Brands rethink their in-housing plans after tactic was ‘put on ice’ amid pandemic


The in-housing trend will not go away, but it is in reverse — to a point.

Turns out, it’s too expensive, too complicated and too political for many companies to do at any real scale. Especially when so many businesses are trying to wrangle costs, not inflate them, during a global economic downturn. The pandemic’s knock to the economy forced many marketers to live hand-to-mouth and the flexibility offered by agencies proved to be critical to survival.

There is little choice. Said one marketer on condition of anonymity: “We’re thinking harder about how we exert more control over our media dollars, but it’s not profitable or practical for us to try and do without an agency. I’m not the only one thinking this. A lot of in-housing plans were put on ice last year.”

J.Crew, Splenda, and Prudential are among a raft of advertisers that once prided themselves on doing the bulk of their marketing internally, but are now turning to agencies, as reported by Insider. If taking more marketing in-house is like a pyramid, for advertisers, it is one with the steepest of peaks.

“Two years ago we’re told repeatedly by clients that they just wanted the technology from us and weren’t interested in any of the additional services because they had an in-house team that could do that,” said James Sleaford, managing director of digital marketing business DQ&A by Incubeta. “Now, those conversations tend to involve the clients saying they want the tech and the additional service layer wrapped around it.”

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