From the digital to the in-house revolution

May 11, 2020 | Articles

Andrea Burgueño

Andrea Burgueño


Before digital marketing became the next big thing, the advertising environment was overcrowded. It was in need of alternatives until, literally, 5 or 6 years ago. This, along with the general digitalization of our lives, led to an increase in online advertising spending. Mostly by big brands at first. The same that are now working on bringing their markerting in-house.

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

Old partners, new environment

There were, of course, many advantages. Highly skilled and experienced professionals, an exhaustive knowledge of the clients and their needs and easy billing at scale. At least those among many other things, especially at a relational level. Advantages that only a common history of success can bring. 

However, these agencies had to successfully operate in a completely new environment. And for that, they absolutely needed their new digital partners. Those were thus able to take advantage of a lot of data and information. 

The partners of the partners

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… But also, long response times and a lack of agility. 

Key players with giant, rigid offline structures had been managing the majority of advertising investment around the world for decades. However, they had 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. That was not an entirely unsuccessful attempt. But rather less effective than the current digital transformation, fuelled by the emergence of digital-native agencies and businesses.

New balance means direct path. Direct means in-house

in-house team

However, the old balance was already broken. Brands and publishers started to look for a more direct path. They were indeed looking for essential values that did not exist in the traditional advertising environment. Ownership, transparency, efficiency and performance were key. However, 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.

Though, but right after all

There is no doubt that planning and executing our own marketing strategies in-house is a tough decision. But it is the right one. It is a complicated action that requires a lot of courage and a clear view of the entire path. Also, 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.

And if you are still hesitating… here is how to know when it’s time to bring your marketing in-house.

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