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Marketers Are Turning Inward, Making Specialists More Important Than Ever

David Krupp
June 13, 2018

Brands are insourcing more digital and programmatic services, a trend that’s only going to continue. Concerns regarding transparency, speed-to-market and data integrity have forced brands to reconsider their existing marketing and media structures. As marketers grapple with the effects of fraud and high ad-tech costs on their media dollars, their trust in traditional media agencies has eroded. Internal solutions have emerged to fill the void, especially in digital and programmatic disciplines.

Insourcing is changing the marketing and advertising landscape

All indications point to the insourcing trend having lasting consequences. P&G has already cut agency and production costs by $750 million annually, and they’re looking to cut another $400 million in the future. (AdAge January 23, 2018) At the same time, P&G is likely to continue increasing ad spend while it realizes the efficiency created through its internal media operations. Further internalization of agency operations is likely, with CFO Jon Moeller saying, “We’ll automate more media planning, production and distribution, bringing more of it in-house.”

Specialists are already positioned for success

While in-house media solutions seem to be achieving the desired results of increased speed-to-market, pricing efficiency, data integrity and transparency, traditional agencies are reacting slowly. Specialists, conversely, are already positioned to support internal media and marketing teams and are quickly emerging as the most capable to adapt to this in-source trend. Specialists routinely take on project work profitably, collaborate extensively with internal and external actors, and offer competitive insights and support in areas that are still difficult to resource internally.

Digiday reported on March 28, 2018 that marketers believe specialized boutique agencies, which already thrive on individual assignments, will benefit the most from the in-house movement. “Brands will start looking toward niche agencies who really understand their craft and have deep expertise,” said Quynh Mai, founder at Moving Image & Content.

There are hurdles to bringing in specialists

Implementing a robust specialist strategy does have its own set of hurdles, and the biggest is figuring out how to connect brands and specialists. Independent agencies and specialist agencies generally lack a penetrating voice and don’t often find themselves invited to full-service pitches. Of the $25 billion in media estimated to have been reviewed in 2016, a mere $2 billion, or 8%, went to independent media agencies. Specialists are routinely bypassed by pitch consultants who default to full-service, typically holding company, bundled solutions rather than draw upon the best resources to create a service offering built around a client’s specific needs.

As marketers continue to insource media services, consultants must understand the specialist marketplace and the extraordinary resources it offers to amplify in-house media teams while providing service, flexibility and value unmatched by the large holding companies.

Focus on creating your perfect team

The best media teams are created, not sold as a single solution. It starts with brand leadership who understand the need to bring the best minds and services together to solve their complex marketing challenges; Who challenge their consultants or team to include specialists when considering marketing and media requirements. Then task them to collaborate willingly, debate vigorously and focus singularly on meeting the needs and challenges faced by the brand in today’s fragmented marketing landscape. The results will amaze.