An automation-first mindset


Ajaz Ahmed, Chief executive and founder, AKQA

New technology has exponentially democratised creativity and is dramatically transforming the industry. At the core of this revolution is the increasing use of AI automation and augmentation. The new tools empower more creators than ever to bring their ideas to life with speed and agility. At the same time, clients question the added value they receive from agencies. Automation of routine and repetitive tasks will accelerate client in-housing trends, while procurement staff will demand greater efficiency and quality from the smaller pool of partners they choose to work with. Because AI expedites monotonous tasks, humans should have more time and energy for vision, imagination and innovation. The media planning and buying landscape is entering a new era. With the unprecedented control and accuracy that AI provides in identifying and targeting specific audiences, brands can expect to see a major shift in the way they approach campaigns. Automation changes the game for optimising promotions in real-time to ensure effective placement, messaging and targeting to maximise impact and return on investment. Algorithms can instantaneously analyse vast amounts of data, identify patterns and seek the most effective channels to achieve required outcomes. Algorithms are also not prone to biases or inconsistencies affecting human decision-making, leading to more reliable results and consistency.

The inconvenient truth for the industry is that many tasks currently performed by humans can now be accomplished more efficiently, reliably, and cost-effectively by automation. Competing against both massive consulting firms and specialist boutiques, conventional agencies with complex structures, bureaucratic processes, heavy layers and unnecessary overheads face a daunting task to keep pace. Those who embrace the potential of automation will thrive, while others will struggle to remain relevant. Clients are enthusiastically adopting the potential of AI and embedding it throughout their operations.

Augmentation has emerged as an exciting new terrain. By working alongside creators as a co-pilot or a digital companion, new AI tools and platforms are powering impressive productivity gains and taking the work to the next level. We will see truly ground-breaking campaigns with the combined strengths of AI automation, augmentation and human creativity.

This is an extract from an interview with Campaign Magazine.