“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 Serge Del Grosso, SVP of media services at Merkle.
2020 has forced the marketing and advertising industries to re-evaluate the client/agency relationship. This has been especially true as marketers continue to actively consider the in-housing of their digital media capabilities.
For brands to be successful in their in-housing efforts, we believe that the consideration must reach beyond core media planning and buying competencies and embrace multiple capabilities in data, technology platforms and content management.
We call this expansion the New Media Value Chain.
The decision to in-house
According to a recent report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau IAB, 69% of US brand marketers have either completely (18%) or partially (51%) moved their programmatic media operations in-house. There are numerous reasons to go in-house, ranging from maintaining control of all data assets to driving operational efficiencies.
Successful media in-housing depends on a number of interrelated factors: securing stakeholder and executive buy-in at the outset; providing a foundation for training and upskilling client teams; maintaining a future-focused vision to stay ahead of the industry; setting clear KPIs; and providing an objective point of view.
Enabling effective in-housing also requires the examination and often reconsideration of the existing tools and technologies in play. Operationally, it’s imperative that any such transitions between technology platforms be accomplished with no loss of knowledge or pause in media. Often, agency resources are temporarily employed to ensure there’s no disruption in revenue-generating media programs. Supporting companies in their hiring, onboarding, and talent retention can create a more sustainable in-housing model in the long term.
Incorporating in-housing in the new media value chain
Traditionally, media in-housing focuses on core media planning and buying competencies to provide an operational foundation. However, this is only the first rung in the new media value chain. In today’s media ecosystem, the overlap and integration with creative and how to optimize content in a real-time bidding environment brings active consideration of a managed dynamic creative optimization (DCO) solution as an in-housed (or partially outsourced) capability.
Similarly, data and identity management through paid media (ad tech) and owned media (mar tech) technology solutions are critical to managing in-market media programs. Underpinning all of this is the implementation of robust reporting and attribution solutions(s) to drive performance optimization and incremental ROI.
The decision to go in-house should be about how companies can transform the media value chain from a traditional model to a data-driven, tech-enabled model. This will require brands to expand their consideration of key capability areas as they look to their agency partners to fill in the gaps. Or more simply put, companies will need help stitching these elements together in the most effective way possible.
With this transformation in mind, there are several different configurations to consider including innovation, such as the development of new capabilities like ad solutions and technology consulting, and execution and delivery in media activation, ad ops, or quality assurance, with embedded teams working alongside client counterparts.
Transforming the traditional media value chain will continue to be a key initiative as companies grapple with cost and operational consolidation. Data ownership and optimization will become increasingly important as the cookie-less future takes hold. Creative and content optimization as a driver of performance media campaigns will continue to place a premium on a holistic view of audience-centric planning orchestrated across measurable and integrated ad tech and mar tech platforms. Collaboration and partnership with marketers focused on their business imperatives will continue to drive the evolution toward media in-housing in the years ahead.