We recently published a blog post about Google Marketing Platform (GMP) licensing and procurement in response to the growing trend of in-housing. But there are a lot of other things to think about with in-housing beyond the details of what you’re buying and potential costs. This blog post will provide some basic information about in-housing, like what it is, why brands are showing interest, and a few tips if you’re thinking about taking part of your marketing in house.
What is In-Housing?
In-housing for brands has been around for about 10 years and is on the rise. In-housing can come in all shapes and sizes, but the basic definition is to take an element of your marketing stack inside the organization. It does not mean taking end-to-end marketing practices in house without an ad agency. The services brands choose to in house can range from creative and media to data and analytics. On the media side, digital performance media (lower funnel) is usually the first step with in-housing any type of media. Examples of lower funnel media are search, social, and display, which are optimized to a business KPI. The reason for this is they tend to be auction-based (biddable) media and performance drivers. As brands move elements and services in house, the external agencies are still valued partners who help to evolve the overall partnership.
According to Forrester, half of marketing decision makers would like to bring media in house at some point over the next few years. Client transparency for data and media tends to be the main driver for in-housing. Whether a company is looking to bring all (or most) of their marketing in-house or just the technology platforms as part of a tech in-housing and consolidation strategy, a major benefit of in-housing the ad tech is data ownership. Data ownership ensures that you control and manage your media performance data lineage. When you own the tech, you can give and take away platform access as you need to. You are not beholden to vendor relationships, and you are not at risk of losing your historical data if you decide to make a change. In-housing helps provide visibility to ensure your ad tech configuration conforms to your company’s data needs in terms of taxonomies, data flows, consent, security, and privacy.
As first-party data becomes even more valuable, making sure that your audience pipelines, CRM integrations, and first-party matching keys are in place is crucial to help you continue reaching your prospects and customers effectively.
Benefits to In-Housing
As mentioned earlier, increased transparency is the main driver for brands who decide to bring part of their marketing stack in house. However, there are many more benefits to making this transition:
- Gain greater visibility into data, pricing, inventory, and optimizations that will help create a more efficient and effective campaign.
- Avoid any kickback/rebates that the agency has in place that might be getting in the way of performance. Note that not all agencies have these agreements in place.
- Move faster from conception to activation and continually optimize to business-driving KPIs.
- Utilize digital data to further enhance first-party data.
- Centralize media measurement, taxonomy and governance.
- Get more bang for your buck by reallocating dollars from management and platform fees to working media.
- Realize potential cost savings, either through consolidation and optimizations or reduced agency hours and management fees.
Three Types of Digital In-Housing
There are three common types of digital execution models. As it relates to in-housing, one company might use different models depending on tactic and execution. The first recommended step would be to execute a hybrid, or shared control, model for the least amount of disruption with media execution.
Best Practices for In-Housing
No matter which model you pursue, there are a few best practices that can help ensure a smooth transition:
1) It is important to have senior leadership support within the organization. Change can be challenging, and frequent communication with senior stakeholders can help you keep an eye on the big picture.
2) It is critical to establish a foundation of the right processes and skills-related capabilities. This might mean training your existing team members, hiring experienced talent, or a combination of both.
3) Keeping all media strategies and tactics as integrated as possible is crucial. This will limit disruption in media performance and customer experience as you transition ownership of different channels from the agency to your internal team.
In-housing can allow brands to get the best of both worlds – the control of internal tech and process ownership with the expertise and guidance of an experienced agency partner. Are you thinking about in-housing parts of your marketing stack? Send us a note and we’d be happy to explore your unique needs and situation in depth.