Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA Viewpoints: The move to in-housing

The in-housing trend has dominated the headlines over the last year and shows no signs of slowing down in 2020. NDA is asking experts in the market for their views on its impact on brands and agencies.

Andy Pearch, Co-Founder and Director, MediaSense

Brands are experimenting with different structures internally and externally and their agencies need to keep up or lose out. Customer centricity, the rise of performance marketing and a new wave of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are disruptive forces, and brands like VodafoneL’Oréal and Unilever are keeping pace by looking at different internal and external operating models.

Media insourcing isn’t for every brand and not all advertisers are prepared for significant change.

We (MediaSense) are seeing five organisational archetypes start to appear; Committed Outsourcers, Natural Collaborators, Elective Collaborators, Adaptive Insourcers and Natural Insourcers.

Each archetype representing a stepping-stone on the pathway from high dependency to self-sufficiency in media capability.

Companies which have a clear strategy for their media function and understand their own organisational archetype and culture before embarking on media transformation are well placed to succeed.

Ryan Deutsch, Chief Brand Advocate, Persado

In-housing is about better management, not reducing costs. It is about empowering marketing teams through more control over time to market, messaging, and tone of voice.

However, brands need to be careful not to “reinvent the wheel” — businesses shouldn’t in-source or develop pre-existing technology that isn’t a core strength – product recommendation engines are an easy example of a capability readily available, with proven success in the market. There are a number of software solutions that can support in-housing and provide internal teams with better data and insights. 

In-sourcing in and around a company’s core capabilities is all about creating a differentiator, and ultimately a competitive advantage against industry peers.

In-housing is not about shutting out external inputs and insights, but about having a stronger sense at the centre of what needs to be done and striking a better balance.

There are three fundamental pillars to successful in-housing:

1.     Understand your talent — Any in-sourcing project will rely on talent, first and foremost.  It’s critical to know, and honestly evaluate, teams as well as their capabilities. Identify where you may need to enlist external resources to augment skill sets. Decide internally what it would take to go in-house and a realistic timeline for building the team.

2.     Don’t under-estimate the required investment to in-source — Yes, in-housing can offer your business a strategic advantage and give back control. However, many companies overlook the associated costs and don’t position internal teams for success. 

3.     It’s a journey — Whatever the function, it’s unlikely that your brand already has access to the required talent and infrastructure required to go in-house. The road to in-housing should be phased to not disrupt existing processes.

In the marketing department, this trend stems from the desire to build more confidence and flexibility in the creative process. The combination of technology (data) and internal resources (control) will help brands create more aligned messages that are in the customers’ best interest.