How to Stay Disruptive as an Agency

Adam Hencz

May 21, 2024

Agencies who are still acting purely as "executors" are being left behind.


Well, AI-led production is saving in-house teams and agencies a ton of time during the creative process.

Delivery is becoming more automated and commoditized, so agencies are feeling the heat of having to sell their business impact, not just their design process.

So, how can agencies stand out and stay disruptive amid this innovation race?

We’ve got five key strategies that have worked for agencies. Let's see them one by one.

Get the industry’s first guide to AI-led growth!

#1 Win through Metrics, Not the Process

A few years back, agencies were selling their processes, which started with discovery and ended with delivery.

But now, clients don't care as much about the agency’s process. They care about how quickly and efficiently that agency can integrate with their business and start making an impact while complementing their unique setup.

Why the change? It’s simple. It stems from the immense budget and investment cuts.

So clients want a solution that plugs the gaps perfectly. Yes, they want someone with the right expertise to drive them forward, the right strategies, and the right commercial thinking. But they also need the flexibility to adapt and ensure their investment is as efficient as possible.

That's why agencies are shifting their focus from process to metrics, emphasizing the numbers they can predict and deliver.

After all, in a world where every dollar counts, metrics are what clients really care about.

#2 Surprise & Impress Clients with New Information

Most prospects are looking for agencies to provide insights they’re not aware of.

While, once, we may have been able to double down on specific specialties and expertise, clients are now asking for more.

So, how can you stand out?

Before reaching out to your prospects or having client check-ins, dig up information that's valuable but not yet on their radar. Surprise them with insights about a key competitor or new practices in their industry. Clients love it when you bring fresh insights about their customers.

But don't stop there.

Show them actionable data that they can immediately put to use. Whether it's positioning, competitive analysis, or attention prediction, do a deep dive to mine those elusive nuggets of data that can impact their bottom line.

In this era of information overload, showing new and relevant insights will set your agency apart from the rest.

#3 Attention Is an Industry-Standard KPI. So Measure It!

In advertising, the reign of attention is unrivaled.

Attention connects brands with people. It creates business opportunities and generates demand.

It is the gatekeeper of customer decisions, ultimately triggering your audience to engage with your ad and learn more.

What makes attention the industry’s #1 metric is the fact that it’s a coherent and universal human behavior. Even cultural differences have close to no impact on it.

Now, agencies rely on data-driven approaches that treat attention as a KPI. Jon Söderlind, Head of Insights and Strategy at Tre Kronor Media, says, “Attention has become an industry-standard metric in media and advertising. But only a few tools can measure it in a scalable, cost-effective, and accurate way.”

Traditional methods like eye-tracking and behavioral studies are too slow and cumbersome for today's tight campaign deadlines. This is why disruptive agencies rely on tools like Neurons to predict human behavior quickly and efficiently. Attention is the name of the game, and smart agencies are using every tool at their disposal to measure it effectively.

Now, agencies rely on data-driven approaches that treat attention as a KPI with tools like Neurons.

#4 Validate AI-Generated Content 

Generative AI is moving from experimental to everyday use among creative teams. Agencies and in-house teams alike are finding major production savings.

But there’s a catch: just cranking out more content doesn’t guarantee better results.

The flood of AI-generated content is starting to pollute the Internet, and it can even make human biases worse. Without proper testing and oversight, AI-generated content can be ineffective or, worse, damage brand reputation. So, it’s crucial to test AI designs to figure out which ones will actually deliver the best results. Insights don’t come automatically with generative AI outputs.

Generated content is most effective when tested with predictive/suggestive AI tools.

Using AI to generate content like text and assets means you’ve got more time to focus on campaign strategy and predict effectiveness.

For example, if your production timeline shrinks from six weeks to two, why not use some of that saved time to test and amp up effectiveness?

You’ve basically given yourself more time to refine your creative ideas and test them properly, rather than getting squeezed by tight deadlines that could hurt your results.

#5 Use Science-Backed Tools to Build Trust 

First impressions matter.

Yet, too many agencies focus on sending gifts, dinners, tickets, and other “personalized swag” to earn clients’ trust.

Instead of bribery, demonstrate your value. Be transparent with your methods and tools, and show that they are supported by science and independent research.

Nailing this right from the start will make your client trust your pitches and predictions.

Today agencies can only achieve this by soaring past client expectations with something novel, something they've never seen before.

When expectations are surpassed, trust is built.

Ready to Offer New USPs & Win New Clients?

Neurons can help your team scale the creative process while saving time and budget.

Currently, you can put your assets to the test for free, so book your session now!

Stay disruptive, deliver measurable impact, and win through metrics with Neurons.

How to Stay Disruptive as an Agency

Neurons Icon

Ready to drive revenue with creatives that work?

Get a free demo