Managing the switch to automation
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Managing the switch to automationDecember 2022
Four digital media experts share their experiences of adopting automation, including managing clients’ reluctance to change and the internal fear of job loss. “Automation allows us to take the team that we have and expand the type of things that they get to do,” says Jeremy Hull, global SVP of search at Brainlabs, “By leaning into automation, we can enable people to do more across the entire agency.”
Watch as these leaders offer their advice for hiring talent, navigating change, and reassuring teams that — spoiler — automation does not steal jobs.
Tap into more automation management insights on the Think with Google YouTube channel.
Amy Yu: Is automation stealing jobs?
[Jazzy drum solo underscores speakers throughout]
Navah Hopkins: Automation is not stealing jobs.
Patrick Gilbert: Automation is stealing tasks.
Yu: It’s creating a need for a different skill set.
Jeremy Hull: Automation is changing the types of jobs that people do, and people will have to reskill or upskill.
Hopkins: There are actually new jobs that weren’t here before.
Yu: It just means we’ll have to evolve, as we have always done.
Off-screen voice: Common marker.
Yu: People don’t like change. Many of these people have been working on paid search for five, six, seven years. All of the little levers that they used to know they could activate in order to achieve a specific goal won’t work anymore. And then what is the goal?
Gilbert: We had an honest conversation about it, and then they went out and learned something and talked to me. And I learned something, talked to them, and we had an open conversation. It was like, “no, here’s the proof. I did this in this client account. It worked. Try it in yours.” And it worked for that. Once we had those conversations, it really took off throughout our agency, because we had the proof.
Hopkins: When we think about automation, the cornerstone of it is time. Giving yourself the time to succeed. I cannot ask my team to magically make ads perfectly perform when it’s a brand-new account and there’s no data. So make sure that there’s always at least a month baked in for anything new so that our clients are happy. But more importantly, our team is happy. Our team is our lifeblood.
Hull: Automation allows us to take the team that we have and expand the type of things that they get to do. That’s a good move for any agency, because if you have someone who is just ticking a box, who is just checking something off, who is just going through these menial, mindless tasks, that’s not exciting for them. That’s not developing them.
By leaning into automation, we can enable people to do more across the entire agency.
Amy Yu: Once we are onboarded to automation, then we have to educate our clients. We may not be achieving the KPIs that we were achieving before. Maybe this is the time for us to think of new KPIs, to think about the business more holistically, to challenge them.
Hopkins: Pick profit as your guiding star. If you start getting into the weeds with click-through rate, with quality score, with any metric that’s kind of vanity as opposed to real-world value, you’re going to end up confusing and muddling the conversation. Whereas if you’re that trusted, authentic, warm advisor, you actually care about the holistic picture.
Hull: I think every agency is at a pivot point where they’re trying to rebalance how much specialist expertise they need in each of their channels and how much strategic expertise they need. So when we’re hiring new people, we like to pair those very clear subject matter expertise, questions with broader reaching questions to ensure that when we’re talking to them, they’re curious enough to have an opinion.
Hopkins: “What is your favorite innovation from the past six months?” And the reason why that question is so useful as it does two really powerful things for me. The first is it tells me how much are people paying attention, but the more important bit it digs into, how much do they focus on the why versus the how?
Because not everyone is capable of thinking about the why and knowing from the onset that someone is tuned in and will have that why baked into how they think. Gold. Gold hire.
Hull: One of my favorite quotes is from a mentor of mine who said that when he was talking to people and trying to figure out if they were going to be good contributors and good leaders, he looked for people that had “strong opinions, loosely held.” Because if there’s one constant in this industry, it’s change.
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