Aug 18, 2023
Artificial intelligence (AI) has introduced a paradigm shift in the world of digital marketing. From automating mundane operations to synthesizing and summarizing complex information and writing content, we’re only at the beginning of what these tools are capable of.
Understandably, though, agency leaders are each approaching these new innovations at their own pace. If you own an ad agency, how have you handled using AI? Have you become a heavy adopter of the technology, or are you watching and waiting to see how it will more fully impact your business model?
Having concerns about AI is completely fair. It takes work out of human hands and entrusts them to a machine that has been trained by humans to repeat similar tasks. That requires confidence in the technology, and you may not have found that comfort zone yet.
However, it can’t be understated that AI marketing tools are immensely beneficial once you start to use them in a responsible manner. They can offset much of the recurring tasks that once needed to be completed entirely by hand, such as writing copy for SEO blogs or meticulously setting up each aspect of a Google Ads campaign with tools like Performance Max.
Simply put: Once you find the level of AI that you’re comfortable with, you’ll often find that it enables your team to be better marketers rather than take away from the value that your agency provides. Would you rather your copywriter spend more time crafting each piece of content by hand, or would you prefer them to have the ability to produce two or more blogs in the time it used to take them to write one?
If you’re exploring the possibilities of using AI in any capacity at your digital marketing or advertising agency, this guide is for you. Today, we’re going to cover the essentials about using AI, where its limitations are, and how you can find other solutions when AI isn’t enough to drive elite performance for your clients.
AI in Marketing: More Than Just Tools
AI in marketing goes far beyond the mere use of AI marketing tools. It is a vast field that encompasses a wide range of algorithms and machine-learning techniques. These can process data, predict consumer trends, and automate various marketing tasks. Recently, we’re seeing a new wave of AI-based search engine tools designed to enhance the way Google and Bing provide answers to users.
Understanding AI's broad scope is essential. It's not just about automating mundane recurring tasks but about providing insights into customer behavior, optimizing marketing campaigns, and enabling personalized customer experiences.
The importance of creating a strategic approach that incorporates AI at various touchpoints can't be overstated. This broader understanding helps marketers tailor strategies to better meet the needs of their audience, aligning with brand goals and customer needs.
Integrating AI: A Step-by-Step Guide
1. Define Your Goals and Objectives
Understanding what you want to accomplish with AI is your first step. Whether enhancing personalization, automating ad campaigns, or anything in between, defining clear objectives is paramount.
Before diving into AI, ensure that your objectives align with what AI can achieve. This involves understanding both the capabilities and limitations of various AI technologies and how they can serve your specific needs.
To further identify the best marketing AI tool for your agency, decide what tasks you would want AI to perform for you and which ones you think are best left in the hands of a human operator. Each agency will have different preferences, so choose which areas you think your team will have the most impact and provide the most value for your client’s campaign.
2. Select the Right Tools and Platforms
The market is indeed flooded with AI marketing tools designed for different purposes. Researching and finding those that align perfectly with your goals is essential, be it for SEO optimization, PPC campaigns, content generation, or predictive analytics.
Identifying your agency's specific needs and selecting tools that meet those needs requires careful review. Factors like scalability, user-friendliness, and integration with existing systems should be taken into account.
Don’t be afraid to test multiple solutions for the same task, either. Ask AI developers for product demos, watch tutorials on YouTube or elsewhere, and don’t be afraid to contact these companies for more information about their capabilities. If you’re investing in AI, you should select the best one to provide the greatest returns.
3. Train Your Team
AI tools can be complex. Providing comprehensive training for your team is crucial in order to empower them to use the technology productively and responsibly.
Training ensures that your team leverages the full potential of AI, helping them grasp the intricacies of the technologies they will be working with. Many AI tools are designed with the experience of the end user in mind, so they are often rather simple and can be utilized effectively after a little bit of practice.
