Digital marketing – in-house or outsourcing? Which disciplines are better off in-house?

How can you improve your digital marketing more efficiently by insourcing or outsourcing?

Advertisers are increasingly mapping digital marketing themselves. In addition to the economic aspect, the desire to be able to analyze and understand their own data also plays a role. To come straight to the point – there is no one-size-fits-all answer as to whether in-house or outsourcing is more efficient. Nevertheless, you will find strategic recommendations at the end of this article.

Advertisers are increasingly mapping digital marketing themselves. In addition to the economic aspect, the desire to be able to analyze and understand their own data also plays a role. To come straight to the point – there is no one-size-fits-all answer as to whether in-house or outsourcing is more efficient. Nevertheless, you will find strategic recommendations at the end of this article.

Inhousing is “in” – but also a challenge

Bringing marketing in-house is a trend, as advertisers want to get the full potential out of their data and control budget allocation themselves. The range of tools available for this is growing. At the same time, however, data management is a complex topic that is keeping more and more departments busy internally and requires expertise. The best tools are of no use if they are not properly understood or used. Often, you even have to take a step back. Often, companies do not properly understand the customer journey. So first of all, the sales process has to be analyzed to find out what effect the individual marketing channels have and what leads to specific purchase decisions. The fact that this is often not clear is due to the fact that display advertising, search engine marketing, etc.. are handled by different agencies. You don’t have to cover everything in-house, but it’s important to understand what you’re giving away off-site.

Inhousing – not overnight

Inhousing in display marketing, for example, takes about 12 to 18 months. Before the actual consulting begins, a number of factors and processes must first be analyzed. These include, above all, the key performance indicators and control metrics, existing media partnerships, the assessment of the most important channels, processes for creating advertising media, and the technical infrastructure. This first phase takes about 6 to 8 months. This is then followed by concrete proposals for measures through to specific business and budget plans. For successful implementation, most companies need an expert to accompany the process and, above all, train the staff. Best-of-breed consulting on the selection of technologies such as ad servers, tracking, reporting tools or workflow-supporting platforms is just as important as support in the daily application. This is the longest process in in-house. It takes at least 6 months. Afterwards, it makes sense for many companies to have an expert as a coaching and sparring partner to accompany them.

Here is a brief overview of which measures may make more strategic sense internally or externally:

1. Map inhouse:

Internally, services that contribute to a better understanding of the core business should generally be mapped, such as:

  • Business Intelligence: As this is the area where business-relevant information is processed to support decision-making, it forms the basis for marketing and product development.
  • CRM: Through the comprehensive understanding of customer behavior, a user-centric strategy can be developed – and this is not only important for newsletter marketing, but essential for all marketing.
  • Organic Social Media: Community management with personal contact management on the various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. forms the basis for effective online marketing – from which advertisers benefit.

2. Consult external experts

A balanced mix of internal and external can optimize resources. That is why most companies, despite in-house competencies, do not do without experts from outside. The following tasks can be outsourced:

  • Strategic consulting: In this area, agencies have a wealth of experience, for example, when it comes to developing advertising materials for a campaign. Optimization also includes the right choice of tracking and reporting tools.
  • Agencies usually have a powerful technological infrastructure (AdTech suites) that can hardly be implemented cost-effectively in-house. They also have the technical prerequisites in the form of DSPs (i.e. the interface for display ads) or ad servers. Technologies such as programmatic media buying are available.
  • Technical knowledge: Especially for search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA), best practices change very quickly.
  • Content creation: Agencies keep an eye on content strategy and ensure the production of professional content.
  • Agencies often have closer relationships with publishers, which brings not only better terms but also optimization opportunities.
  • Graphic tasks and web design: Professionals must be engaged for a successful, uniform external appearance.

A consultation is recommended in any case. Here, it can be individually clarified which technology and which know-how are already available, for which processes what would make more sense as well as all questions about the development or restructuring of the internal infrastructure. In general, the smaller the company, the easier it is. Structures in digital marketing are usually not yet well developed and manageable. But even in larger companies, restructuring is often more efficient in the long term.

 

    Danuta Florczyk ist Gründerin und Geschäftsführerin der Berliner Agentur für Digital-Marketing tectumedia. Danuta gilt als Expertin im Performance und Brand Marketing. Die Digitalstrategin hat 10 Jahre fachliches Know-How auf dem Gebiet Online Marketing gesammelt und war in leitenden Führungspositionen bei Yahoo!, Zalando und Project-A-Ventures tätig.

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