Why in-house is the future of digital marketing. Source: Shutterstock

Why in-house is the future of digital marketing. Source: Shutterstock

Is in-house digital marketing a sign of digital maturity?

DIGITAL marketers seem to be transitioning away from working with agencies to building in-house talent and capabilities. It’s a goal that even the biggest and brightest of companies — McDonald’s, Mercedes, even Mont Blanc — with no dearth of resources have been inching closer to, for the past year or so.

Experts believe an in-house unit for digital marketing is not only more efficient but also helps move the business further along the digital maturity curve — making this endeavor a key part of the organization’s digital transformation agenda.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) reported that while 40 percent of the world’s biggest brands use agency trading desks (ATDs) for programmatic ad buying, 90 percent are reviewing and resetting contracts and business models to improve control and transparency.

Netflix has moved programmatic ad buying in-house to regain control and responsibility for their own data. Netflix Senior Manager of Programmatic Buying, Kathy O’Dowd cited that the move would allow a quicker response from the company when required as the process involves intellectual property that the company wants to keep internal.

“We really get the inside scoop and we’re able to take action on that, and that’s key.”

The use and control of first-party data is also a concern when it comes to agencies. Having an in-house digital marketing team would avoid the potential abuse of unauthorized access to a company’s database.

However, brands must also note that setting up an in-house digital marketing department is no easy feat.

Not only should the team have the right digital skills and knowledge, but they would also need to embrace the brand from inside out. It’s critical for them to understand both the strengths and vulnerabilities of its products, and market needs as they trend.

Instead of outsourcing digital marketing to an agency, an in-house team would require a specific set of training that is tailored to drive performance of a singular brand. Once that is taken care of, it will become a lot easier, especially in times of need.

The agility that an in-house team enables a brand would improve workflow without the back-and-forth waiting time that is common with an agency approach.

There are plenty of creative management platforms (CMPs) that are available for big and small in-house teams to produce the digital formats that they require in lesser time. The greater brand control boosts efficiency as well as creativity.

Surely, not all brands will move away from agencies and it is good news for them too. With the paradigm shift in motion, agencies would naturally look into remodeling what they can offer to adapt to the change.

Agencies, therefore, are looking to serve brands that either have niche requirements or are hoping to reach out to a very specific target market group.

Other agencies are repositioning themselves to complement in-house teams, helping out with project-based work that requires specific expertise or knowledge.

Digiday writes that the shift would be beneficial in the bigger picture.

“Unlike longer campaigns, project-based work can be done more quickly, often requires fewer resources and has the potential to bring in just as much revenue as longer-term relationships.”

In the long run, an in-house digital marketing team has the potential to provide far greater benefits to an organization than an agency.

The sheer analytical capabilities, genuine presence, and speedy reflexes provided by an in-house team underscores why any organization would opt to undertake such an onerous task — and illustrates why its a step in the right direction when it comes to the organization’s overall digitial transformation.