Marketing Briefing: Marketers are eyeing in-housing once again with 44% of CMOs planning to move more work in-house in 2022

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The in-housing march is back on.

As Digiday reported last week, Procter & Gamble has moved to adjust its marketing with media planning for its personal health, baby care and fabric care brands now being handled in-house. Procter & Gamble is an early mover — as to be expected from the largest advertiser in the business — but it’s not alone in continuing to move various marketing capabilities in-house despite the pandemic. According to a new Forrester report, 77% of global organizations now have some form of in-house agency; that’s up from 68% in 2018.

Early on in the pandemic, it seemed that the movement toward in-housing would slow down or hit a stand still as marketers were focused on the immediate business needs of their various companies. Some even believed that external agencies would benefit from the constant shifts in budgets and the media mix as media agencies’ council and expertise was in constant need, explained Jay Pattisall, principal analyst at Forrester. While that was the case for some brands, that wasn’t at the “detriment or stall of the in-housing movement,” said Pattisall.

Marketers, agency execs and industry analysts say that while in-housing continued throughout the pandemic for some marketers, the conversation is starting to pick up again more broadly. Per Forrester research, 44% of CMOs say they plan to move more work in-house in 2022.

One big draw for marketers when it comes to in-housing media, in particular, is ownership over data and increased control of the marketing budget. “Marketers clearly understand the need for them to keep their data close so that they can continually test, learn and modify as quickly as possible,” said Nancy Hill, founder of Media Sherpas and former 4A’s president.

Hill added: “Everything was on the back burner during COVID. Nothing was normal about the past 20 months. There does seem to be more movement on a lot of initiatives that were tabled.” 

The renewed momentum for in-housing could make the difficult talent market that much more so as clients seek to poach agency talent. One ad executive noted that marketers are unwilling to pay agencies more to help them increase compensation for employees but are willing to poach talent and pay them substantially more than agencies.

It’s unclear how quickly marketers will move to in-house or how competitive the talent market may become in 2022. 

That said, in-housing has been talked about for years. “I don’t think that we are seeing the dramatic shift that everything will be going in-house anytime soon,” said Hill. “I think the balance is different for every company based on the type of business they are in, how they meet and serve their customers and their individual culture.”

3 Questions with Pura CMO Daniel Lacey

How has Pura’s marketing strategy changed since the smart home fragrance company started selling products back in 2018?

We started with performance, direct-to-consumer marketing — a lot of paid social. For the first two years, that was our main source of customer acquisition. It was pretty heavily focused around how we can get a direct ROI from our marketing as a lean startup. Over this past year, we’ve shifted and put a lot more effort into our brand awareness plays. Paid social is a huge part of what we do. 

Today, what has been working has been relying on our brand partners. We’re focusing on our partnerships and then we’re also adding in a lot more higher-quality videos from a brand awareness perspective. The third thing is working with influencers. So they’ll post content, we whitelist their content and run ads behind it—mainly [on] Instagram and Facebook. We’ve just barely started getting into Pinterest and TikTok.

What has the pivot to video strategy looked like?

It’s hard to sell fragrances online because you can’t smell it. In our videos, it’s, “How can we portray what this fragrance smells like” in our video and really get across our unique value propositions. It’s all about the storytelling. Perception is reality. Nowadays, people have such a short attention span. You have to be able to hook someone. If you want to make a connection and let them know what our brand is all about, you have to tell a story. It’s a lot harder to tell a story in a static image or gif than it is in a video. It’s the ability to communicate multiple points in a really intriguing, enticing and capturing way to the customer.

Are there any changes with the ad spend strategy you can tell us about?

Last year, [OTT spend] was nothing. By the end of this year, it’ll be about 7%. We do have plans of increasing that. It does depend on how it performs, but we like [it]. On paid social, you’re only as good as your hook. If your hook isn’t good, they’re scrolling past. Hulu and other platforms, they’re generally stuck there so you can tell a full story. We like that aspect, especially as a startup. It’s always hard, tricky and scary to jump into a new channel. With things like Facebook, Instagram and influencers, it’s easy to see the attribution and say, “This is the direct return that we’re getting.” With these OTT platforms, innovating in the analytics space, it makes it more comfortable to jump in and spend more when you’re seeing the results coming from it. — Kimeko McCoy

By the numbers

Companies are once again working to solidify plans to return to the office at the top of 2022 after the ups and downs of 2021. Meanwhile, conversations around burnout continue to happen as employers search for ways to retain talent and reduce turnover. According to the latest collaborative survey from MindEdge Learning and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), many companies acknowledge the need to reduce stress and counteract burnout in their employees. However, 38% of respondents note their organizations have yet to address it. More from the report below:

  • 62% of respondents said their organizations have already introduced workplace benefits to reduce stress, or plan to do so.
  • 80% of respondents observed an increase of employee burnout, with 37% citing a “major increase.”
  • 54% of respondents indicate that turnover is higher than pre-pandemic, and only 8% share that turnover is lower. — Kimeko McCoy

Quote of the week

“In 2013, when Dirty Lemon was pushing products through Instagram it was all about getting influencers to post and tag you. You’d get followers out of it. You’d get a ton of social clout. You could drive sales. Today, when an influencer posts the comments are always, ‘You get that bag’ for the fact that they’re getting a check versus the alignment with the brand.”

— Nik Sharma, DTC investor and founder of Sharma Brands, on how using influencers has evolved for DTC brands.

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