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Important questions before taking media in-house

Taking media in-house
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This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.

This is the next in a series of one-minute videos that address one of the many complex challenges facing marketing, media and advertising today. The Golden Minute series is an attempt to prove Albert Einstein right when he said “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple”.

But he also said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. So we will leave it for you to judge. Please let us know here if there is a topic you would like us to cover in a Golden Minute.

In the face of ad fraud, brand safety and viewability issues, many marketers are considering taking some or all of their media in-house. Are you? Technology and media innovation is making this more feasible. But is it right for you?

Depending on the market, the size of the media spend and and the media mix, there appears to be four options for advertisers when it comes to media, either in-house or outsourced.

Leave it as it is, with the agency

Be it because it’s all too hard, or that they simply do not have the scale of spend or they believe that their agency contracts and their media agency will protect them from the perils of the ‘murky’ media ecosystem, many advertisers are not taking any part of their media in-house.

That does not mean they are not doing anything at all. In fact many of them are going to market to negotiate a better deal (on the basis that if I am getting ripped off at least I am minimising risk?) or one that is more transparent and tries to address many of the issues they face around brand safety and viewability and the like.

Some are unbundling their media and moving their digital and programmatic investment to independent media agencies with a disclosed and transparent remuneration and a closer direct working relationship with the team at the Trading Desk.

And yes there are some who are doing nothing at all for fear that it will flag that there is a problem and so if they just carry on as usual hopefully nobody will ask.

Take media strategy and planning in-house

There are those who either because they have a terrific customer data insights team in-house to inform them or who have a fairly straight forward media strategy and requirements, are building media strategy and planning skills and resources in-house.

The buying is still outsourced to the agency but by putting the media strategy and planning in-house they can be assured that the plan and therefore the buy is strategically aligned and not influenced by the buying.

One of the big issues for advertisers with the lack of financial transparency is that the media agency may be influenced to select particular media channels because it generates greater revenue for the media agency.

In our own experience, two brands within one organisation were using two different media agencies. One on a disclosed contract and the other on a non-disclosed contract. Interestingly with very similar strategies the media agency on the non-disclosed contract was recommending digital investment at almost twice the level of the disclosed contracted agency. Who says money doesn’t have an influence?

Take media strategy, planning and some buying in-house

More technology companies including telecos, more services companies such as Financial Services and more companies using direct acquisition strategies are taking media strategy, planning and even digital media buying in-house with access to a demand side platform or trading desk, often through either an independent tech supplier or agency and always on a disclosed contract.

The advantages are many including the ability to to use customer data and third party data to inform strategy and measure performance, especially when it comes to customer acquisition programs.

It also improves speed to market and allows the team to test and learn from the media using agile marketing processes. Usually the only media for the agency to buy will be the media the advertiser cannot access through the DSP.

Take everything in-house

For those advertisers who are big enough, with a big enough media investment and a strategy that allows them to consolidate the technology solution over multiple markets, the option is to bring the whole processes in-house.

Although many companies reported as taking all of their media in-house often retain a media agency for those transactions that they cannot manage themselves, so true all in-house is still reasonably rare.

However one of the challenges for these options is recruiting and retaining the experienced staff to manage the in-house media function. Top media people are in high demand, especially those working in data, insights and programmatic.

Of course the adtech companies and the consultants will have you think this is not an issue, that the technology is the solution, but media strategy aligned to marketing and business strategy is the key to performance be it in-house or outsourced.

So where are you at in these four options? Or are you planning to transition from one to the next? No matter what, we can help you improve your media transparency, performance and value.

Golden Minute Script

With all these questions over media kick-backs, media buying rebates and programmatic transparency more advertisers are considering taking their media in-house.

But should you bring your media in-house or should you not?

And do you bring it all in-house or not?

Do you have the scale and requirement to justify it?

Perhaps you should just bring in strategy and planning or the programmatic? Or the whole lot?

What will it take to bring your media in-house?

Technology? People? What resources will you need?

And will the cost and time it takes be worth the reward?

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not saying don’t consider it.

Just make sure you have asked all the questions you need to ask

Before taking your media in-house is the right answer.

We have the questions if you’re ready for the answers.

We provide independent assessment and advice to assist with the process of developing or optimising an in-house media function. Find out more here

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Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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