How Automation Helps Marketers Grow Their Competitive Edge
Any professional who has worked at a digital marketing agency or spoken to agency staff is familiar with the following scenario: The agency scores new business, but rather than celebrating, personnel is paralyzed by the thought of dozens more campaigns to manage. Staff spends so much time on repetitive tasks that the agency cannot devote enough resources to the services that differentiate it from competitors.
Enter advertising automation software. In a high-tech industry like digital advertising, there is no reason campaign managers should be spending most of their time on campaign optimization, which software can streamline. But many agencies are hesitant to automate campaign creation and management, worrying that doing so could sacrifice the customized service that provides their edge.
While understandable, this concern gets the value proposition of automating advertising on platforms like Google and Facebook backwards. Automation does not make all agencies the same; it eliminates the work that is the same across agencies.
Automation empowers marketers to spend more time providing white-glove client service, diving deeper into analytics to identify new opportunities, and developing creative to help clients cut through the cluttered digital environment. These are the activities that truly distinguish one agency from another.
Provide top-notch client service
Relationships are the key to earning and retaining clients. Marketing automation can give marketers more time to tailor service to clients’ specific needs and communicate efficiently.
Plus, by automating marketing workflows, agencies can get access to faster and more abundant data on campaign performance. That real-time data can be compiled into useful reports to send to clients. Sharing relevant knowledge regularly builds trust for the long term, whereas agencies bogged down in manual work might be so busy orchestrating campaigns that they lack the time to communicate their value.
Similarly, marketing automation keeps agency teams organized, allowing for better communication with clients. For example, send out emails automatically at the end of each week with campaign results. Or get reminders when it’s been a while since a client has been contacted. Consistent communication keeps clients in the loop.
While automation is taking care of the rest, agency staff can spend more time getting to know the client, speaking to their various business units, and understanding their objectives. That leads to better performance for them and increased loyalty.
Identify the opportunities machines can miss
Marketers know that automation plays a key role in how they identify and speak to audiences. For example, it can provide information on customer behavior by tracking them across social media and learning about their engagement with content. Google and Facebook are constantly rolling out tools to allow for targeting with less manual input from marketers.
But automated intelligence does not do the whole job of a marketer, and with automation focused on rote tasks, agencies can focus instead on the parts of their jobs machines are not fit to do. That might involve reading industry news sources, researching competitors and maybe even heading out into the real world to speak with customers — all of which involve the type of strategic thinking for which agencies hire their talent.
Plus, it’s not data or even analytics that separates good agencies from great ones; it’s the decisions agency talent makes based on the data and analytics provided by software. With automation, agencies get more time to devote to this differentiator. So, when Google diminishes tracking on the open web and forces marketers to get creative about where and how to reach customers previously targeted by third-party pixels, agencies can come back with ad targeting plans tailored to a given client.
Cut through the clutter with creative
Creative is an agency differentiator that ultimately transcends automation. With so much content circulating on TV, social media, and across the internet, it can be hard to stand out. Automating repetitive tasks allow agencies to focus on crafting the right message to tell their client’s story in a way that their customers will remember.
No algorithm can help agencies craft a trending Tweet or add just the right dose of humor to an email campaign. Instead, agencies rely on their staff to come up with a creative ad that will make its mark on end customers and therefore their clients.
Automation can support the creative process, too. Test out an ad, gather data, analyze the results, tweak, and repeat. Find out what is working and proactively optimize campaigns to seize new opportunities.
That extra time spent innovating creative campaigns might just get noticed. Brands want to work with agencies that are on the cutting edge. The agency’s role is to help the client elevate their business by creating campaigns that resonate with customers. Spend more time on that by automating the rest.