The legacy agency model has worked for many years, but the foundation that model was built for has shifted dramatically. What used to be a quarterly media buy has turned into daily optimizations. Healthy margins have been diminished by the sheer volume of channels under management. The "digital specialist" has become the search specialist, the social specialist is now the conversion tracking specialist, and so on. Coordinated messaging must now be aligned across thousands of ad groups and ad sets instead of three or four advertising spots.
What does a day in the life of a legacy agency model look like now? In short, it looks painful.
However, according to a Forbes survey, companies that adopt robotic process automation (RPA) see a 92% increase in overall employee satisfaction. RPA is a process used to streamline many critical business processes, to automate mundane and redundant tasks that otherwise take up valuable employee time. As such, RPA can improve the employee experience.
The results of this survey are noteworthy but not surprising, since automation enables employees to shift their focus from routine task work to creating a meaningful impact across the business. Employers will also benefit, as an increase in job satisfaction usually accompanies enhanced engagement and lower turnover rates.
A sustainable agency model for growth and success
If your organization hasn’t already adopted RPA, the following scenarios will be painfully familiar: Your agency is barely keeping up with staffing needs, or has fallen behind your staffing models, putting additional strain on existing employees that increases turnover and incurs a massive retraining cost. The existing employees on staff? They move from dousing fire after fire, spending the overwhelming majority of their time doing low-value task work such as tracking budgets on spreadsheets, performing endless minor change requests, fixing human errors in QA, clicking the same buttons again and again and generally trying to keep their heads above water. What gets left behind? Testing the latest features that drive product development, impactful conversations with clients, conducting marketing tests for performance improvement and thoughtful consideration of the tactical implementations of agency strategy.
Enabling mission-driven work
How does a forward-thinking agency combat this fundamental shift in the foundation of advertising? Technology is the obvious answer, and one that has been explored in depth over the last 15 or 20 years of digital advertising. However, another shift is already underway. Legacy automation solutions were built for legacy challenges, and those challenges have evolved.
The data explosion in the world is the driving factor of this shift. Today in your agency, you are sitting on mountains of data. There is data about your clients, data about the customers they are trying to reach, data being generated in real-time as prospects interact with the digital marketing campaigns you execute, data about the products and services they sell, etc. There are also processes—another form of data—that have been developed by you and your teams to execute what is needed by your clients.
Legacy automation has generally been built to produce a static result, hundreds or thousands of times. It helps with the scale of your business, but sacrifices are required. Customized messaging for hundreds of locations? Not possible. Pulling the performance levers at a campaign-by-campaign level in response to client data? That would be a manual project. Implementing one strategy for rural locations, and then a completely different strategy for an urban location?
Sorry, one size has to fit all. Additionally, your team's processes must adapt to the technology limitations.
Is this simply a limitation of the technology itself? Is this the paradigm that we all must operate under due to some external and uncontrollable factor? Or is it time to fundamentally rethink how we collectively view what technology should do for us?
A flexible solution adaptable to unique strategies
Robotic process automation for advertising (RPA4A) is a fundamental redesign of the philosophy that drives technology decisions. It is a philosophy of flexibility over rigidity, of capturing and automating the best parts of your strategy and processes instead of dictating what strategy you have to deploy and the processes you must adopt in order to work within the confines of the solution.
Where legacy technology dictates how your digital advertising campaigns must be structured, RPA4A has flexibility at its core to adapt to your unique strategy. When legacy technology demands certain formats delivered a certain way before you can leverage your data, RPA4A is built to ingest data as it is in the real world, in many formats and delivered in many ways. Where processes are built around legacy technology to fill in the gaps manually, RPA4A mimics the processes your teams have decided are important, and executes them flawlessly, 24/7.
To put it simply, the most important question we should all be asking of our automation is this: "Do I have to adapt to the solution, or is the solution built to adapt to me?" RPA4A is the answer to the foundational shift.
Unlocking your competitive advantage
Whether you’re a multinational brand, an agency or somewhere in between, Fluency’s RPA4A platform helps organizations of any size realize their full potential quickly and effortlessly. Innocean—a global advertising agency spanning 19 countries, needed an advertising solution designed for speed-at-scale. As a result of our partnership, Innocean scaled its customer base by an incredible 740%.
“Fluency's RPA4A solution was a powerful platform for new social asset creation plus search capabilities," said Caroline Villarroel, group digital media director at Innocean. "What also stood out was its customizable approach to cross-tier peer alignment for our industry, and the ability to cross-change budget between platforms. That was unique to Fluency. It’s a game changer when you have to do it thousands of times.”
Evil robots and rogue tech are the stuff of dystopian sci-fi. It's high time ad agencies embraced the potentially limitless potential of robotics to win the present and the future.
Originally published on May 19, 2022, as "A Day in the Life of An RPA4A-Powered Agency" on Fluency's blog.