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In-housing isn't really doing the job for marketers: report

Tyrone Stewart

Online marketing planBrands are in-housing their marketing functions in order to increase productivity and enhance creativity but are failing to achieve the desired outcome, according to research from the Data and Marketing Association (DMA) and Mailjet.

The survey of 206 respondents, mainly from marketing teams, found that increased productivity (47 per cent) and enhanced creativity (38 per cent) are the top reasons for brands choosing to in-house key marketing functions. However, just 32 per cent of brands say they have achieved increase productivity, while only 27 per cent say the same for creativity.

Despite a fair number of businesses seemingly not benefiting from in-housing, 86 per cent are currently in-housing and plan to continue to do so in the future. At the same time, 87 per cent are committed to maintaining the same level of agency investment.

37 per cent of respondents have concerns about creating an ‘echo-chamber’ of ideas by in-housing. There is also a worry about the absence of agency expertise in technical areas including CRM and experience management (41 per cent) and search engine optimisation (37 per cent).

The biggest challenges facing brands when looking to create an in-house marketing function are limited budget (41 per cent) and having to adopt new technology (35 per cent), though 69 per cent are heavily focused on investing in new technology for in-housing. Moreover, 17 per cent of brands cite a need for appropriate collaboration and communication tools specifically.

“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,” said Tim Bond, head of insight at the DMA. “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.”

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