4. Implement Incrementally, Measure, and Adjust
Don't overhaul your strategy overnight. Implement AI gradually, starting with one aspect of your marketing plan. Monitoring results, learning from them, and then expanding is a wise approach.
A phased approach ensures that the transition to AI is smooth. You can adjust your strategy based on real-world results, thus making incremental changes that align with your overall goals.
Utilizing metrics and analytics to continually evaluate how AI is affecting your marketing strategy is vital. The landscape of AI marketing tools is constantly evolving, so adapting as necessary ensures you stay ahead of the curve.
5. Create an AI Code of Ethics
AI provides immense potential for agencies, but it also comes with some risks. For example, tools like ChatGPT makes writing easy, but they can also not guarantee factual accuracy or freedom from plagiarism. Here, the responsible use of AI matters more than ever.
Create a code of ethics around each use case that you implement AI at your agency. How do you plan to handle these tools, what quality assurance measures do you have in place, and what is your alternative when AI cannot solve a problem that you have? Consider these, write them down, and plan to communicate them to your team.
Agencies Ask: Will Marketing Be Replaced by AI?
AI has dramatically altered the marketing landscape, but it's not without limitations. The question "Will marketing be replaced by AI?" can be answered by understanding the limitations of the technology, such as:
Lack of Creativity: AI tools are mostly intended to work off of the inputs entered by humans. This requires a creative user with innovative ideas, emotional intelligence, and strategic thinking that only a human can provide.
Dependence on Data Quality: AI needs excellent data to perform at its best. Inaccurate or biased data can create misleading results. A data architecture created by human strategists remains an essential component of digital campaigns.
Cost-Effectiveness: Depending on the AI tool used, costs can add up quickly to the point where you may be just breaking even rather than profiting from the investment. As you grow, you might find that machines are not your finance department’s best friends.
Inability to Self-Regulate: AI cannot self-regulate or put itself through an objective quality control process.
Ethical Challenges: If you serve clients in specialized industries like medicine, finance, or legal services, there is an inherent risk. Providing your client’s audiences with inaccurate information could create liability for their business. Someone with industry knowledge is still necessary to review the work performed by AI to safeguard against these issues.
Beyond AI: White Label Digital Agency Partners
As we saw above, AI does not come without its limitations. It can also not solve every challenge that your agency faces. Sure, it has plenty of conveniences and it helps every agency fill some needs, but when it comes down to elite performance, you cannot just AI your way to the top.
A white label digital agency partner is a team of digital marketing and advertising experts that assist your agency in offering an elevated service for your clients. Whether you are facing scope limitations, hiring challenges, issues with managing multiple vendors, or you’ve landed a white-whale client and need to deliver, your agency partner can help you.
For example, say your agency excels at SEO and social, but you do not have any programmatic advertising experts in-house. You’ve landed one of the biggest clients in your agency’s history, but they require OTT advertising as part of the campaign.
In a scenario like this, you can solve your scope, hiring, vending, and white-whale-sized client challenges in a single solution. Leveraging your partnership with a white label agency, you can entrust their white label OTT advertising campaign to an experienced analyst and re-label any deliverables, reports, or communications under your agency’s own brand. This allows you to maintain greater control over the service you provide to your clients in a cost-effective manner that does not require you to take on more overhead.
Connect with a White Label Agency Partner Today
At the end of the day, AI has plenty of helpful use cases, but it’s not a perfect problem-solver for everything. When you’re facing new challenges that machines cannot solve, there are other strategies to navigate the changing tides.
Let’s break it down into a simple takeaway: Use AI tools to boost efficiency, and leverage a white label agency partnership to boost performance.
That’s where Conduit comes in.
At Conduit Digital, we strive to serve successful ad agencies across North America as the elite white label ad operations performance partner. With 17 expertly managed channels in one single partnership, we deliver superior results for your campaigns all from our office in New Jersey.
To learn more about how we can help your agency scale further, let’s talk.