intelligently for companies with the resources to implement it.

4. We know the true story about the unicorn "full salesman"

We have all seen recruiting ads for an SEO, SEM, web developer, public relations, social media, technology expert, WordPress Guru, UX / UI, Martech ninja marketing specialist with over 7 years of experience. experience in everything, including dropping dry cleaning … like what?

Do not worry. Unicorns do not do our job faster than robots. Agencies know that unicorns are complete teams. Thus, even though 49% of those surveyed said that their clients opted for in-house agency services, I would not be afraid that this means that our jobs are going elsewhere.

So why is the majority of us currently hiring and we can not fill the positions fast enough? Because there is a strong demand for our expertise and our education. Even those of us who spend 100% of their time in this industry need to work together to deal with the situation. If automation is to increase efficiency to the extent possible, so much the better. But the reality is that it really has not changed much from our usual day. It's an adaptation as fast as the first time anyone said that SEO was dead. SEO has never died, it has just evolved. Automation is part of our evolution.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the invited author and not necessarily those of Marketing Land. Associated authors are listed here .

About the author

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Amanda Farley is a partner at SS Digital Media in the Greater Detroit area, where she leads operations and strategic planning. With nearly 10 years in the research sector, she uses her experience to lead the digital strategy of brands and companies. Her integrated campaign strategies have earned her and her agency recognition and rewards at the national and local levels. She is passionate about the growth of her teams, clients and local communities. Outside the office, Amanda speaks regularly at local and national conferences, including SMX events, FoundConf, HeroConf, PRSA and Detroit Women in Digital.