As a Recession Looms, Automation Helps Brands Do More with Less

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By Hussain Rahim, Senior Product Marketing Director

As we enter the second half of the year, a storm cloud looms on the horizon: a potential recession. Many have reacted to the recent economic downturn by reevaluating their plans for hiring, with companies across sectors and verticals slowing recruitment to lower than previously expected levels, or having stopped onboarding new employees altogether. It’s easy to imagine many more will follow suit after news released that the US economy shrank at an annual rate of 1.6% in the first quarter of 2022, according to this Forbes article.

Still, there remains a clear need for skilled talent. According to this recent Q2 2022 CNBC Technology Executive Council Poll, 64% of tech leaders say it’s getting significantly harder to find skilled workers for their open positions.

What’s a business leader to do to negotiate the need for talent with the economic reality today? Embracing enterprise automation can help businesses maximize the potential of their existing talent and work more intelligently toward their goals.

Beyond Marketing Automation

Traditionally, when marketers think of automation, they envision managing CRM and email lists in the marketing space. However, automation goes much further. Digital process automation can extend broadly across the entire enterprise, unlocking efficiencies for business operations, ad operations, development ops and production operations.

For example, consider the role automation can play in digital media ad operations. Imagine if you could generate detailed naming conventions that easily organize the digital content in your campaigns, all based on just a few key points of information. You’d not only eliminate human error common in naming taxonomies, but also free time for campaign managers to focus on optimization and other strategic initiatives.

Or imagine if changes to copy in one asset automatically updated across each in-market use of that asset. This capability would be a boon for brands who require legal approval of assets before publishing, helping businesses cut down on time to market and generate content at scale more easily.

But perhaps the biggest benefit to enterprise automation is freeing people from repetitive tasks or unnecessary complexities in the workflow so they can focus their attention and energy on more complex work elsewhere. With stagnating growth in staff, redistributing your talent where they can make the most impact is crucial to maintain output amidst economic stress.

Building a Culture of Innovation, Enhanced by Automation

In addition to unlocking enterprise automation for global brands, we’ve fully embraced enterprise automation at Media.Monks and spoke here on Forrester about the opportunity automation offers to agencies.

We’ve also launched an internal company-wide initiative that asks everyone across the organization to identify a day-to-day task they can automate. The goal isn’t to build simple, personalized hacks like email inbox filters; it’s to help everyone, no matter their level of technical expertise, adopt a culture of innovation in which automation may continue to thrive and unlock new results.

This is important because simply throwing a new tool at a team doesn’t automatically solve all its problems. In fact according to this press release on Gartner, marketers use just 58% of their tech stacks’ breadth of capabilities—barely more than half of what they could be achieving. While automation is designed to fill these gaps, don’t forget the human component is essential in ensuring new tools and platforms are enthusiastically adopted and understood.

Enabling Efficiency by Reducing Complexity

Of course, automation looks different for every brand depending on their goals, the makeup of their team and their current level of digital maturity. We’ve had the chance to help many brands adopt enterprise automation, and the commonalities between each engagement were the complexities and siloes that prevent their people from working together

For a global entertainment streaming service, we found that a handful of teams needed to work together to launch digital media campaigns globally. Collaboration between these teams was difficult: there were too many overlapping teams, platforms and steps in the process of launching and running a campaign. Furthermore, the lack of a centralized source of truth made it impossible for them to deploy automation at scale. After auditing the tools used by each team, we deployed a custom automation tool that kept the features they loved and ditched the ones they didn’t, tailored to each their specific needs.

The new, automated workflow successfully cut 77% of the overall process needed to build campaigns. With just the push of a button, the teams can now deploy CM+DV360 campaign shells, traffic ads, assign media, and QA creatives in an instant. But most of all, the business was able to reduce the complexity of a workflow that spanned several teams across the globe, allowing them to focus more on strategy.

There’s No Better Time to Automate than Now

Businesses of all size, and across industries, can streamline processes and enhance their teams’ output through automation. But when considering your own automation investment in light of recent economic concerns, don’t forget the role that people play in ensuring automation is used to its greatest potential.

No matter how an economic recession may affect your business, automation offers an overall chance to do more with less—and its gains will continue to prove value when happier times come. This is key, because even in the best market conditions, no business is operating at maximum efficiency. Building an automation culture now ensures high performing teams who are capable of adapting to future market needs at speed: a strategy that will pay dividends for years to come.

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