Will in-housing change in a post pandemic technology marketing economy?
The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on every part of our living and working lives. It has hit every industry, every sector, and is urging us to ask difficult questions as to how we operate today and tomorrow.
These new ways of working will force a cultural shift as talent migrates and employment practises adapt. This has prompted many technology marketing leaders to consider their in-housing strategies - particularly with regards to how they can in-house their talent and teams.
Fast-tracking Investment Decisions
In-housing talent has been a significant trend in recent years, and the pandemic will either accelerate plans, or force businesses into a hybrid model as they adapt for a new landscape.
Before the pandemic took hold, many marketers were looking to move more functions internally. Earlier this year, research by MediaLink and WARC claimed that 34% of marketers worldwide want to in-house at least some of their ad operations in 2020.
Going back to last year, the IAB revealed that 88% of UK marketers had either partially (44%) or completely (40%) moved programmatic ad buying in house. Just 3% said they had no plans to, with a further 8% stating they had tried to do so but decided to outsource instead.
Existing plans may have been fast-tracked thanks to unseen Covid complications, but strategic decisions should still be well thought through and considered.In-housing projects fail when either the groundwork was not in place, or there was a disconnect with business realities. Technology marketing leaders must ensure that any new or adapted plans still correlate with the organisational objectives and set up as a whole.
Finding Safety In-House
The unfortunate consequence of Covid-19 is the likelihood of redundancies across the industry in the near future. Furloughed agency staff might not make it back to work, while fewer vacancies add to the talent surplus.
As these workers search for new employment, there's undoubtedly a consideration as to which is a safer prospect for them: agency or in-house. There are arguments on both sides here, but ultimately this will depend on employee perceptions.
For businesses that have struggled to attract talent in the past, or have held back on in-housing because of limited resources, a wider talent pool that is more open to working in-house may finally unlock this option.
Changing How We Work
The ways in which people work have already changed significantly regardless of whether that work is agency side or advertiser side. Even as offices reopen, social distancing rules are likely to stay in place for some time, so it is unlikely we'll see full offices any time soon.
Studies don't agree as to whether or not workers are ready to return to the office, though many suggest that Millennials and Gen Z are more eager to go back. However, the past four months have unlocked new remote working practises; making a greater case for agile and flexible options for staff.
Embracing remote working immediately opens up your talent pool. Knowing that they can remain productive and still feel a part of the company, current and prospective employees alike will be considering moving out of the major cities and into areas with lower costs of living and less overcrowded commutes.
There is no one right answer
Whether to in-house, move to a hybrid model or keep the status quo will depend on a business's individual short and long term needs.
There are those that will prefer the ‘safety' of keeping things the way they are for the time being, particularly if they have had to press pause on spend.
Others will favour the flexibility of new agency models that give them more control over their data, for example, while giving them access to a wider pool of more specialised agency talent with knowledge of verticals outside their own. This could see them postpone the idea of in-housing for now, if not ever.
Yet others still may see now as the perfect time to make the most of the increased talent available to take the plunge and put a full-time team on the P&L.
If anything, this pandemic has given us all pause for thought: to consider the future we want to build. Advertisers, agencies and most particularly employees must work out what best works for them.