5 reasons insourcing is harder than it looks

Helping to make media sense of it all

The times they are a-changing, sang an old man. And he was right. As old men often are.

While this seems a fairly obvious comment, the ever-changing face of the digital landscape looks to be taking yet another turn. As brands become more digitally savvy, they are asking the question of whether it wouldn’t perhaps be easier and cheaper to bring digital resource in-house rather than having to outsource to agencies.

For those trying to make sense of this raging debate help is available in the shape of the smart folk from MediaSense.

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That’s an image produced by MediaSense, who at the core are a media advisory company. (Of course I couldn’t resist adding drama by putting it through Instagram as is the NRCo way.) I went to see them to ask what they do and whether agencies still have a part to play in digital. (CLUE: they do.)

What does a media advisory company do? They help clients navigate what is becoming an increasingly complicated media landscape. They are a challenger to the traditional role in that they want to form a partnership and grow with their clients rather than being a stick with which to beat their agency. In this role as advisor, currently one of the most frequent questions they are fielding is, why shouldn’t we bring digital experts in-house?

On the surface, having an in-house digital team may seem like a logical next step in development but here’s why Media Sense believe ‘just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should’:

  1. It’s really hard. Buying and integrating the tech is a tricky process. Agencies have done this effectively over a number of years with extensive resources to draw upon.
  2. Agencies are able to apply much greater leverage with key media publishers and technology companies allowing them to negotiate more favourable deals for their clients.
  3. Digital specialists thrive on the company of other specialists to learn from and share best practices. They also relish the opportunity (afforded to them in the industry) of moving up the ranks rather quickly. This development path is much harder to create within an in-house model.
  4. What happens when your in-house paid search lead takes a holiday or is off sick? Do you turn off your search campaigns and plan activity around the team’s availability? Smaller teams can create such vulnerabilities which may not be desirable during business critical periods.
  5. Without a culture for insourcing, it can be a challenge to integrate an insourced model especially when campaigns don’t perhaps perform as well as they should. Far easier to blame your agency than yourself!

There is no right or wrong answer, each company will have different aims, different resources and different cultures. Speak to a media advisory company and let them help you to play to your strengths. Don’t fall into the trap of trend following, as this next (un)helpfully Instagrammed image demonstrates.

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