Until 5 or 6 years ago, before digital marketing became the next big thing, the advertising environment was overcrowded and in need of alternatives. This, along with the general digitalization of our lives, led to an increase in online advertising spending, mostly by big brands at first.
However, new channels and options didn’t necessarily mean new ways of working. Big brands initially trusted larger agencies to meet their new digital needs. This decision made sense; these partnerships went back a long way and mutual cooperation had been key to skyrocketing growth for both parties.
There were, of course, many advantages, like highly skilled and experienced professionals, an exhaustive knowledge of the clients and their needs, easy billing at scale and many other things, especially at a relational level, that only a common history can bring.
However, because these agencies were having to operate in a completely new environment, they were forced to work with new digital partners, who were thus able to take advantage of a lot of data and information.
The more agencies and partners there were, the harder it became to maintain unity and strategic and tactical alignment. The new demand for digital created an array of challenges: fragmented strategies and capabilities, very high cost structures, less control for advertisers over data and activity, long response times and a lack of agility.
Key players with giant, rigid offline structures, accustomed to managing the majority of advertising investment around the world, were suddenly forced to evolve faster than their internal capabilities allowed. They tried to overcome these challenges by integrating the new digital world into the old offline advertising agency framework. This attempt was not entirely unsuccessful, but rather less effective than the current digital transformation, fueled by the emergence of digital-native agencies and businesses.
However, the old balance had already been broken. Brands and publishers started to look for a more direct path based on essential values that were no longer to be found in the traditional advertising environment. Ownership, transparency, efficiency and performance were key, but neither brands nor publishers were ready yet to substitute the entire value chain.
They would have to deal with some other issues first. Fear of ownership and not obtaining results, difficulties finding and retaining adequate talent, the struggle of managing multiple channels and keeping up with trends and changes… On top of all these challenges, the fact that this all had to be done in-house made the situation even more intimidating.
There is no doubt that planning and executing our own marketing strategies in-house is a tough decision, but a right one. It is a complicated action that requires a lot of courage and a clear view of the entire path, as well as an exhaustive knowledge of the tactics to navigate it. Therefore, there is nothing more important than the right partner to guide you through it and a good dose of patience. If at first you don’t succeed, try again, you are already on the right track.