Under-staffed advertising agencies turn to outsourcing and automation

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  • Advertising agencies face a crush of new jobs as an influx of brand accounts prepare to change hands.
  • But agencies stand to lose to the company as they face a talent shortage.
  • To fill the void, they recruit everything from interns to freelancers and automation.

Advertising agencies are bracing for a frenzy of new business arguments, but lack the staff to handle them.

Agencies have a great opportunity to earn business as brands start spending again and put billions in ad spend up for grabs.

But Graham Brown, co-founder and CEO of agency research firm MediaSense, said brands for media buying pitches in particular require more complex ideas and expensive ways to target consumers, which requires to large agency teams.

At the same time, exhausted people are dropping out of the advertising industry in droves, and agencies are struggling to recruit talent to fill hundreds of vacancies. All of this forces agencies to Sit certain locations.

Brown said agencies “are much more demanding of what they stand for and what they won’t stand for.”

Brown said with agencies facing costs of up to $ 300,000 to $ 500,000 to start an account worth around $ 500 million, they only make one or two big pitches. worlds at a time, when they may have juggled three or four in the past. .

When agencies pitch, they use “all the resources – freelancers, people from other offices, interns and yes, automation,” said Joanne Davis, founder and president of research firm Joanne Davis Consulting.

Davis said she sees many agencies attracting employees from different offices to participate in a pitch, which is easier to do in a remote working environment.

“We’ve done more inter-office pitches than usual, but mostly we stick to the ribs,” said Jason Harris, CEO and president of advertising agency Mekanism. He said the agency would twin its east coast and west coast offices to present accounts.

An executive at a holding company said they were seeing advertising companies everywhere using more freelancers to start new businesses.

Agencies are also relying on automation to fill their staffing gaps.

One company they use is Helixa, a consumer information platform that automates data and strategy work.

Christine Burke, Helixa’s vice president of growth, said the platform has received an influx of business from agencies since the pandemic, when agencies laid off staff and had to do more with less.

Helixa uses AI to determine what people are interested in buying based on their social media habits. She said agencies mainly use it to present new business, but also for existing clients.

She said that an agency used Helixa to win an energy drink brand and was surprised to learn that the brand attracts a lot of people over the age of 50, not just young gamers.

WPP’s VMLY & R agency is one of Helixa’s clients, who said the platform saves the agency from having to use multiple tools to get the same information.

The shift to automation and outsourcing may continue even as the labor shortage eases.

Brown said agencies are also pushing their clients to think about offshoring, offshoring, and outsourcing back office operations such as pre- and post-campaign work, ad serving and campaign management. platform.

An agency “can only work on so many challenges” at a time, he said.

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