Summer in Advertising: Hot Topics, Long Days

29 July 2014 | Blog

Pool or Workflow?The hot topic in advertising is certainly data and what we can do with it: Big Data, programmatic, and the perennial targeting. It’s sexy, it’s exciting, and it’s lots of fun to talk about. But focusing entirely on how ad tech can revolutionize the industry passes over how ad tech can help with the day-to-day work.

Summer is meant to be hot, whether hot topics or hot afternoons by the pool. But while the daylight may last for extra hours, these days, the workload does, too. Creative agencies have increasingly found themselves stretched to the limit to accomplish everything they need to with the resources they have. While the creative aspects of the work remain as exciting as ever, managing all the spots across multiple platforms while coordinating national and regional campaigns across dozens of markets requires a growing heap of spreadsheets and busywork.

One agency we spoke to recently bemoaned how complicated their process had gotten. When they mapped out their workflow to get spots on air, they filled an entire sheet of paper with over fifty tiny boxes that spanned four different companies. At a good half-dozen different points, they flagged tasks with a high risk of error because of how much manual entry was required.

There’s no reason for this kind of pain these days. So much of the workflow, which took valuable time out of so many busy people’s schedules, could be smoothed. It’s not that the people weren’t necessary—it’s that they were so buried under manual entry and multiple checkpoints that they barely had time to get their jobs done. And the resulting rush led to errors.

This is why we have workflow automation. Agencies deserve better tools than reams of Excel spreadsheets. Coordinating across multiple regions may be complicated, but it shouldn’t be painful. And there’s no excuse these days for people to repeatedly have to enter data manually when a well-designed system could keep track of it for them.

Advertising workflow automation may not be the hottest topic. But with a little help from the less-sexy side of ad tech, creative agencies can get all their work done and still get in a little time by the pool.