Bringing marketing functions in-house usually leads to disappointment for corporations of all sizes, according to a new study by DMA and Mailjet that found creativity and productivity can crater without the expert guidance of agencies and other third parties.
Understanding In-Housing: Bringing Marketing Functions Home serves as a warning to brands that do not have the infrastructure, tools or personnel to support marketing internally. While B2C and B2B brands can struggle to manage tasks in-house, they also miss out on the added value derived from relationships when outsourcing.
For those trying to implement strategies in-house, four in ten respondents said they have run into trouble due to a limited budget, while more than a third are struggling to install and adapt to new technology. A lack of collaboration and communication is another bone of contention for marketers.
However, there is no widespread desire to go it alone fully, as nine in ten say they are committed to maintaining or increasing their current levels of investment in agencies. Content marketing agencies are well-placed to benefit from the need for outside assistance, as 39% said that “content and copywriting” works best when handled by a partner, while 46% said the same for “creative and design.”
However, certain functions do lend themselves more readily to internal management. Email marketing is the most popular in-house function, and the report noted that it is possible to get things up and running with relative ease but that many are still seeking guidance for outside training and monitoring for their programs.
“Looking at some of the biggest challenges companies face, it’s notable how many of these could be resolved by improved communication and collaboration internally and with external partners,” Mailjet Chief Customer and Marketing Officer, Judy Boniface-Chang, said in a statement.
She added: “To address this, companies should focus on choosing tools that enable them to effectively collaborate in the creation and execution of their campaigns, reducing the number of iterations and maintaining a high level of control over their brand.”
DMA Head of Insight, Tim Bond, believes brands do not have to make a binary choice when deciding whether to manage functions internally and externally and that a mixture of the two can work well. Therefore, the onus is on enterprises to identify their own strengths and weaknesses so that they can create the best in-house and outsourcing strategy.
He added: “It’s not either/or. Our research shows one in 12 organisations are using what we have called a ‘blended’ strategy – combining the two.”
Bond also says enterprises should invest in skills, talent and technology so they can increase the capabilities of their marketing and support agencies and partners in their efforts more effectively.
The report found that brands also look to agencies to provide a new perspective on topics and subjects, as 37% of respondents said they fear to create an “echo-chamber” by working alone. A similar number are also concerned about a lack of agency expertise in certain technical areas, such as search engine optimisation.