The modern martech toolkit for your in-house marketing team
Affordable and powerful self-service technologies are the building blocks of the brand marketer’s toolkit
In-house marketing is back—and it's stronger than ever. As part of an ongoing trend that's been gaining momentum for years, brands large and small are moving away from outside agencies and toward more total control of their brand and their marketing.
The reason for this varies from brand to brand, but most brands find that by moving as much marketing as possible in-house—especially when it comes to creative content and media buying—a more cohesive, higher-quality brand presence is solidified in the minds of their consumers. When you pair this with rising outsourcing costs and falling technological/price barriers for marketing analytics and related tools, it's no wonder so many brands are choosing to (re)build their in-house teams.
Modern marketing has had technological requirements for decades, but it's only recently that price barriers have fallen to a reasonable level. To interact with your customers effectively and market to them intelligently today, you need deep analytics and insight capabilities to go hand-in-hand with creative content and media buying capabilities.
The last two have always fared better in the hands of in-house teams who can focus exclusively on your brand and make more nuanced decisions as part of an ongoing conversation with customers.
In-house teams are going to be most effective when they focus on their brand image and voice—the creative side of the equation—and purchase powerful tools to handle the more technically challenging marketing functions that once only highly specialized agencies could afford and handle.
Extending your team's current skill set
Creative strategy, media strategy, customer experience, organic social, or other brand-first pieces are often easier extensions of your current in-house team’s skill set—and if they're not, they should be.
This is where in-house teams thrive. One of the big drawbacks of agency work is that they necessarily lack a deep understanding of, and dedication to, your brand. Because they work with many brands at once, they will never have the same level of passion as your in-house team.
The first step in bringing your marketing execution in-house is to get a handle on your creative voice and brand persona by creating your own content. Hire content creators & customer experience planners. Improve or hack existing products/services to create new or better experiences that get people more engaged with your brand. Find the right person/team in your department to take full control of the brand's voice and image.
Once you've solidified control over your brand and you have a clear path forward for brand growth and development, you can start thinking about what technologies you need to support that team's efforts. Creative pieces and media can only ever be successful when supported by audience insights and curated data. All the branding in the world will fail if it's completely based on gut instinct.
Adopt self-service technologies to make your marketing more effective
The modern brand marketer’s toolkit is affordable and powerful—this is what makes in-house teams so enticing today. The availability of advertising technology and other tools make it much easier to bridge the gap. Here are just a few to consider:
- Consumer Intelligence: Understanding your target markets and the demographic cohorts of each is a critical component of creative generation. Spending hundreds of thousands (or millions) on a single advertising campaign is no small investment—it needs to be supported by data that suggest the target audience will respond. The same goes for new product/service development. Many existing consumer intelligence tools are affordable for in-house teams and give your creatives the insight they need to more effectively do their jobs.
- Customer Experience & Personalization Platforms: One reason in-house teams are becoming more popular is that the modern customer no longer responds as well to cookie-cutter campaigns that are still churned out by large agencies—they want deep personalization. They have a lot of options, they are inundated by noise from brands who don't understand them, and so they are much more likely to respond to brands that make an effort to personalize effectively. Many platforms exist today that support your brand advocates and representatives as they work to create deep, intelligent bonds with consumers.
- Customer and Audience Data (including audience discovery): Many advertising campaigns fall short due to a lack of rigorous audience analysis. Targeting audiences without a solid understanding of their multiple attributes is bound to fail. This is true for both existing and new potential audiences. While data on existing audiences is always useful, the discovery of new audiences (and the desires they have for existing products/services or new potential products/services) can be of massive potential for firms looking to expand and make an impact in new markets.
- Analytics & Insights: General analytics on how your marketing is performing is always useful, but we have moved well beyond the free tools that many are familiar with. Your in-house team can gain insight into the performance of media and creative pieces for a much lower cost than was once required—those insights can improve the effectiveness of campaigns moving forward.
- Campaign Management: Campaigns no longer need to be run by data experts. Large media channels like Google and Facebook have made their platforms more intuitive and more forgiving over the years, and they are often happy to provide support for teams that spend regularly. It won't take long for your in-house team to learn how to manage them effectively (hiring a specialist for your in-house team is also an option). Campaigns that are managed internally are going to get the love and dedication they deserve.
Once you've mapped out your technological toolkit, you're ready to begin! And remember, you can always bring in an outside agency or freelancers for overflow work or during busy seasons/product launches to avoid making seasonal hires. As long as your in-house team is the core of the majority of your marketing functions, your brand is going to be more effective and more efficient in the long run.