Why Are They Taking Marketing In-House?

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Looking “in-house” …get it?

Today Mark Schaefer published a really interesting post about companies bringing marketing in-house. I’d recommend you give it a read as this post was adapted from the comments I made on his post (and his suggestion that my rambling was a blog post in its own right).

This article was written from a consultant’s view as he watches his clients deal with agencies. After spending 5 years at agencies, I have a slightly different vantage point, and the below were some rationales I provided in addition to Mark’s:

1. “An Agency” isn’t always what you think it is.

This is a huge problem within the agency world in that many agencies┬ámarket themselves as “full-service” when they rarely are. Each agency has strengths and other areas they are trying to build up. You will be hard-pressed to find an agency strong across the board (think of buffet-style restaurants; there may be good food served, but odds are the broccoli isn’t cooked right). Additionally, a marketing agency is now an advertising agency is now a public relations agency.

2. The “marketing” in digital marketing inhibits agencies on the PR-side of things from making headway.

After 5 years working at PR agencies doing digital-focused work, I can say that there are times where I’ve seen PR folks use their storytelling talents to assemble amazing content marketing initiatives (not always, but sometimes). However, because most of the budgets for this type of work map up to a company’s CMO, marketing and advertising agencies speak a more similar language with their in-house peers than PR agencies sometimes do. Gini Dietrich over at Spin Sucks wrote about this topic not too long ago: “Where Does Content Marketing Belong?”

3. Agencies still don’t know how to budget for new models of marketing.

This one probably happens across the board; a lot of newer marketing strategies have not been previously priced-out and so within the bidding process, winning the business is more of a priority than accurately pricing it. So when the actual execution comes around, many agencies are not prepared for the investment, or hit a billing wall before the project is finished, which means the final product is half-baked.

What’s Next?

With the above drawbacks said, agencies across the board are adjusting and attempting to right these wrongs. These are generalities (a macro-viewpoint) that may vary day in and day out. Some agencies are doing a stellar job and sometimes, it is the in-house folks who haven’t properly adjusted their agency evaluation criteria when tackling these new projects (letting established relationships prevail over those doing the innovative work).

I find this topic fascinating and expect things to continually change over the next few years… where do you think it is heading?

Posted in Communications, Industry.