How To Find And Attract In-House Talent

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Brian Chap, founder of Tech Recipes.

“Today’s innovation is tomorrow’s tradition.”

~Lidia Bastianich

By now, you should understand how to handle the complexity of in-housing, and how to use the six pillars of transformation for a successful transition.

In this article you’ll learn how to develop structures around accountability and governance to reduce human error and maximize productivity. If done correctly, advertisers can realize a significant improvement in ROI

Before we get into it, it’s important to remember that in-housing doesn’t always have to mean 100% brand control. Many advertisers have built hybrid models that transition strategy while enhancing the planning and buying relationship with the agency.

 Define the necessary roles

Large organizations, with more than 250 employees, need these three roles to solidify an in-house foundation:

  1. Media Lead: Oversees the strategy, scales investment and serves as an escalation point.
  2. Measurement Lead: Maintains analytics framework, manages benchmarks and promotes effectiveness and ROI.
  3. Audience Science Lead: Defines data strategy, builds segments and deploys across all channels.


However, both large and small companies can benefit from other, more tactical, resources. When prioritizing a 100% in-house model, internalizing planners and traders who are capable of ad trafficking (the ability to link the creative asset to the digital ad placement) is table stakes.

In a hybrid model, agency resources are usually available or can be reallocated from other teams within the brand. Let’s say you’ve got people who are buying digital and understand the landscape – but aren’t experts. You can train and upskill those people into the necessary roles. You’d normally want to start with a 101 on the space and emerging trends, and educate into platform training, like the Xandr DSP, in order to understand the planning and buying functionalities used for precision-based advertising. Depending on the amount of campaigns you activate, additional resources may be needed to manage all marketing channels (e.g. Social, Search, etc.).

  1. Marketing Planner: Facilitates campaign setup and assists with optimization while overseeing the agency
  2. Marketing Trader: Conducts campaign buying and optimization while serving as advisor to the agency

So my companies’ headquarters is outside a major metropolis. What now?

Great question, and you’re not alone!

Companies in Manhattan and Los Angeles can source from a larger talent pool. With over 60% of companies headquartered outside of these geos, and more relocating due to the pandemic, advertisers need to differentiate themselves to source, relocate or retain top talent.

There are three ways to do this. First, hire virtual talent from outside your geography, who won’t sit under your roof. Second, simply outsource experts or companies who specialize. Third, hire international talent. This last option is more viable for blue chip companies – it’s similar to how call centers work.

One thing to note is that in many of these international resources, you are required to be more prescriptive – meaning you have to explain exactly what you want to do.

There are also a few steps you can take if you prefer to attract local talent who actually works in your office. Understand there will be more competition in your market due to supply and demand. You have to be more strategic.

First, define the companies who already have this talent. Then, try to recruit them by leveraging compensation and non-traditional benefits, like working from home, or bringing your dog to work, or additional training to help advance their career.

There are multiple options for sourcing talent. Options include internal upskilling or using external experts or staffing firms. It’s important to remember that you’re not only competing with other marketers as ad tech is often the first consideration set for potential employees. Companies must differentiate themselves to stay relevant.

Be active

In an industry that changes daily, the worst thing companies can do is nothing! If you wait for the industry to set standards on your behalf you will be too far behind to compete. Instead, brands and agencies should partner with external experts who can help define use cases, fill gaps, future proof and modernize business models!

The journey is a customized approach for all who enter it. Companies must understand that what’s right for one may not be right for another. Successful transformation requires a detailed evaluation of your business, stakeholder alignment and the right technology.

Follow Brian Chap on LinkedIn and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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