Building a strong online presence for your business is no longer a bonus, it’s a necessity. The Covid-19 pandemic has confirmed the importance of digital transformation, with businesses looking to fortify their digital marketing strategies and become fit for the future. The consumer landscape is dynamic. As demand rises and falls, expectations shift and buying behaviours change, one thing remains constant: We all spend time online. Businesses need to be smart and reactive with an omni-channel presence.
The Importance of Digital
Enabling businesses to connect with their customers through multiple digital touch points, omni-channel marketing promises a wide reach, from email to social media, mobile apps and website blogs. Businesses are becoming more reliant on digital to form an all-encompassing digital strategy and thrive in an increasingly competitive market. And of course, more reliant means spending more money – most businesses will invest between 51 – 71% of their overall marketing spend on digital marketing.
The Agency Model
Currently, 50% of businesses employ a marketing agency to assist with their digital marketing. Working with internal sales teams and marketing managers as an experienced digital partner, agencies have proved successful in providing up to date knowledge. Where in-house teams stray from the latest best practices with outdated knowledge and tools, digital marketing agencies allow businesses to directly tap into expert opinions and a fresh, focused perspective.
One third of businesses who don’t already outsource their digital marketing plan to do so within the next 12 months – but are agencies really the way forward? Sales and marketing managers typically outsource essential digital activity like search engine optimisation, paid advertising and social media to a number of different agencies. The priority is saving time and increasing profit, but working with an agency can end up costing both.
In reality, marketing managers spend less time on business strategy and growth, and more time liaising with agencies, agreeing KPIs and business objectives. Not only this, but achieving a low cost per acquisition (CPA) and a high return on investment (ROI) becomes more challenging, as the business must factor in agency fees into their marketing spend. With retainer fees becoming more expensive, charging high day rates for low skilled work and prioritising the clients who shout the loudest, the agency model has started to represent poor value for money, coupled with a lack of transparency and understanding between agencies and their clients.
The Benefits of In-housing
The future of digital marketing is travelling away from agencies and towards in-housing, and it’s easy to understand why. In-house marketing not only offers greater transparency, overcoming communication barriers and the notorious challenges of the reporting process, but is also more cost effective. For 38% of businesses, saving on eye watering agency retainer fees and building expertise within their business is the most valuable benefit of in-housing. By cutting out the middleman, a well-rounded in-house team gives businesses direct control over their brand image and messaging. Rather than corresponding with an agency, in-house teams can be “moment marketers,” reacting to changes in marketing conditions with greater agility and pace.
The Reality of In-housing
Although 90% of brands feel confident in their decision to move in-house, the in-housing process has multiple hurdles. The challenge to fill gaps in existing digital marketing knowledge is often greater than anticipated, with 26% of marketers citing a lack of support as a barrier to in-housing. Identifying what software to invest in, what tools to use and gaining buy in from senior management can present just as much of a challenge as building a skilled team and avoiding the typical in-house traps of losing touch with best practices.
An honest and frank discussion with our clients revealed that “growing in-house skill” is extremely desirable, but feels overwhelming and challenging to address. Clients feel an urgent need to be agile and reactive to market and consumer demands, but are too reliant on buying in niche expertise to further their competitive advantage.
Where House Digital bridges the gap
House Digital bridges the gap between the outdated agency model and the future of in-house marketing. Instead of delivering outsourced services, House Digital works alongside your internal team to train, motivate and inspire. By building the skill set of your existing resource, or recruiting, training and placing new digital talent, the House Digital team provides comprehensive support to help businesses build their own in-house infrastructure.
Unlike the agencies of the past, House Digital works within your business, aligning with your values, forming a bond with your team and becoming invested in your business goals and objectives. They do more than just lay the foundations for your in-house team, going above and beyond to share their digital marketing expertise and upskill your in-house resources.
By striking the perfect balance between the autonomy of in-housing and the expertise of digital marketing agencies, House Digital supports clients through every step of their digital transformation, helping them to move away from monthly retainer fees, achieve a healthier return on investment, and stand on their own two feet as a thriving digital first business!