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Additional disclaimer: I am a member of Adobe’s influencer program and am attending Advertising Week in New York City 2017 on their behalf. However, the opinions and thoughts in this article – unless otherwise stated – are mine and Adobe did not hold final editorial approval.
Whether you should have an in-house team, external content creators or a mix is an ongoing discussion in the content marketing world.
The topic came up recently on a call that I had with Adobe Advertising Cloud. Basically, the philosophy they shared with me was that they recommend that in-house teams of strategists run advertising campaigns through the Adobe platform.
More from Adobe:
We recommend that the brand owns the contract with the technology partner – as you mentioned, this gives them full transparency into both the economics (fees, media costs) as well as performance (where the ads are running, engagement, etc). Fairly advanced digital marketers can and do use their own internal teams to handle the day-to-day execution, but it’s more common for the brand to have their agency do this. This is because the agency has not only has the talent, but also because they are closest to the rest of the brand’s marketing plan (experiential; paid sponsorships; etc.) and have an intimate view of media holistically.
While media agencies can use the platform as well, internal knowledge and transparency were two of the reasons mentioned to use the platform with an in-house team. If you’re owning the execution of a project, of course you are also more intimately aware of what’s happening on day-to-day basis.
These points are valid and I can literally argue both sides of whether or not to run content marketing and digital advertising programs in house or out of house. In reality, for the average brand, the best scenario is probably somewhere in the middle.
Related: A guide to when to hire an agency
Transparency is of course a good reason for decisions in digital marketing. So how do brands actually have in-house teams move the strategies forward?
First, we have to assign budget that we can then use for salaries. As we are planning for our budget year, it is highly important to be realistic of what pay range the right people will actually need to be in.
It certainly is possible to have some entry-level roles in some job functions, but entry-level people are not the perfect fit for all roles. So just something to keep in mind as your team is starting, growing and evolving.
Secondly, we need to be certain about the job skills that we actually need. In addition, be realistic. If you don’t know anyone who can fulfill a certain dream job description, maybe it’s unrealistic.
Third, don’t burden one role with too many unrelated tasks.
Certainly hiring a number of specialists can be a challenge depending on your team’s size. But take a hard look at what functions -like advertising strategist or content marketing strategist- would be best served in house and which additional functions could be outsourced.
So for example, let’s say you have an in-house advertising strategist and a more senior content marketing strategist- you could still outsource some of your content creation through sites like Visually and others.
At the very least, I would recommend a high-level strategist role in house for both advertising and content creation. Advertising is not dead but it also shouldn’t stand on its own. And realistically, an advertising strategist will not also be the one designing ads for the most part. So you still need some creative help there for some campaigns.
Then align this position with your content marketing strategist position so the two can work closely together to ensure your brand is doing the most with a unified advertising and its content marketing strategy.
Sometimes I’ve seen brands do a model like this but the two roles end up being one person – or they end up being project manager roles, which isn’t a great set up either.
On the flipside, I’ve seen brands who brought everything in house but hired relatively junior people. So yes, they save money, but then the quality and ROI wasn’t as good as it would be with more senior people.
One thing that’s hard for in-house team is keeping up on all the changes that agencies are naturally exposed to because they work with so many different clients. That’s an area where the technology providers can also fill-in to an extent. For example:
You’re using the Adobe Advertising Cloud or the ScribbleLive Content Marketing Platform. These companies have a lot of knowledge of what is happening in the digital marketing field and they can educate clients to help their organizations be more strategic and more effective.
Like many things in digital marketing there’s no clear-cut answer for all brands – but it’s something to consider as you are continuing to evolve your digital marketing strategies.