What is the solution to the skills shortage
outsourced or in-house?
The argument for bringing marketing activity in-house is that it provides more control, while an internal team is more flexible and agile than an external agency. David Burnand, marketing lead for Northern Europe at Adobe Marketing Cloud, said the decision on whether to outsource will not be easy in the future. One major consideration will be where a brand’s data sits and how much access agencies should have to it.
“Of course, there remains a huge role for agencies to do the kind of work brands cannot produce in-house, such as massive website builds or specialist creative work,” he said. OpenJaw’s Lewis suggested a mixture of outsourcing and in-house projects is the way forward. He said agencies bring an external perspective even if they do not always understand the intricacies of a brand’s business.
Creative England’s Paine pointed out a third route which future marketing teams should exploit. “In the future, our marketing team will go direct to a source for a particular service,” she said. “It might be direct to a video production company that can create content more cost-effectively than an agency.”
Microsoft has already hired its own photographers and copy- writers and is considering recruiting video experts for its in-house team to produce bite-size content quickly. “Black Friday was a good example of where we needed content fast and the agency model is not set up for that,” said Davies.
John Lewis is known for having a strong relationship with its creative agency adam&eveDDB, which is behind its Christmas commercials, and Swift said an agency must be a business partner.
“Adam&eveDDB is integral to our communication strategy and it does our social media marketing too – because it is good at it,” she said. “It also understands our brand. If you have too many specialist agencies with different disciplines, it becomes a fragmented arrangement. We are almost seeing a return to the full-service agency model.” The British Council’s director of strategy and engagement Hilary Cross agreed and said if agencies are to feel part of the marketing team more time must be spent embedding them into a brand’s organization.
Just Eat’s Dawe insisted that regarding specialists in such as social media platforms and technical work involving data, it makes sense to bring in outside experts. “If we did everything in-house, we would have a huge internal team,” he said. “If you are putting more money into ATL marketing, you need external creative input. You can tell when an ad has been put together internally because it has that introspective feel. The important thing is to give agencies the correct brief.”
Often the decision on whether to outsource depends on the skills a brand has internally.
Should marketing strategies be global or local?
Global brands have a crucial decision to make in how they structure their teams around the world, especially when consumption patterns differ between markets. The NFL’s Swanson was the first person the league hired as a specialist marketer for an international territory. She said the LA office now allows her small team to produce specific local content for the UK to ensure it is relevant to British-based fans.
The British Council, meanwhile, has around 500 marketers across the world and local marketing directors have been growing their teams organically. However, if the brand is to be recognized as global, it must devise a long-term international marketing strategy to ensure consistency.