Marketers are taking back control of their digital marketing by bringing it in-house, but this is coming at a cost of lost productivity and creativity, according to a new report.
Recent research indicates that 92% of CMOs are planning to maintain or increase digital and programmatic capabilities internally. However, a new research report conducted by email marketing solution Mailjet with the Data and Marketing Association (DMA) – due be released on Monday 5th August – highlights that with this trend comes a notable drop in productivity (-15%) and creativity (-11%).
The study finds that expectations around in-housing are falling short, further highlighting the importance of collaboration as marketing functions are transitioned in-house. Choosing the right tools will enable the smooth process to create and execute campaigns.
The research also reveals that:
· Increased productivity (47%) and enhanced creativity (38%) are the top expected benefits, but these are not being achieved.
· 87% of brands are still committed to agency investment with certain marketing functions – including ‘creative and design’ (46%) and ‘content and copywriting’ (39%), with ‘CRM and experience management’ (41%), and ‘search engine optimisation’ (37%) also identified as areas where value still lies in the right agency partner
· Investment in new technology is a large focus for 69% of brands, but limited budget (41%) and the challenge of adopting this new technology (35%) are two of the biggest tests highlighted by brands creating an in-house marketing strategy.
· Improved internal and external communication and collaboration would assist with the teething issues of in-housing – more than one in six (17%) citing a need for appropriate collaboration and communication tools specifically.
· Email marketing is identified as the leading in-housed function (62%).
The report, ‘Understanding In-Housing: Bringing Marketing Functions Home’, conducted by the Data and Marketing Association (DMA) with email marketing and transactional solution Mailjet, highlights some notable drops in increased productivity (-15%) and enhanced creativity (-11%) when marketers reported on the benefits they had actually realised.
Despite the gap, the majority of brands are currently in-housing and plan to continue in the future (86%). Email marketing is identified as the leading in-housed function (62%), with a wide range of marketing functions having been or being in-housed currently (on average, six per company).
Closing the productivity gap
Brands face a range of challenges when implementing strategies to create an in-house marketing function, but the most significant among them are ‘limited budget’ (41%) and ‘adopting new technology’ (35%).
The research shows that brands are heavily focused on investing in new technology to facilitate in-housing (69%). More than one in six (17%) of those surveyed cited a need for appropriate collaboration and communication tools specifically.
Judy Boniface-Chang, Chief Customer & Marketing Officer at Mailjet, comments, “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. 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. So while only one in six cite this is a challenge, having the right solutions and tools in place for teams could help abate many more of the challenges of in-housing.”
Tim Bond, Head of Insight at the DMA, says: “In-housing is not a binary choice. It’s not either/or. Our research shows one in 12 organisations are using what we have called a ‘blended’ strategy – combining the two. The key for brands, whichever strategy they choose, is clear: bringing any marketing function in-house is just the first step. To achieve the results brands set out at the beginning of this process means investing in the skills, talent and technology within their organisations. The brands that are able to drive collaboration in this changing environment will be the ones that ultimately succeed.”
The report also highlighted the risks of creating an ‘echo-chamber’ of ideas through in-housing as a key concern among 37% of respondents.
Whilst companies show no signs of slowing down in-housing, 87% of brands are still committed to maintaining the same level of agency investment, with certain marketing functions – including ‘creative and design’ (46%) and ‘content and copywriting’ (39%) – still best executed by an agency partner.
Beyond just creativity concerns, 37% of marketers also worry about an absence of agency expertise in technical areas. ‘CRM and experience management’ (41%), and ‘search engine optimisation’ (37%) are also identified by respondents as areas where value still lies in the right agency partner to provide expert counsel.
Boniface-Chang concludes, “Despite the fact that email technology can be well managed in-house, we still see a high demand by our clients for outside training, coaching and monitoring of their email programs. It’s not specific to industry either; our customer success team works with brands ranging from Microsoft to LaLiga to make sure they know the latest email trends, best-practices and more to keep their marketing campaigns at the forefront and out of the echo-chamber.”
‘Understanding In-Housing: Bringing Marketing Functions Home’ is an initiative undertaken by the DMA in partnership with Mailjet.
In June 2019, DMA conducted an online survey that included a maximum of 27 questions. The research consists of 206 respondents, predominantly from marketing teams (87%) within brands (73%) or marketing service providers (27%). There was an even distribution between Senior (52%) and Mid-level marketers (48%).
Respondents represented a range of sectors, with 24% working in B2B organisations, 30% employed by B2C companies, and 46% working in both. There was an even distribution of businesses between Small-Medium enterprises (49%) and Large-Very large enterprises (50%).
The data was collected and collated by Qualtrics, then analysed by the DMA Insight department. The report was written by the DMA Insight department and designed by Mailjet in conjunction with the DMA’s in-house design team.