For years, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether or not brands build an in-house marketing function or rely on external agency support. Over the last 6-12 months, I have seen a significant increase in my clients growing their in-house marketing capability through hiring channel specific marketers.
This shift is happening across a variety of different industries with a number of businesses we have exclusively helped build in-house marketing and digital teams for.
The key to such success is having a team of experts from a range of skill sets, combined to create a fully-functioning team.
Many brands are still on the fence and unsure if ‘to build or to buy’ is the best commercial decision for them. I thought it would be helpful to highlight a number of key factors for anyone who is debating moving their marketing in-house from an agency.
#1 In-House Media Buying
The demand for control and transparency are reasons many are looking at new, innovative ways to advertise. In fact, a study by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in 2017 found that 35 per cent of marketers surveyed have expanded their in-house media buying capabilities.
The media giant, Netflix, are amongst those who have recently bought programmatic buying in-house – the use of software to purchase digital advertising – making it their responsibility to have access to their own data. In a GDPR committed world, securing customer data is essential.
The linguistics educator, Rosetta Stone, like Netflix, has also invested in this, stating, “it’s important that we’re not sharing that data outwardly with an agency that could potentially work with a competitor down the line” – Caitlin Romig, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at Rosetta Stone
#2 It All Starts with the People
A critical element to consider when shifting in-house is your employees. Brands need the right mix of people, with the right skills and attributes to make in-house marketing a success.
Sourcing high calibre candidates with the necessary skills and knowledge can be a lengthy course, not to mention the onboarding process involved. However, what may seem like a daunting recruitment task is becoming easier.
More and more recruitment agencies are specialising in building in-house marketing teams. 3Search are experts in this, having recently sourced in-house marketers for a number of leading brands and high growth start-ups, recruiting both broad acquisition and channel specific experts.
Finding the right team isn’t an easy task, but the benefits make it all worth-while. In-house staff are immersed in your brand, know every inch of your products and market, and most importantly, committed to propelling only your brand forward. Hiring experienced marketers provides you with the expertise that will improve performance and save your marketing budget in the long-run.
#3 Agility is Key
Changes in market conditions are a constant battle for any business, but particularly something an external marketing agency struggle with. Putting it bluntly, they’re unable to respond as quickly as in-house marketing functions can.
In a sense, internal marketing teams are now moment marketers too, embracing more efficient agile ways of working.
Thankfully, on-site agencies or an in-house team have more reactive capabilities like never before. “To get a more agile route to market, brands are doing it themselves”, Debbie Morrison, Director of Consultancy at ISBA.
Such improved workflows are key in an increasingly connected world. Advertising is becoming less about single campaigns and more about keeping a message constantly updated. Embracing agile, enhanced workflows, and being able to update your marketing in real-time, is now essential. And working in-house allows you to do just that.
#4 Embrace Creative Platforms
Creative management platforms (CMP’s) make in-house marketing a reality. They’re the perfect recipe of how finding solutions to complex tasks arising in digital marketing does not need to depend on an external agency. A CMP provides a range of digital advertising technologies under one roof, a cloud-based platform, permitting staff to pre-build lots of ads for specific segments.
Think of it as an in-house facilitator for brands, making it possible to go from conception, to design, to campaign launch from just several clicks of a mouse.
Ultimately, it offers the transparency marketers crave.
#5 In-House is Worth its Weight in Gold
Still undecided whether this is the right move for your business? Maybe this will change your mind.
Currently, brands which use multiple agencies have to deal with multiple performance standards. Not ideal. And to complicate matters more, there is no way of knowing the analytical decisions behind programmatic buying.
Brands will finally have a clear understanding of their ads actual performance, resulting in transparency, narrowed ad fraud and greater brand safety, crucial long-term benefits.
A Simple Choice
For me, it is obvious why so many brands are choosing to make the jump inhouse, but keep in mind, every brand is different.
If you decide to move in-house from agency, the decision can’t be based on this list alone. The size of your brand, the industry you work in, the marketing budget you have, and the competitiveness of your product will all impede your decision.
The bottom line: an in-house revolt is the future.