Playing Smart and Keeping Your Cool with Automation - AJ Vernet
Published: June 1, 2012 at 11:06 AM GMT
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Last Updated: June 1, 2012 at 11:06 AM GMT
By AJ Vernet
Not so long ago, I was typing essays on a simple word processor. This wasn't a huge improvement in time management, as I was a ridiculously slow typist, no matter my device of choice. Previously, like many of you, I would spend hours laboring over an archaic typewriter, correcting mistakes with Wite-Out and retyping papers over and over again. It got to the point that I had to pay my family to type things for me just to get my homework done on time.
Soon, I had my first computer class and the world of digital technology took hold of me like a vice grip does a bolt. I was hooked on the speed and efficiency that a computer offered compared to my previous devices. The computer gave me a false sense of security, which allowed me to type more quickly and with a reckless abandon, because I could easily correct mistakes, edit and keep moving at the speed of light. Or, so it seemed. Who knew this was only the beginning?
My struggles with the typewriter might as well be a story about early cave men at this point. Technology used to serve up baby steps that enhanced our society. Now, society is chasing after the tech world trying to keep up with what feels like daily innovation. Faster, Easier, Faster, Easier, Faster, Easier, repeat! We're all trying to find tools to save us time and keep us on track – a quest that allows us to feel instantly gratified.
The creative/production space is being clearly influenced by this quest, as well. There is a new breed of company quickly popping up to help us do more, more quickly, and with similar results. As a business owner, I long ago had to accept the fact that evolution was knocking at my door in the form of automated platforms. It's really the same for anyone in the business of serving clients in the realm of creative and media business – where technology now plays such a strong hand. In this day and age, where our clients change their minds daily and want things turned out super quickly for fewer dollars, sometimes we have to embrace these automated platforms.
In a sense, the automated platform is becoming another creative person on our team and helping us with coding or creative for messaging, ad building, live streaming, photo sharing, data sharing, and so on. Some of the companies providing such platforms include: Republic Project, This moment, Flite, Spongecell, Appcelerator, Studio, and others big and small, you may or may not have heard of (yet). These automated platforms allow us to build and optimize creative and media in real-time, but they are very much a double-edged sword. They are transforming the way we work and engage each other, because we all want lightning fast results, instant gratification and optimization in real-time. It is obvious that keeping a cool, clear head, and perspective, is essential.
So, to keep things in perspective, we must weigh many considerations, before choosing the automated route. In going there -- what are we giving up? We must think these things through. When using one of the new automated platforms, here are a few things we have found key to consider before you choose a platform as a partner.
Automated Platform Pluses
- Easy to update and share across multiple consumption channels: websites, Facebook, mobile, and more
- Relatively inexpensive, cost-effective investment compared to other manual approaches
- If built intuitively, a platform can become more of an adopted ad channel, freeing your team from dealing with one-off ad units
- A natural place for converging most, if not all, campaign materials – video, stills, audio, feeds, merchandise. It's a campaign capsule.
- Doesn't require highly experienced producers, creatives and managers. Given that, brands can possibly manage the right automated platform internally and allow their agencies to concentrate on bigger strategic and creative initiatives. That's a plus.
Automated Platform Minuses
- A platform being quick and easy to update might lead to over-tweaking, overreaction to tracking stats or the reception of an ad unit by the consumer. It is essential to give a campaign time and room to perform before optimizing – automation or no automation.
- The inexpensive and easy-to-use nature might diminish its value in the eyes of high-end brands and agencies. Does "cheap and easy" mean anyone can use it? This perception can hinder adoption.
- Over-saturation. If many brands use these platforms across all channels, will consumers inevitably tune them out like billboards on a freeway, commercials on TV, or print ads in a magazine? Keeping the right frequency and share of voice for your objectives still must be a consideration, when using automated systems.
- Because such a system can get you to market quickly and brands can choose to sidestep their agencies, it's almost too easy to skip past the checks and balances of measuring units against marketing objectives and creative strategic briefs.
All in all, I think constantly embracing technology is a must and these types of automated platforms are good for business. Fighting off instant gratification for a moment, I also believe that we need to fully comprehend the complete picture before we dive in and commit to any given system. Every technology/tool has its place. These tools are only as good as knowing when to use them and populating them with content that is strategically on-point and creatively eye-catching. Therefore, take the time on the "craft" and then, know that these platforms are the best route to get the fruits of your labor to market quickly.
AJ Vernet is Founder and CEO of Rey Interactive, which is a Los Angeles and New York based digital and video production company positioned to partner with agencies, creative firms, publishers and brands as a scalable and seamless production resource. AJ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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