Carat Digital Director, Anthony O’Callaghan, believes AI is more friend than foe for media agencies, with the potential to transform the way they operate, making space (in minds, as well as calendars) for more creative and strategic thinking.
There’s been a great deal of talk around artificial intelligence and automation as a threat to jobs and the survival of media agencies in the not so distant future. I certainly don’t disagree with its potential to kill off, or at the very least, drastically alter the agency model as we know it; I just don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing.
As anyone in an agency will tell you, there is a heavily process-driven side to the life of a media planner/buyer that can, at times, feel robotic in nature. This day to day ‘business as usual’ (BAU) activity – booking, reporting, auditing, finance, spot-checking; the list goes on – forms the backbone of any media agency. Without it, agencies simply couldn’t function.
‘Business as usual’ can, however, leave very little time in the day (or space in your mind) for the kind of innovation and future-focused thinking that inspires and excites not only clients, but the planners themselves.
What AI offers agencies is an opportunity to give BAU to the ‘bots; to look up from the day to day and make space in their minds and calendars for more creative, strategic thinking.
At the recent ad:tech in New York, AI was potentially the biggest buzzword being thrown around since we last talked ‘the year of mobile’. Whilst the discussion was thought-provoking, the majority of conversations focused on the benefits for advertisers and consumers, rather than the immense opportunity it offers for internal process improvement.