Over the last few years there has been a lot of noise about the trends towards brands moving their digital marketing in-house. So, what’s causing this increase? 
 
The digital talent pool continues to grow at pace 
People who started off agency side have an increasing desire to move client side 
Digital marketing costs continue to rise 
 
In the first of the two-part series I have outlined some of the pros and cons of migrating your digital marketing in-house. 

The pros of moving your digital marketing in-house 

Being in control of your own destiny – when recruiting and onboarding your digital team, you can set the standards of what you expect from the team whilst recruiting the technical and personal skills you need. Although when you outsource you can look for 3rd parties who have the same values and agree on service levels, you cannot always guarantee these will be met and that your team is the quality you are striving for 
Reduce 3rd party fees – any agency that I would trust to manage digital marketing campaigns would charge more than the cost of having a team in-house. By migrating your activity across, there will be a significant improvement in the return on investment you see over-night (as long as you can maintain performance levels) 
Save time – you will reduce the amount of time communicating the latest trading performance, new product launches or the latest campaign, as your teams will have already been in the initial briefing sessions. You will avoid information getting lost in translation too! 
Greater understanding of the brand – if you are living and breathing the brand every day, you will be in a far better position to deliver your digital marketing. When working with 3rd parties, the biggest hurdle is educating them on your brand values, tone of voice, products, your teams, customers and technology infrastructure. This is also compounded by the constant churn of people working on your account, where you will quite often lose an account manager every 6 months 
Your team are invested in you – there are no divided loyalties. Ultimately the team are purely focussed on your brands objectives. Working with a 3rd party could mean the recommendations you receive are for the greater good of their business too e.g. increase fee value / margin, rather than growing your own performance. This is especially the case when you reward brands on a percentage of media spend 

The cons of moving your digital marketing in-house 

Slower campaign delivery – there is a danger that you lose time on delivering your routine tasks e.g. campaign optimisation. The leading agencies are focussed on automating the processes that matter, to improve the time they spend thinking for their clients and their margin 
Future thinking getting lost in the detail – the demands of focussing on campaign implementation may stunt what your plans look like for next week, next month or next year 
Learning from other clients – you may find yourself constantly having to learn on your own payroll, feeling in a position where you either must test everything or gaps in knowledge. If you work with a transparent agency or consultant, they can provide you with anonymised results from new channels, partners or product testing, whilst helping to challenge media partner recommendations 
Accessing the right technology – with the amount of digital marketing tools out there combined with the continuous change and newcomers to the market, having a clear view of what technology is required to deliver your business goals can be a nightmare. In addition, you may struggle to get the economies of scale, which 3rd parties could provide, constantly meaning a higher cost to use the technology 
Finding the right talent – this has been one of the biggest challenges that I have seen in the past, which often gets overlooked. Is there enough depth and breadth of digital talent in the area or are you in close enough commuting distance? 

What should you do? 

In summary, there are as many pros as there are cons which could lead you to thinking that moving in-house is not the right approach. As always there are ways to mitigate the cons too. In-housing isn't the right approach for every brand. If you are considering your options, we can support you with whether this is the right decision to make, when you should be looking to transition your activity and how you should approach this. 
 
In part 2, we will discuss our top ten tips for in-housing your digital marketing to help you mitigate the risk. 
 
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