A screen shot of The Economist programmatic campaigns
Change is coming. Over the past few years, there has been a sharp rise in the amount of companies moving their marketing and advertising efforts in-house, rather than working with an agency, and this trend shows no signs of slowing. As per the Harvard Business Review, penetration of in-house agencies has risen to 58%, with double digit growth from the previous year.
Aren’t agencies better?
It depends. Agencies do fantastic work, and can cover a wide range of formats. Whether it’s print, TV advertising or online, or a campaign spanning all of them, agencies are well equipped to do this.
Also, you may not have the capability in-house, so you need experienced creative professionals to come up with everything from the concept to the campaign.
They can also work better if you don’t often advertise, but need one special, stand out campaign. This means you pay for the work done, rather than hire a full-time, in-house team that might run out of work after the first few months.
So what are the drawbacks?
Agencies are creative powerhouses, but they tend to have a lot of different people working on one project. This means it can take more time to produce something, which is no good if you need to respond to what’s happening with the world.
In addition to this, agencies are generally great at traditional methods of advertising, but there can be gaps in knowledge of online display advertising. Rather than being a central part of campaigns, they can be seen as more of an added bonus.
Then there’s the issue of the agency having to learn all about the client. It can be time consuming and expensive, and there’s no guarantee that the agency can completely match the vision of the client.
What’s the alternative?
Have your very own in-house marketing team. It’s becoming more and more common, and with the tools now available to all marketers, it’s easy to see why. As Mark Schaefer said for the Harvard Business Review, “Agencies have been too slow to adjust to fast changing industry needs.”
In a world that gets more and more connected every day, advertising is becoming less about single campaigns, and more about keeping your message constantly updated, particularly on social channels and with online advertising.
This means it makes more sense to have a team in-house which can keep everything up to date, and stay connected with your audience. They will be more in line with the business goals, and have a clearer idea of where to take the marketing.
As Maggie Clapperton notes, “In-house marketing is listed as one of the most disruptive trends in the ad industry.” It’s easy to see why, as more and more brands shift away from agencies and take advantage of their own resources.
You just need to make sure the team have both the digital knowledge, and the creative capability, but now there are many tools to help with this.
There are literally thousands of tools to make the lives of marketers easier. So many choices for each individual step of a marketing campaign, as well as some that try to cover all bases. We wrote about a few of them here, but it’s all about finding the right staff first, then finding the right tools for them.
How do I assemble an in-house team?
This depends on the size of your business, and your marketing goals. It could be a one-person team, or you could have a few people dedicated to making your marketing a success.
The important thing is to get the right people. People who know their way around a design tool, but also with the capability and curiosity to take advantage of programmatic creative.
The design will be really important, as you have a matter of seconds to catch the eye of a user. There are tools out there which can make design easy for anyone. Tools like Bannerflow, for example.
From there, you need someone in the position to make the most of programmatic capabilities, and identifying various audiences to target the ads at. Also, it helps if they’re keen analysts, able to constantly optimise campaigns to ensure you’re always maximising performance.
The benefits of in-house marketing
There are some major advantages to having your own in-house marketing team:
- They know the business inside out
- They’re in it for the long haul, rather than per campaign
- They can respond quickly to external factors
- They can constantly optimise
- You can be assured they are focussed solely on your business goals
- With programmatic creative, they can publish truly unique campaigns
- All costs and all data are in-house, and it eradicates agency spending
That’s just a few of the major benefits too. More than anything, it completely eliminates time wasted between you and any agency. If something needs to be different, you can just walk over and discuss it with the team. If you need up-to-date analytics, you have full access to them.
Having the team in house allows you to fully embrace agile ways of working, and also means you can constantly be on the pulse, with campaigns that are consistent across all platforms and social media accounts.
As more companies and brands embrace in-house marketing teams, isn’t it time you made the move?