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5 Myths of In-House Advertising, Debunked

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled WPP’s Sorrell: In-House Ad Buying is a “Temporary Phenomenon.” In it, the public relations company’s CEO is quoted as telling CMO Today, “Our view is after a year or two it will change. I question whether [ clients ] will be able to apply technology successfully.”

While we readily acknowledge that in-house marketing is not for everyone, it’s a far stretch to say that direct ad buying won’t last, or that data-driven marketers can’t figure out how to use ad automation software. Over the past few years, brands have clamored for control over digital data, insight into media spend/ROI, and faster turnaround from agencies; with the right advertising automation software and skilled operator(s) to learn the ropes, those are exactly the benefits that an in-house advertising transition brings to the table.

There seem to be quite a few straw man arguments circulating about this ‘temporary phenomenon’ — here’s just a handful:

1. In-house advertising is an all or nothing switch

No one is saying that companies can’t still retain third parties for radio advertising, video production, image sourcing or other resources. Agencies can be excellent at recruiting creative talent, and once you have ownership over your customer data, you’ll be able to ask for assets that look and feel like existing top performing campaigns.

2. In-house marketers are less specialized than agency staff

Think about this for a second. Who’s going to focus more on your company’s industry, products, brand and customers – someone who lives and breathes your brand 40+ hours a week, or someone who divides their time amongst multiple clients in multiple verticals? When you hire an in-house marketer, you’re in full control of selecting whether they are expert in social media or search, Facebook or Twitter, user acquisition or retention (or all of the above). With an agency, you have little say over who heads your account and what their background in marketing is — or isn’t — not to mention where they spend their time.

3. In-house advertising software is just a login

This is another pretty silly argument. If you’re a SaaS company, are you going to just hand the keys over to new clients and expect them to figure out what to do on their own? It sounds like a recipe for a failed business, right? Just like any B2B company, SaaS businesses provide training and resources to get customers comfortable with the ins and outs of their products, plus ongoing support in the form of best practices, updates on new technology, and campaign troubleshooting. It would be madness to do otherwise.

4. In-house advertising software is one-size-fits-all

When it comes to major purchases, it pays to do your homework. There are a ton of software companies out there with bells and whistles; select one that speaks to your specific industry instead. A quick tip: When shopping for in-house advertising software, take a look at the company’s current clients and ask yourself if they’re in a similar field.

5. In-house advertising involves a ton of manual work

Programmatic is a buzz word for a reason; it’s a powerful method of getting in front of the right audience at the right time. With great power comes a lot of ad building, uploading, downloading, testing and data sorting, right? Not necessarily. If you select software specifically designed to automate the bidding, budgeting and optimization process, you will have access to tools like the ones we’ve built for Ad Engine: Creative Tester, Optimized Budgeting and Custom Formulas. These time-saving features will leave you open to strategize, try out new ad products, and respond quickly to data insights.

With these in-house myths debunked, read our two free eBooks outlining the benefits and steps to in-house advertising success:

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