As part of the AI Academy for Marketers membership, we offer monthly Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions with leading industry experts. We chat about everything from technology trends, use cases, lessons learned, to much more.
This post offers an inside look into the latest, exclusive members-only session with Jessica Miller (@jessica_joellen), General Manager, PR 20/20. During the session, she discussed how AI can augment and accelerate agency operations—all questions stemming from her certification offered in the AI Academy for Marketers (linked below).
Below is a quick video from our chat, followed by top takeaways from the conversation.
What's your sense of where the market is with AI adoption?
It's that shiny object right now. But then when you get into talking about it with clients and agencies, the conversation revolves around things like tagging data correctly (i.e. a lot of the non-glamorous to dos). For now, the gap that we are filling is the ability to connect different tools to people who have a certain use case or challenge. When pros uncover a tool that solves for a specific challenge, it sets them in the right direction and shows them what is possible.
How do you know which AI tools are worth your time?
We first think about the master strategy and overall goals, Then we think, how AI can be a part of that plan to achieve our goals? When you think about applications, prioritize by what will have the most impact. Also look for quick wins to showcase the value of AI. For more on this, we suggest looking at chapter 3 in Jessica's course for more on piloting AI.
What tools are you using that have made a positive impact on the agency?
MarketMuse is a great example for PR 20/20. We use it all the time for content strategy and production. It surfaces suggestions to help us drive traffic and better optimizes our content. It's a really natural technology that fits into the service mix. We've tried to stay very true to the services we offer, but we are always experimenting with new technologies. Other tools I'd suggest checking out include: frase.io (https://www.frase.io/
Why are agency partner programs important?
You are buying MarTech to achieve a goal. If you happen to switch to smarter technology, that changes internal processes, pricing and training. A partner who knows how to help you along the way is a big bonus. We were the first HubSpot partner back in 2007, and we've seen every iteration of the program. It's changed dramatically. A lot of vendors are back where HubSpot was in 2008, but they know agencies are a vehicle to drive revenue. A lot of them are looking to HubSpot as a model. There is a great opportunity to make some bets on new interesting technologies and become a part of those partner programs.
For a small agency, how do you think about the pilot process?
The ideal would include building a master database with every technology we've ever worked with categorized by the goal it helps you achieve, data required, who internally has used it, etc. Also, make sure someone owns the relationship with the vendor at hand. To merge that with what we are doing currently, we host internal workshops for resource sharing. Bottom line: always have a vision for how you will level up your team! We should be helping the next generation of marketers understand this stuff so they can apply it.
The Algorithmic Leader: How to Be Smart When Machines Are Smarter Than You. This book gives marketers a good perspective of what is possible with AI. It's about looking at problems differently!
It is so early in the adoption of AI. The industry at large doesn't understand it yet, but they are going to. The tipping point is coming! Corporations are realizing there is a smarter way to do what they do. As you get started, make sure you ask the right questions and stay realistic.
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Sandie Young was formerly the Director of Marketing at Ready North. She started at the agency during the summer of 2012, with experience in magazine journalism and a passion for content marketing. Sandie is a graduate of Ohio University, with a Bachelor of Science from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.