2018 marks the beginning of the age of automation. Whether it’s testing a new AdWords algorithm or adopting a marketing automation software, many companies are picking up on the trend and adding automation adoption to their list of action items. As a Team Lead in the SF office, I get a lot of questions about automation and how it’s going to impact our roles as PPC experts. I see automation as a huge opportunity for our agency and clients, but there’s no question our roles are going to change these next few years. Still, there are a few core aspects of being an Account Manager today that will apply to the future and help us better adapt to the digital marketing landscape of the future.

Tip 1: Be Proactive

Being proactive is a default quality of any successful Account Manager. As it relates to automation, you need to be proactive in learning, testing, and adopting new tools and features as they come. AdWords releases new betas on an almost weekly basis, and you should stay abreast of all these changes. Oftentimes, if the feature has already been passed around, tested, and confirmed to be a success, it means you’re late to the game. Therefore, it’s important to not only keep an open mind but also research all the new features as they get rolled out, to determine if they are good fits for your clients. The show isn’t over after a feature has been tested and formally adopted into your marketing strategy, however. The fun part comes with data analysis, which is where your expertise comes into play.

Tip 2: Analyze with a Critical Eye

While automation tools can be helpful and at times outperform manual adjustments, you can’t just throw in the towel and call it a day. Being open minded to testing new tools is one thing, and blindly trusting in the tool to run your marketing program is another.

Let’s take Google’s Optimize ad rotation feature as an example. With the millions of signals it has gathered on individual searchers, Google absolutely has an advantage over us when deciding the most relevant ads to serve each user. This doesn’t mean, however, that we should completely ignore the concept of ad copy testing. We should still be conducting regular analyses to determine whether we should pause out certain ads altogether or if it’s time to roll in new ads. To take it one step further, Google’s algorithm isn’t going to know when the client is shifting its business strategy to focus on enterprise clients vs. SMB customers. When this happens, it’s still our job to roll out new ad copy that speaks to that audience.

Tip 3: Think Big Picture

The last piece of advice I offer my team is to have them think beyond just paid search or paid social. Our expertise lies in helping business decide how to spend their marketing dollars as they relate to the marketing funnel and, even more high level, how marketing fits in with the business objectives of the company.

Automation tools, for the most part, are meant to supplement our jobs, not replace them. The advanced algorithms and automation software can help us go further with our marketing dollars, but they can’t run an entire marketing department, at least not yet. To keep up with the changing trends in the industry, I foresee our roles shifting more towards business strategy consulting in the future. After all, we are valued for our business acumen and strategic thinking abilities, and this will not change as we head into the age of automation.