Perspective - Embracing AI for operational excellence and industry evolution

By Zac Chapman | 6 December 2023
Zac Chapman.

In the ever-changing media world, the rise of artificial intelligence brings both significant challenges and exciting opportunities. There's a lot to consider regarding planning improvements, data capability enhancement, attribution modeling, and security in relation to AI tools. However, what really fascinates me is the impact on operations. AI promises to automate processes and boost efficiencies, but a critical question arises: do media agencies truly understand which processes need this automation? The intricacies of their operations, the time it takes to 'make the sausage', might not be as clear-cut as one would assume. Traditionally, likely due to the original structure of their commercial model, detailed operational introspection has not been prioritised by media agencies.

 This insight first struck me at a conference with a client last month. One of their major suppliers presented their manufacturing processes in detail, demonstrating complete control and understanding over each step. They knew precisely how every part contributed to overall efficiency and quality. This was in sharp contrast to the sometimes-unclear operations of media agencies. It made me think: if media agencies could gain this kind of detailed understanding, they could use AI to simplify the complex system and employ machine learning tools to model potential improvements.

The major headwind for the media industry isn't adopting new technologies like AI. It's more basic. It's about understanding our internal processes to make informed decisions on the best use of these AI technologies.

 While we continue to put forward data and analytics for our clients, it doesn't always reflect how we as agencies operate internally. It's ironic that agencies providing digital transformation advice still rely on Excel spreadsheet for approving major campaigns. In my experience, many media agencies don't actually know how long each part of their process takes, usually offering standard service agreements to all clients. This lack of use of new technology for operational improvements and a detailed understanding of the process leads to challenges in showing clients the real value of our services.

The biggest opportunity for media agencies is how we use AI for ourselves. To do this effectively, an agency must have a detailed understanding of its own system.

I am convinced these improvements will be game-changing for small to medium-sized agencies. One of the major challenges for a small to medium-sized agency is that we invariably work with many other small to medium-sized businesses. An agency that can improve their operations to service small-medium sized business and still scale will see huge financial benefits. It is those smaller businesses that are nimble enough to effectively execute the changes that are recommended by such AI systems. By enhancing operational efficiency and clarity, they then become more profitable and better able to compete with larger firms.

As we push to integrate AI into our day-to-day work, we're not just adapting to new technology; we're reshaping the very nature of our industry.

Zac Chapman is Managing Director, Assembled Media (a member of the Assembled Group)

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus