What Media Payables Leaders can Learn from Google's Automation Strategy

Posted by Greg Bartels on Apr 24, 2019 10:28:37 AM
Greg Bartels

Stop me if you've heard this one:

Technological advancements will free media and advertising companies from the drudgery of repetitive low-value administrative tasks to focus more of their time on creative endeavors.

Media Payables Automation Strategy Blog

For media payables professionals, this means less time spent keying data, managing emails and shuffling paper, and more time spent on value-added activities such as analyzing data and building supplier relationships.

As far-fetched as this vision may seem, media and advertising companies are closer to making it a reality.  As evidence, consider a recent article by Google’s Michael Bailey that shows how the team that manages the media strategy for Google’s ad campaigns are planning for an automated future.


The insights that Bailey shares in his article offers four valuable lessons for media payables leaders: 


Lesson #1: Unlock the value of your data

Brand marketers need real-time insights into the effectiveness of their creative and media campaigns.  The challenge for marketers is how to capture and measure data for something that, on the surface, is hard to quantify.  Google is addressing this challenge by developing hypotheses for each creative campaign and producing variations of ads in the lab to isolate performance variables.  For its media campaigns, Google maps variables that it feels increases the chances of an ad being successful, and measures brand campaigns on an impression basis to test the effectiveness of each variable. 

The lesson for media payable leaders is that machines are only as good as the data that humans feed into them.  Media payables departments must ensure that the information they capture is complete, accurate, timely, well-organized, fully integrated with downstream systems and processes and readily available to decision-makers.  This is a tall order for media payables departments that rely on manual and semi-automated processes, and for departments with antiquated invoice processing systems. 

Find a partner that uses advanced digital technologies to centralize the receipt of any invoice, in any format, classify documents, extract data from documents based on pre-configured business rules, validate extracted data against information residing in a system of record, route the images and data to downstream systems and process, and provide authorized users with personalized analytics. 

Lesson #2: Optimize the use of your data

Data is of little value if it isn’t put to work. 

Google is increasingly using marketing automation tools that enable the company to feed in its proprietary data and use machine learning to optimize its campaigns against pre-set parameters. 

The takeaway for media payables leaders is to find ways to leverage the data that passes through their department to provide value to the enterprise.  Accounts payable data is essential to budgeting, planning and forecasting, working capital management, spend management and risk mitigation. 

Optimizing their data requires media payables departments to seamlessly integrate their invoice processes with downstream systems and processes – especially their ERP application – for real-time data synchronization, 360-degree visibility into individual invoices and suppliers, tighter alignment of the accounts payable, procurement and finance functions, and streamlined supplier management. 

Lesson #3: Be more relevant to the enterprise 

The beauty of digital marketing is how easy it is to be contextually relevant, Bailey notes.  A single creative template that incorporates best practices can be modified for many different use cases.  For instance, Google dynamically updates its ads to reflect the location, the weather or sports scores.

The information that media payables leaders provide to stakeholders should also be contextually relevant.  Dashboards should graphically display the personalized, real-time insights required by stakeholders, whether they are viewing them on a PC, laptop or mobile device.  CFOs need insights into payable information such as total value of invoices processed, percentage of early payment discounts captured, invoices approaching the early payment discount deadline and current invoice aging.  Buyers require visibility into spend by supplier, invoices pending per category, spend-to-supplier ratio, spend per business unit and the total number of active suppliers.  And finance needs to know the timing and the payment method used to pay suppliers.       

The reporting and analytics tools in digital transformation platforms such as IPS Productivity Wrx℠ put critical insights at the fingertips of stakeholders across the media and advertising enterprise.

Lesson #4: Free staff for value-added activities

Media and advertising companies are looking for ways to free up people’s time so they can spend more time on interesting creative work.  This requires agencies to rethink long-standing processes and norms, such as how they staff their teams, Bailey writes.  In one instance, Google split what was normally one process for a campaign into two streams, each one with its one timeline and budget.   

IPS Productivity Wrx℠ combines digital technologies such as digital mailroom, intelligent data capture, electronic workflow, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, mobile, analytics and an online supplier portal with our unmatched expertise in business process automation to eliminate manual, repetitive tasks such as keying invoice data, physically routing invoices for review, approval, reconciliation and filing documents. 

By eliminating mundane tasks with digital technologies, media payables professionals have more time for value-added tasks that require their judgement, creativity and interpersonal skills.

Media and advertising companies long for the day when they have more time for creative work and value added buying.  Digital technologies such as IPS Productivity Wrx℠ are making this vision a reality.  If your media and advertising company wants to reduce the time it spends on repetitive, low-value activities, IPS wants to talk to you.  Contact us to arrange a no-obligation demo or gap analysis with one of our consultants.

Tags: Accounts Payable, Digital Technologies, Productivity Wrx, Media & Advertising