In-housing was already growing in popularity when the coronavirus pandemic brought most of the world to a pause. Up to that point, many well-known brands were talking about bringing some or all of their marketing in-house as opposed to entrusting it to third-party agencies who historically handled such business. With the pressures of coronavirus on top of the debate, can companies use in-housing to handle their marketing campaigns more successfully than an outside agency?
Popular brands like Lego have used in-house marketing with great success. According to Forbes, the toy brand's "Rebuild the World" campaign was created by a 500-person in-house creative team with help from two other companies. It marked the brand's first global campaign in 30 years. The spot was nearly two minutes long and presented an action-filled tale about a playful dash around a mad world.
Other brands are taking notes and talking about how in-house marketing might be of great benefit to their own companies. As they are conducting trials, they are seeing a myriad of additional, connected benefits.
One of the most appealing aspects of in-house marketing is the control the company has over its image and message. Sending the wrong message can do a lot of harm to a brand as popular German car manufacturer Audi found out recently. Audi was called out when an ad featuring a little girl eating a banana in front of one of their high-performance sports cars was launched.
The company was called out on social media by some who believed the ad was sexually suggestive. Others complained of obvious safety issues. The company issued an apology and pulled the ad campaign.
Brands that outsource their marketing often don't control ad buying or paid media. Millions are wasted each year by companies on ad efforts that customers never see. With today's current economic situation, companies don't have the money to squander on ad efforts that are never created or used. Nor do they have the money for damage control when the message is ill-conceived.
As digital marketing has evolved other relevant services have emerged. Speciality services like data analysis, video production, contact marketing, and more have gained in popularity. Analytics are needed to understand the success of online campaigns, discern their reach, identify target audiences, and make better spending choices. Video production is important because, according to Cisco's annual report, as much as 80% of internet traffic is now video making it a vital part of any company's marketing efforts. With all services in-house, the company could have consistency across their efforts.
Speaking of saving money, according to The Organic Agency, Unilever reported saving over $500 million globally the first year it used extensive in-housing. And it's not sacrificing quality to save money. Unilever found that since agency and marketing teams could work together more efficiently in-house, quality campaigns and content were produced faster. It also makes sense because in-house marketing teams are more likely to care and be more knowledgeable about their own products and services.
In-housing isn't without its challenges, however. It's a nice thought to have a marketing team with in-house studios maintaining an efficient production workflow. But it's going to take some time and resources to put such an arrangement together. You'll need to recruit for talent and obtain the resources and production technology you will need to make it happen. While such an effort is enough to hinder some companies, others find it more than worth the effort once they've established their in-house team.
Still in its early stages, in-housing will grow and evolve in the years to come. Prior to Covid-19 many thought in-housing was just the latest trend. With our new reality as we navigate the current pandemic, in-housing may be used more and more by brands who see it for its many benefits.
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