Marketers’ in-house agency debate has gone on for quite some time, taking twists and turns against new marketplace imperatives and needs.
Recently, though, a trend has emerged. Digital-first marketers are outsourcing upper funnel media duties to agencies, while maintaining core performance responsibilities in-house.
It’s not strictly in-housing or outsourcing. Let’s call it dual-housing.
This movement is a healthy industry evolution, giving advertisers more options for building bespoke planning and buying models and agencies new ways of providing value.
At its best, the arrangement empowers clients with flexibility to work in a way that fits their operating model and growth ambitions, while borrowing expertise where they may fall short.
This is especially true of D2C brands, which have built their companies on the back of lower-funnel marketing and view this performance marketing acumen and data proximity as a competitive advantage. But as these brands mature, they have begun to look to agency partners to enhance their capabilities and find new opportunities for growth.
How We Got Here
While companies have maintained internal media leads and media teams for a long time, the tactical planning and buying of media was, for the most part, reserved for agencies.
This has since become less common, due to several factors which have coincided with the rise of digital and addressable media: the ease and scale of self-service platforms; proliferation of content and expectations of real-time responsiveness; and the value of first-party data and unique, internal strategies that can be built from it.
Maximizing Agency Value
Creating an in-house team requires thoughtful consideration of roles and responsibilities. Adding an agency partner to complement in-house efforts is no different.
Brands considering a dual-housing model must first determine where each team holds a true competitive advantage and appropriately balance the skills for long-term impact.
Here are four tips for implementing a successful dual-housing structure:
Ultimately, dual-housing is a strategic business decision. Brands that choose to explore this model must use all the levers available to maximize agency value, and agencies that embrace this new way of working will better unlock growth for clients.