The True Costs of Implementing In-House Advertising

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There's been a recent trend among many brands of moving their advertising in house, as first reported by the Association of National Advertisers in 2013. Many companies cite faster turnarounds and lower costs as top reasons to make the move. Although the popularity of going in house hasn't yet reversed, an increasing number of brands are realizing the choice isn't always cut and dry, and that bringing advertising in house isn't always as effective and efficient as they initially believed.

As technology continues evolving and the marketing landscape changes, brands' needs and wants shift. Before you decide whether in-house or outsourced advertising is right for you, consider the following potential costs.

Costs of Recruiting Talent

Unless you have qualified team members ready to take the helm, forming an in-house team can cost more than you might think. Recruiting top talent isn't the only issue. Recruiting, onboarding, and training all cost an average of more than $4,000 per hire, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Once you add each member of your in-house team's salary and benefits, you can easily see how the costs start piling up.

The Danger of Tunnel Vision

In-house teams do have an edge on agencies — they know their brand inside and out. But there's a downside to that, too. As a part of a company's culture, your creative team can get swallowed up by it and ultimately lose touch with your customers. Pepsi's 2017 ad featuring Kendall Jenner may well be the most spectacular example of the lack of perspective that can come when relying solely on an in-house marketing team. The tone-deaf message made this ad instantly out of touch with the reality experienced by the very audience it was meant to target, and the backlash was swift.

Lack of Innovation

Not to say that in-house talent can't be innovative, but your team will likely be focused more on developing the core product than on the latest and great digital technologies available. Heavy workloads and potential skills gaps don't help matters. Outsourced teams are used to the fast pace of digital marketing. Not only do they typically notice new algorithms and innovations first, they also have access to better tools and partnerships with digital giants than you may not be able to leverage with your in-house team.

Technology Know-How

Keeping up with the latest tech isn't the only thing you could be sacrificing. The amount of technological proficiency you need from a strong in-house team is substantial. There are so many systems involved in integrating distribution channels and marketing mediums. Your team may know certain aspects well, but still have a blind spot. For example, many brands end up outsourcing their video marketing even if they have an internal team, because of the challenges associated with producing high-quality video.

Ultimately, brands should consider their options carefully before making any decisions. In some cases you might find it makes good sense to bring most of your marketing in house, leaving the door open to outsource as needed for creative competencies you haven't mastered. But for many companies, outsourcing remains a strong go-to for cutting-edge creative talent that understands how to blend ideas with data and technology to best represent your brand.