The AI Powered Agency
5 AI-powered tools to help scale an agency.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are primed to revolutionize many industries. In the spheres of mar-tech, the implementation of AI and Machine Learning is fast becoming the competitive differentiator between companies operating in the past and those embracing the future.
As the idea of scaling a marketing agency using AI, instead of traditional hiring, transitions from fiction into reality, I can’t help but wonder what tools are already available today and what would this new hybrid company could look like?
In this article, I’d like to explore these subjects and examine four tools available today that can help a small marketing agency punch far above its weight.
Lead Generation: Growbots
“Fully automate outbound sales”
Any business starts with generating leads and Growbots does just that. First by prospecting a desired market niche, generating a list of company leads, then by contacting the decision makers within that niche through targeted email campaigns.
Though email automation is nothing new and the likes of MailChimp have been a fixture in the competitive landscape for years, Growbots take on lead generation and their ability to generate the initial market list is awesome and can help jump-start a company that’s looking to get into the game quickly.
An interesting case study of theirs is this company that managed to drop their prospecting time expenditure from a week to 3 hours.
Content Marketing: MeetEdgar
“Social Media, minus the time-wastey parts.”
MeetEdgar takes the tedious aspects out of content marketing by taking over social media management and alleviating some of that marketing media fatigue. It’s a simple solution to help creatives focus on generating content, instead of running from platform to platform, posting the same things over and over.
After creating a content library Edgar takes care of all cross-platform publishing and re-publishing of content, effectively repurposing your older posts to generate new traffic. It’s as simple as it is useful.
To quote Appsumo CEO, Noah Kegan” Edgar makes life better”, but if you’re interested in a deeper case study, here’s one by Museum Hacks, who managed to double their organic reach.
“ A platform designed to make your cross-channel reporting and insights easy. Datorama automatically integrates all of your marketing tools so you spend less time in spreadsheets and more time acting on the right insights to drive KPIs. “
Automatic reporting is one of those tasks that ‘should’ be easy, but in fact never is. The contextual ‘savvy’ necessary to generate an actionable report has long eluded software and as a result, the hours spent on reporting in an agency tend to grow proportionately to its clientele size.
Datorama sought to change this, with its clear graphs and visuals, the ability to merge a milieu of services and platform into a single concise source of truth while crafting clear and customizable reports from large, cumbersome data sets. Reports you’d be happy to share with a client or a co-worker.
Looking closely, it’s clear that Datorama is a strong product, and their recent acquisition by Salesforce, is testimony. The downside for Datorama is its rather steep learning curve which may be difficult for those less tech savvy.
“Smarter segmentation and retargeting.”
Machines are wonderful at collecting and organizing ‘hard’ user signals, like clicks and page visits. But when it comes to segmenting users into actionable audience groups, things tend to break down and it usually takes a data scientist to figure out the intention of those users who didn’t leave an obvious, ‘hard’ signal.
Fixel is a segmentation tool that focuses on ‘soft’ signals, in the bottom line, it generates high-value user segments – seemingly out of thin air. These segments can then be used to power dynamic retargeting campaigns or to seed lookalike audiences within your preferred ad platform.
Under the hood, Fixel uses AI to analyze user behavior and classify it based on engagement across many unique data points, ultimately boiling it down to one metric.
In essence, Fixel solves the question of ‘soft’ signals. Contrary to ‘hard’ signals like a click on ‘checkout’ or an abandoned cart, soft signals don’t have an obvious, performed action that can be measured but rather are a collection of many smaller actions that speak about a users intentions. Fixel’s AI understands that intent and transforms it into one metric that is simple and super actionable.
Fixel’s strength is the fact that it’s platform agnostic and works out of the box with the likes of Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Taboola and Outbrain which means, no learning curve and no onboarding needed. From Fixel’s surgical and specific nature, It’s clear it was built by seasoned marketers and their case studies like this one with Watches.Com that tripled their return on ad spent, or this one with Appsflyer that lowered their CPA by 50%, show’s they’re worth paying attention to.
Customer Support: Digital Genius
“DigitalGenius is the AI platform that puts your customer support on autopilot by understanding conversations, automating repetitive processes and delighting your customers.”
The age of “On Demand” isn’t very compatible with the notion of waiting for anything, especially customer service. Resulting in a barrage of solutions to help streamline the process or even automate it.
One solution that stands out from the crowd is DigitalGenius. Their AI analyzes an incoming message and suggests a reply according to predetermined flows, utilizing contextual data as well as existing or 3rd party knowledge bases. Each reply comes with a ‘confidence’ level, indicating how positive the AI is of its answer.
This ‘confidence’ parameter is nothing short of brilliant, separating DigitalGenius from your regular chatbot. By setting up a ‘confidence’ threshold, you can use the AI to both operate independently as well as augment a human operator, freeing up the time to focus on those interactions that matter, while keeping a watchful eye on more common, simple tickets.
Case studies for DigitalGenius include award-winning Dutch airline, KLM who uses DigitalGenius to support 50% of its all inquiries.
Conclusion: The Human Touch
While preparing this article I was surprised to find a very strong sentiment leveled against AI across the various blog posts, Reddit threads and forums I read through. An old sentiment that echoes the fear of being obsolete.
It reminded me of a 1958 Walt Disney animated film, “Paul Bunyan”, about lumberjack Paul and his trusted ox, Babe, who compete against a steam-powered lumber machine and lose the contest. The film voiced a popular sentiment and was a rebuttal against the industrial age, building a case against people losing their jobs and jobs losing their humanity for the sake of greed and efficiency.
Personally, I believe AI has the potential to absolve us of the mechanical aspects of our lives and ultimately allow us to be more human. To refocus us on that in which we are, and always will be, innately superior to machine. The realm of creativity and the ability to truly understand people, the way they communicate and how to craft a message that hits the heart.