Digital Marketing AI Insider Hack: How Smart Agencies Use AI to Earn Clients

Robot hand extending index finger to touch a human hand index finger and at impact a bright light ignites. It's very E.T. phone home. Elliot friend.

This post shares a new twist on a classic AIMCLEAR deliverable that agency clients are eating up. We are turning marketplace uncertainty regarding AI into a major agency selling point. Read on for the secret sauce. 

As a foundational integrated digital marketing firm and grateful recipients of the most US Search Awards in history (including last 7 straight Best Small Integrated Agency citations), we passionately enjoy pitching agency services to select client prospects. AIMCLEAR also strives to continually earn existing clients ongoing business. One is silver and the other is gold. 

As such, we’ve always been keenly aware of evolving marketplace dynamics and specific services prospective clients seek, then tune our offerings with flexibility and innovation to master the next generation of marketing.  

Maintaining classic marketing values across integrated disciplines, without flipping the script and sucking because of AI, means doubling down on mutual empowerment and avoiding industry hype. 

Thriving in marketing for more than 16 years and still holding classic values true while pivoting on a dime marks the Tao that binds.  

Let’s first take a step back. Earlier this year, we codified our internal artificial intelligence research program, making our agency’s market analysis and tool-evaluation processes public with the announcement of AIMCLEAR AI Marketing Lab. AIMCLEAR has been at the forefront of emergent AI for years. AI is an “overnight” sensation that’s actually been gestating for about 15 years. Any marketer with history buying major platform ads, streamlining with third-party API management tools, competitive intelligence and monitoring tools, automation of many stripes, etc.- has been steaming along AI revolution tracks for more than a decade – some, perhaps, without even realizing it. 

Still, some marketers are in a lather, overloaded, and even frightened, considering the seemingly rapid onslaught of AI technology permeating our industry and virtually every corner of life. We enjoy watching the phenomenon of marketers running around as if AI is a sudden shock. Within hours of GPT becoming a public “thing,” the industry exploded with self-proclaimed AI “gurus.” As we’ve witnessed with each major new plateau of marketing technology, such faux thought leaders will be washed away by the actual wave of innovation with true experts leading the charge. 

Smart Agencies Put Client Needs First

Interestingly, AI has a plethora of agency and client-side applications for various use cases – including productivity, dev, creative, ideation, copy, image generation, dataset analysis, surfacing previously obscured correlations, and so much more. 

Reality is obvious. Clients and agencies alike are wondering whether it’s possible to truly perform better, faster, and save money using AI. Increased outcomes, to their minds, may flow from staff reductions while getting more done, less dependence on vendors, and raw speed of analysis. We invest significant time staying current. Some agencies closely guard AI learnings, as if afraid clients will discover how to do more without an agency.  AIMCLEAR knows there’s still no “easy button” to craft highly profitable integrated marketing programs which drive results sans extreme human expertise and expert moderation of AI. We’re not worried. 

The AI frenzy of 2023 has numerous pitfalls. AI literally hallucinates sometimes, with output ranging from garbage to outright falsehoods. It takes AI expertise to foster fantastic output through strategic thinking, exceptional marketing acumen, prompt mastery, and so much more. Meanwhile, legal, regulatory, and privacy concerns have already reared ugly heads and will only become more intense. 

Client Empowerment is Essential

One cool thing about being an integrated marketing agency is that our learnings are accelerated by testing across numerous case studies and disciplines in relatively small amounts of time. When tectonic changes, such as the internet itself or AI arise, we learn quickly in relation to brands that only have one or two of their own particular case studies as reference. 

For my entire career, I’ve made a living helping clients navigate massive technological changes, from non-linear computer-based video editing and computer-based graphic design to the very dawn of the internet. I’ve worked for publishers, broadcasters, retailers, B2B, B2C, creators, news organizations, .edu’s, agencies, entrepreneurs, artists, and so many other verticals. 

Marketing leaders need to stay the course and adapt to prevent obsolescence. As such, AIMCLEAR continues to teach, empower, and guide. For instance, many travel agents went the way of dinosaurs since the emergence of Expedia, Travelocity, Airbnb, and other self-serve tools hit mainstream.  Evolutionary travel agents understood the changing dynamics and became consultants empowering clients (individuals and businesses) to better use tech tools for efficient semi-self-guided travel planning –- but at a higher hourly rate. 

I clearly remember working for an ad agency back in ‘94 watching supposedly seasoned professionals freak out about the internet. They myopically fretted about possible effects on print publication media buying. Avoiding the freakout, I helped them install TCP/IP on their Macs, get email, and begin influencer marketing in newsgroups. 

The same was happening when social media rose to the forefront starting in the mid 2000s. We helped companies set up their profiles, but then taught them what we knew, wrote books about community management, and helped clients hire teams. We doubled our prices and went into the social media strategy business – less focused on lower hourly rates for execution. 

Evolutionary tools create opportunities for agencies and clients alike. Forward-thinking marketing leaders will see the tools as new empowerment while redesigning the interplay between agency and client. Those who aren’t forward-thinking? It’s pretty easy to become a museum piece, or relic of a bygone era. 

When your career focus is staying expert at whatever tech is new and boldly empowering others to adopt, adapt, and succeed, then your skillset will never be obsolete. Every generation of change needs guides to help make decisions about how new tech (no matter how radical) can affect their business positively- without trashing their business. 

Recently we’ve included language in SOWs which contract our facilitation of clients’ AI usage with vertical specificity. The [brackets] mean the word is a variable. The scope snippet below shows a few of numerous variables we can include:

Support client’s internal adoption and usage of AI tools focused on: [long form copy creation], [control of SEO targeting], [complexity], [repetitiveness], [tone], and [believability]. 

[Sampling of Variables]
Keyword Selection, Tag Writing, Competitive Analysis, Paid Marketing Dataset Analysis, Competitive Research, Summarizing Complex Concepts to Shorter Form, PR Research, Creative Concepts, Headlines, Ads Copy, Product Consumers’ Pain & Pleasure Points, Communication Productivity, Correlation Studies of Real word/Physical Events/phenomena to Marketing Automation Tactics, Parsing Analytics, Strategic Marketing & Tactical Ideation, Social Posts, Community Engagement, Midjourney Prompts, GPT API Usage, Evaluation of Emergent AI Tools, Plagiarism Considerations, B2B Keyword/Job Title Correlation Studies, Consumer Demand Geographic Distribution/Density Research, Prompt Study & Growth, Training LLMs to Output in Thought Leaders’ Personal Writing Styles, Front End Dev, Backend Dev, avoiding AI usage pitfalls, Privacy Concerns, Appropriate Human Moderation, Avoiding Over Usage, etc.

It may be counterintuitive that an elite agency is willing to share deep internal learnings and experience about next-gen tech with clients. Empowerment to avoid obsolescence is a timeless mantra, because there is always something new to learn first, demystify with thought leadership, and get paid to teach.  

Clearly, new and existing clients are watching AI develop, testing, and wondering how tools can save costs while increasing productivity. AIMCLEAR’s focus is staying expert at whatever tech is new, then boldly empowering others to adopt, adapt, and succeed working together. Such a consultancy will never be obsolete. Every 20 years or so we see a generational upheaval requiring change agents driven to help clients make decisions about how new tech (no matter how intense) can affect their business positively- rather than trashing everything they’ve built. 

If your agency isn’t teaching and empowering your teams to thrive in the AI era, ask yourself if they are serving your interests or their own. Then give us a call. We’d love to talk AI.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Stay Connected