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How Agencies Can Adapt to a Rapidly Changing Technological Landscape

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the exponential rise of technology within marketing. Increasingly so, Marketing Managers are expected to deliver campaigns responsively executed across multiple platforms. With 58% of in-house Marketing Managers expecting to work with fewer agencies in five years, the traditional client-agency model has been shaken by an expectation from customers - that an instant response is there.

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Both agencies and in-house teams need to harness technology to its full advantage. Despite the rise in technology and automation, the human response is still key. Agencies must become technological facilitators for in-house teams and work collaboratively, rather than in isolation. Technology can enable in-house teams to work closer to agencies than ever before, opening up new routes of communication quickly and effectively.

The role of the Marketing Manager is changing, and fast. More technology is becoming available every day for the Marketing Manager and this explains why ‘35% of UK marketers think the Chief Marketing Technologist will replace the role of the Chief Marketing Officer’. (Oliver Study) 

Technology, such as artificial intelligence, doesn’t necessarily however replace the marketer. It still relies on a human response, whether it’s an Artificial Intelligence bot that needs to be programmed or social media software that requires permission to access social media accounts. The human role of the Marketer is still crucial in a technological age.

With over one-quarter of brands adopting in-house agency services, the traditional client-agency model is changing and evolving as a result of technologies. Tools, such as Slack, are being increasingly used to optimise efficiency within in-house teams and agencies. What is more, technological developments such as the Niles Artificial Intelligence Bot are working wonders for communication, described as a ‘wiki you can talk to’ - Niles operates as a team member.

“Any user in a slack room can @ Niles a question. If Niles knows the answer, it’ll cough up the answer. If not, it’ll ask for help from the rest of the team. If someone gives Niles an answer, it’ll remember it for next time.”

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In-house and agency teams can work dynamically with each other as a result - a solution that is neither reliant on the agency or the in-house team. When used effectively, technology can only enhance the dynamic between agencies and in-house teams.

Technology can also ensure consistency through automated processes. Web to print software, for example, ensures brand consistency when creating artwork or graphics. It empowers in-house marketing teams to become their own graphic designers through pre-created templates. This technology eliminates the need for an external graphic designer to create simple on brand graphics. For example, web to print software ensures brand consistency when creating artwork or graphics. It empowers in-house marketing teams to become their own graphic designers through pre-created templates. This technology eliminates the need for an external graphic designer to create simple on brand graphics.

For many Marketers however, there are still many barriers for fully taking advantage of technology that’s available. It remains for 52 per cent of marketers that “the most significant barrier to marketing automation success is the lack of an effective strategy” according to The Drum’s study on B2B marketing. To be used effectively, certain processes must be in place. For example, to fully utilise web to print software, branding guidelines are ideal as it allows the templates to be created efficiently and graphics to consistently be ‘on brand’. To reduce barriers between in-house and agencies, processes must be set in place in order for technology to be utilised effectively.

But the human response is still key to take advantage of technology 

Utilising technology still relies, at some point however, on a human response. McCann Japan recently developed an AI bot to create an ad for Cloret Mints, from creative conception to graphics. The creative director of McCann Japan was challenged to create an advert to compete with this bot, in an audience approval rating, the bot won and the advert you can see below.

This technology however still relies on programming by a human. The AI bot would still have to be programmed with branding guidelines, names, and typography to operate functionally. For agencies and in-house teams, technology still depends on a human response and the more you use technology that’s available, the more it will work for you, the Marketing Manager.

Agencies can offer services that facilitate the use of technology for Marketing Managers.

Changing the in-house to agency dynamic: How the model is changing and why that’s a good thing.

With new technology developing every day, it’s difficult for agencies to label themselves as ‘full-service’. It’s becoming an increasingly sceptical term, due to the sheer complexity of the Marketing universe in the technological age.

"76% of Marketers think marketing has changed more in the past 2 years than in the past 20." (source

Subsequently, this requires a shift from the traditional ‘full-service’ model to a more specialised and collaborative approach between both agencies and in-house teams. For technology to be used efficiently, agencies must collaborate. It is near impossible for small-mid level sized agencies to specialise in everything from product design to virtual reality.

For technology to be used effectively between agencies and in-house teams, a collaborative approach must be used. One of the main barriers between in-house teams and agencies is communication - reacting effectively and quickly. When used effectively, technology can streamline processes and unnecessary communication. By agencies freeing up their roster of skills and eliminating the ‘full-service label’, agencies can offer better solutions for in-house teams, where there’s more time to dedicate to communication and the all important reacting effectively and quickly to a client’s needs.

Empowering in-house marketing teams to use technology is a better solution for both agencies and in-house marketing managers alike. The role of the Marketing Manager is rapidly evolving.  

The solution - Work collaboratively, rather than in isolation.

Working collaboratively, rather than in isolation, offers a better solution for clients. Empowering in-house teams to use technology can only help cement relationships between in-house and agency teams. Empowering in-house teams to harness technology, with the assistance of an agency to facilitate it, is becoming more crucial. For an increasingly social world, both on and offline, harnessing technology to work collaboratively is more plausible than not.

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