The state of in-housing according to 3 leading marketers | 2020
5 min read

The state of in-housing according to 3 leading marketers | 2020

According to 58% of brands positive ROI is an outcome of in-housing. While for 39% of senior marketers transparency remains a key reason for moving to an in-house model. These are just two compelling stats taken from the latest edition of Bannerflow and Digiday’s State of In-housing 2020 report.

The report features the thoughts of 200+ senior marketing decision makers from brands, in-housing agencies, and consultancies across Europe. Including the unique insights of leading marketers from Getty Images, Sky, and Telenor – whom are featured below.

Read on to discover just how in-house marketing has transformed how both they and their businesses operate. Plus, download Bannerflow’s exclusive report to compare how their experiences stack up next to other brands across Europe.

1. The state of in-housing according to Sky Creative Agency

Sky Creative Agency is the in-house creative agency for Sky, Europe’s largest media and telecommunications conglomerate.

The Sky Creative Agency consists of 350 permanent members of staff plus a bank of freelancers. It looks after all of Sky’s content advertising and campaigns, Sky and NOW TV’s promotion, Sky’s master brand as well as Sky’s portfolio of content brands. It’s also responsible for almost all of Sky’s below-the-line output in print and digital.

As part of our State of In-housing 2020 report, Simon Buglione, Managing Director of Brand and Creative at Sky gave us his take on the state of in-housing.


In-housing interviews SKY

What makes the in-house agency model work for Sky?

Sky Creative Agency evolved out of what was originally Sky’s in-house broadcast services division. As we’ve evolved, what we’ve done is add the layers you’d expect to find in a traditional, external ad agency. For example, account management, strategy and planning, advertising and campaigns, on top of the broadcast services capabilities we originally had; promo cutting, design, and production. It’s this breadth of skills and capabilities that allows us to deliver a massive amount of creative across a constantly expanding range of outputs.

What are the biggest benefits to having this in-house agency?

Our proximity to our client is a huge benefit to everyone. We are a minute’s walk away, which means we are agile and reactive. We also inherently understand the brands we work with — often it’s the stuff that can’t be captured in a brief that’s most important. Finally, the proliferation of outputs and the grey areas that now exist between advertising, promotion, PR and social, for example. This means that it all being under one roof makes the most sense.

What challenges do you face today, how have these changed?

Attracting talent is less of an issue than it once was. Our success over the last few years has coincided with many prospective hires attracted by working in-house, particularly for a brand like Sky. Having made such progress, keeping up the momentum is always front of our mind. And ensuring that we keep investing in our people and refreshing our talent pool is critical. For this reason, we operate with a freelance float in our model. Diversity and inclusivity is a challenge faced by many modern businesses. Our work with the likes of Pitch and Creative Mentor Network means we’re attacking this head on and seeing real results.

Do you feel that you are seeing ROI from having an in-house agency?

Yes, absolutely. We believe we are raising the standards in the work we do, driving greater consistency for the Sky brand, working more effectively than ever before and at a lower overall cost to the business.

2. The state of in-housing according to Telenor

Telenor is one of the largest mobile telecommunications companies worldwide, with operations in almost 30 countries. The organisation has now implemented a major in-house investment. The result was several creative departments merging into a large agency with more than 20 employees.

We spoke with Christian Thrane, Chief Marketing Officer at Telenor, about the barriers and benefits of moving to an in-house marketing model.

in-housing interviews Telenor

What were the biggest reasons and benefits to in-house?

You need to understand and be in control. Too much outsourcing leaves you without good control of your customer experience and customer engagement. Digital marketing is increasingly also your customer engagement. Same skills and systems.

What do you perceive to be the biggest barrier to in-housing?

Capabilities and the leadership to see the increasing need to move towards taking more control of customer journeys.

What was the biggest teething problem when you moved your team in-house?

Many! The combination of skills, the need to get systems in place to deliver on digital personalisation and the access to back-end functionality to bring use cases to life.

Have you up-skilled in any particular areas recently, as your in-house set up evolves?

[There’s been] significant upskilling and key recruitments across analytics, media, and

Has in-housing impacted the way you use data in marketing and creative?

We increasingly personalise marketing and customer journeys depending on the amount of information we have access to in different journeys.

How do you measure ROI from your in-house efforts?

We have seen good performance on marketing and media efficiency and increased digital sales as some of the measures of ROI. We see in-housing as an integrated part of how we
operate. We measure out marketing efficiency by the same KPIs as our total operation with external support. KPIs for creativity would be a combination of ad-recall, ad-liking and campaign efficiency.

3. The state of in-housing according to Getty Images

Getty Images is among the world’s leading creators and distributors of award-winning still imagery and additional media.

Getty Images and its CMO, Gene Foca, has for the past three years, worked on bringing more functional expertise to its marketing team. Growing the size of the marketing team and organising the structure to eliminate single points of failure and protect revenue and growth. He found that once the brand did this, it had very little need to outsource everyday work.

Getty Images in-housing interview

Why do you think your current in-house setup works for you and will it evolve?

Marketing is accomplished throughout the organisation, not by one group of people. We will be growing marketing investment significantly in 2020, which will allow us to serve our customers better. We’re always assessing how we can do things better, and we will continue to do so.

What were the biggest “teething problems” when creating your in-house team?

In terms of some initial challenges, I’d say getting the entire team to leave their biases behind and be driven by best practices. An experienced critical eye, facts, data and results took a bit of time to develop. Opinion should drive very little, and it’s challenging to get everyone to think in a more analytical way.

Some think that marketing is a gut-level decision, but it’s not. It’s the discipline to use information to make intelligent decisions on behalf of your customer, at the right time and in the right manner. Decisions related to product, pricing, offer simplification, and creative messaging are very much decisions that can and should be made with information to support.

Do you feel that you are seeing ROI from moving in-house?

Without a doubt. But, it’s not that we’re seeing strong ROI because we moved in-house. We’re seeing strong ROI because we’ve steadily, and systematically, improved most areas. We’re holding people accountable, we’re measuring performance, and we’re working collaboratively and inclusively. Those are the things that are driving ROI. We see ROI when we work with external partners as well, by applying the same expectations, rigour, KPIs, and standards.

Learn more about the state of in-house marketing in 2020

To find out more about the state of in-housing and its impact, download Bannerflow and Digiday’s report now. Or catch the Digiday webinar on the 26th of February by clicking this link.

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