So far, most of the chatter about generative AI in Adland has settled around the impact on job security and creativity, with a fair amount of deserved hand-wringing about the potential of broader societal harm. Much of the commentary has been anthemic, even alarmist in some cases. It is time for our industry to shift the conversation to street level or perhaps suite level, as in C-Suite. This includes thoughtful discourse on how AI will impact agency infrastructure and resources, and how, in turn, those impacts will affect agency-client compensation models.

Let’s use this inflection point of technological innovation to formulate and accelerate the move away from full-time equivalent (FTE)-based hourly compensation — historically charging clients according to the total hours put or estimated against a client’s business — to more transparent and accountable outcomes-based pricing. This would necessitate agencies incorporating the value and cost of evolving AI-infused tech stacks into these new pricing models.

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