Artificial intelligence isn’t just big. It’s downright enormous. In fact, Bloomberg reports that the global AI industry has skyrocketed past the $400 billion mark and will likely develop at a compound annual growth rate of 39.4% through 2028.
What does this mean for agency owners like you? The future of marketing will be intertwined with AI. After all, AI is already part of everyday consumer life. Case in point: People don’t think twice about allowing Grammarly to recommend commas or Zoom to automatically transcribe meetings.
However, many agencies aren’t currently using AI tools. Some simply lack the confidence to experiment with AI, while others struggle with departmental silos. If you’re lagging behind, you’ll want to catch up quickly to ensure your spot as a next-gen agency.
Understanding AI as an Agency Owner
The best way to comprehend the potential of AI is to view it as a practical technology in its infancy stage. As such, AI hasn’t yet been folded into all marketing technologies. You have to look and ask for it rather than assume every software leverages it. This isn’t to say that AI won’t one day be mainstream. It’s just not there right now.
So, what happens when you encounter an AI-enhanced system or program? If you feel it might help your team with one of your core focuses, try it out to see how advantageous it can be. For example, let’s say that 80% of your revenue stems from designing email marketing campaigns. In that case, you would want to itemize the duties your team performs in developing, deploying, and monitoring those campaigns. Once you have a list of those to-dos, you can build out some use cases where AI might be beneficial.
Taking this type of tactical approach when bringing AI into your agency allows you to test drive AI where you need it most. You don’t need it for everything. You just need it to help your team be more efficient by streamlining repetitive manual tasks eating up your team’s time.
Here’s the critical takeaway: You don’t need to invest billions of dollars into AI to boldly move toward becoming a next-gen agency. However, you do need to identify where AI can help you grow and scale.
Visualizing the AI Tech Stack of Next-Gen Agencies
Want to quickly become a next-gen agency? You might be prepared to adopt AI already. If so, partnering with a few reputable AI vendors (think tech stack portfolio diversification!) could put you ahead of the pack. The key is picking the right ones to align with.
Today, there are hundreds of AI vendors. Opt for ones that are built to solve narrow, straightforward issues. At the same time, contemplate whether vendors are likely to acquire or be acquired. An AI vendor that only pushes out a single feature will likely be scooped up by a bigger vendor. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it does mean you’ll have to migrate to a different system after the acquisition.
After selecting your vendors, you should avoid building your agency around the AI products you choose. Use those products to boost your offerings, not construct entire departments or service lines around them. If the partner goes under or ditches its old product, you want to be able to operate independently of the solutions you adopted.
As a next-gen agency, you’ll also need to accept that a lot of what you do will likely be automated in five years. With this in mind, try to get ahead of competitors by experimenting with as many AI tools as you can. Concentrate your efforts on categories specific to your fundamental marketing disciplines.
There is little doubt that smart marketing is just around the corner. The sooner your agency gets on board, the sooner you can build an AI-infused system that’s sustainable, scalable, and stable.