AI Will Start Displacing Agency Staffers In 2018

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, December 21, 2017

It’s that time of year and here are my predictions on trends that will impact the media and marketing sectors next year. 

The death of impressions 

Impressions are essentially spam.  The consumer doesn’t have to respond to a single ad. Ever. And they will still be targeted if their demo / psycho profile matches the target audience specs. That’s why attention will replace impressions as the key metric in display. Humans have a limited amount of attention which means there is a feedback loop that rewards relevant content. 

AI starts displacing agency staffers from the bottom up 

Creative directors have nothing to fear - yet. But lower level art directors, writers and production people do as AI begins to take on work - intensive tasks like versioning of ads, especially for retail. 

Retail transformation 

Retail is a disaster. Now what? Do all the stores close? Depends partially on what you define as a ‘store.’  Consumers may be buying online, but retail is still the ultimate brand experience. Think of retail as the showroom, not necessarily the place where you transact. 



All those for rent signs in malls are a wonderful opportunity to do pop-ups at scale.  Look for brands that never had their own stores to ‘pop up ‘ in unusual places.  

Influencers gain influence 

We’ll see more influencers who are long-term brand builders versus tweets for hire.  And influencers who own shares in the brand (see P Diddy and Cîroc mega success).  

Direct-To-Consumer becomes the most important channel 

You can’t make money selling through retail chains. You can’t make money selling through Amazon. 

Marketers are going to start taking control of their brands through DTC online and secondarily via company stores. Owning the brand will mean owning the distribution channel  

Block chain transparency 

Not yet ready for prime time, but it will be scaling as we exit 2018 and a force in 2019, so get familiar with it now. 

A parallel digital ecosystem with the consumer in control 

No, not like that. I mean really in control. Like Brave, backed by Peter Thiel, it will utilize bitcoin and block chain technology to reinvent the entire ecosystem around consumer preferences. Goodbye cookies. 

Think about search. It’s built around consumer utility. Compare that to impression - based marketing in which consumers get bombarded with tons of messages they don’t want--see microscopic click through rates as evidence. In this model, consumers have a say in the content they receive and become partners with brands, not adversaries. No more spam. Marketing becomes a true value service that consumers want, and might even pay for!


1 comment about "AI Will Start Displacing Agency Staffers In 2018".
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  1. Frank O'Brien from Five Tier, Inc., December 22, 2017 at 7:59 a.m.

    Great post Jon and Happy Holidays! Would love your thoughts on KPM's vs CPM's linked here -

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