What the experts think about the future of agency AI
Waypoint Partners hosted #MachineMastersLive in Glasgow on 18th May, bringing together leaders from the agency, sales and retail sectors. Our expert panel shared their opinions on how AI is already influencing how agencies operate and how they need to adapt to the new technology to become Machine Masters. Here are some of the key insights from our discussion on the topic “Is 2023 the year of AI marketing?”:
Don’t prioritise efficiency to the detriment of creative effectiveness
– Gill Wylie, Head of Planning, Frame
“We need to be selective about where we use AI in the creative and development process.
“There’s the risk of being caught up in the race to average. As algorithms are based on existing data, they’re essentially the average of all of us. So, there will be brands who use AI to the best of their creative potential and many others will use it to create very average work at great speed.
“Prioritising efficiency should never be to the detriment of creative effectiveness. Our job is to stand out and be remembered. It’s to get people to think something different about a brand – it’s about being impactful. If AI helps us do that more efficiently, that’s great, but we need to be creative about how we bring AI into our work.
“So need to consider how and when we use AI. At Frame, we’re already using AI for many different projects, especially for research and creative jumping off points. We find 90% of what we get back is drivel, and there’s 10% that’s golden nuggets. You take those nuggets and then you build the creative idea.”
AI will change the nature of our work from process-driven to strategy-driven
– Emily Hackner, Director of Product, Ask BOSCO™
“I don’t want any of my team to be replaced with AI technology. The two need to work together. However, our agency teams love our AI software because they don’t have to do performance reporting on a Monday anymore. Now you can get a prediction at the push of a button that would normally take a whole week of work. It gives you a starting point, and then you can add layers of analysis and judgement over the top of it.
“I think people’s jobs will change. I think people won’t be much less process-driven. They can use the freed up time to be more strategy-driven. There are other jobs that are going to be created. The nature of our work will shift to becoming more strategic and insightful.”
AI should be used to create a fully personalised retail experience
– Alan Gormley, CEO, Shopbox AI
“I’ve been in the AI industry since 1997, and artificial intelligence has existed in some form for decades longer than that.
“AI can be used to create a space where the shop adapts to the customer. As it learns more about the shopper, it finds more interesting products for them – just like a physical store.
“Most AI in retail largely drives everyone to the average. The average is often the best seller products with zero differentiation. That’s an awful place for customers to be. Let’s start from a place where we say, ‘how do you take it away from the average and making it about discovering the interesting?’. Using AI is extremely effective when we turn its focus from the average to the personal. That’s when it will make life richer.”
We need to get the basics of human connection right first
– David Kean, Author and chair, Catalyst
“I’m afraid there is no substitute for the hard graft of building relationships with clients. It’s an art in itself and it’s a science too. AI can definitely help in the preparatory stages. But the way I see people trying to engage with clients using just AI is lamentable.
“You all started your businesses because you wanted to do different stuff. Clever stuff, stuff that made an impact, stuff that made a difference. Using AI can seem efficient, but it won’t really be if it doesn’t result in anyone coming to your door.
“AI can be a lifeline for R&D and initial drafts, but when it comes to securing business – true human connection will always be needed.”
For more information on AI’s impact on the agency-sphere, read Martin Ward’s article, Rise of the Machine Masters: Why agencies need to make the most of AI.