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The time of big budgets is over - now what?

The future of our agency projects will be scoped around more affordable and better solutions.

The future of our agency projects will be scoped around more affordable and better solutions. Why do I say that?

AI and data is re-writing the agency offer

I first started exploring how data could assist and drive decision making back in 2021 at the Google Relay event. The problem I had was that we would typically work with the assumptions in the room and base decisions off that. It was the fastest way to get started, but it had obvious flaws:

Have you heard the phrase "the best ideas are outside the building?" Business leaders that spend the majority of their time on operations are not sourcing the information they need to make more impactful decisions.

AI and data at large now have a better interface (through ChatGPT and Notion AI) and are starting to challenge traditional agency offers, in the following ways:

It's harder than ever to justify yearly salaries of an expert team at a time when there are so many technological alternatives.

Get used to doing more for less

"Do more for less." We hear this a lot. It's the ask of clients, but that has to be turned to how agencies function as well. Whilst it's not widely recognised, companies are acting like there's a recession. Budgets cut, people let go and departments reorganised. The thing is, this shouldn't be a one time thing. Businesses should continually challenge themselves to be more efficient, lower cost and increase effectiveness (and profit). It's what the leadership team and investors are consistently looking for. Anything has to tie to business objectives and judged on the criteria of:

Help clients build tools for themselves

I was looking at Weld earlier this week. It looks to be an incredible tool for bringing together your data sources and enabling them to be accessible to all parts of your business. Agencies could start providing these kinds of 'assembly' services, especially when an outside view is not swayed by office politics and can cut through. Using off the shelf tools, creating small apps to help the business make more decisions, could actually be more of a strategic play to help the clients themselves identify problems that could then lead to outsourced or collaborative projects with agencies.

When an agency delivers a solution, they should absolutely be offering training as well. Making ourselves obsolete is another way of opening ourselves up to innovation. If we can teach our clients what we know, what should be learn next?

Do you agree? Will the biggest agencies need to move to a smaller project situation?