P4Digital discusses the growth of the in house digital department

The P4Digital Executive team will be discussing the rise of the In House Digital Department this week – and whether or not companies should use them, or continue to outsource their digital work.

Stay tuned.


Amanda: We are P4Digital, and we are all about the digital revolution. Our executive team will be discussing the growth of the in house creative or digital team. Should you hire an agency to do your creative or digital work, or should you bring it in house and hire someone to do it right in your office? P4Digital examines this in this week’s round table discussion. 

James: Today what we’re going to be addressing here at P4Digital is taking a look at an ongoing trend that we’re now seeing in Toronto. What we’re having, is a lot of the Fortune500 companies are coming to use needing highly qualified digital people, and really looking at doing more of the creative and their advertising campaigns in house, versus going out to historically what they would have outsourced to their agencies. Really, we’ve especially seen this with some of the major banks where they’re coming to us with a lot of creative positions, art director positions, digital project management positions, and taking these people on board because it’s very important for them now to be able to execute campaigns at a moment’s notice, and be much, much faster in terms of reaching their client base.

Andrew: Yeah, and one of the reasons that this makes sense is the wealth of information that clients have about their own customers. Everything in Digital works best when it’s based on data, digital and data go really well together. By bringing creative digital positions in house, you can target your creative direction based upon provable facts about the things that your customers enjoy, or cross selling opportunities.

James: So in essence, when people are using an agency often there’s a lag time, where they have an idea of a campaign that they need to execute. They’ll either call in their agency or invite in a few agencies, they’ll have the pitch done from the agencies, then have to select the pitch. The pitch then has to be built, the pitch then has to be approved and then it goes into market. In an era, where everything needs to be done yesterday, what we’re seeing now is brands need to be able to execute faster, so cut out the agency and bring it in house. And that is I think where a lot of these trends come from. I think shore agencies will have a part to play, because sometimes you need to freshen up what you’re doing, you want to look outside for new ideas about campaigns and strategically they’ll probably have a role, but on the shorter, quicker, tactical day to day stuff you’re going to need that in house expertise to move quickly. What we’ve seen in the world, is a lot of companies that haven’t responded to these digital changes, media being a classic example with the newspapers, they’ve died quickly. Really, for businesses to survive, they need to be getting these qualified digital experts into their organizations that have the skill sets to take a look at the market  and say ‘this is where we need to be and this is how we’re going to go there quickly.

Ashley: By bringing in these digital people in house, do you think there’s any cost savings by doing this?

Harnoor: My honest opinion, I think there is a benefit to bringing in all of your digital activities in house. Just to give an example, if you’re paying 15% to another agency to kind of take care of your digital work, through bringing it in house  although you’re still paying out something to the person who’s responsible for taking care of that work, you’re still saving money that you can put in addition to the budget that you already have.

Ashley: And also going back to what James just said, the people that they’re bringing in can handle the day to day duties and get things done at a quicker rate. You may still want to involve marketing agencies to get new fresh ideas still and that’s why you’ll pay a pretty penny, but as for a quick, easy, fast turnaround on just day to day analytics, it would probably save a lot more money.

James: On top of the cost saving I think the biggest motivational factor is really the growth in revenue. How can we execute any email marketing campaign quickly on this piece of breaking news in social media that’s going to give us a quick hit in revenue? And I think that’s kind of the dilemma that when you’ve got your chief digital officer, or your executive vice president of digital, when they’re looking at their team and how quickly they respond I think that’s why having some in house capabilities works, because you really need to be able to move on the latest trends and with everything in the world, in terms of information, so quickly available they’ve got to respond to that information, whether it’s business information or for example the Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s important that they can react in that timely faction and have their brand associate with that latest trend, and as I said capitalize on any potential revenues or cross sell opportunities.

Harnoor: In my honest opinion, especially for the type of work that’s going to be seen all over the world wide web, I don’t think there’s any better way than bringing it in house, because who knows your customer better than the people that actually work for that organize itself? You work for the organization itself, whoever it may be, you can better transmit the message of what you guys stand for and who you are.

Ashley: Is there a trend that we’re seeing of companies that are bringing their digital team, is there a trend of what industry they come from because personally, my clients that have a loyalty program or work in the loyalty industry, they’ve been quick or almost innovators in this space.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s a good point. Not just loyalty, but you see it with retail and their omni-channels, you see it with the banks and their digital channels. I think that the tying together theme is size and any sort of institution that’s progressed from mid-to-large is now a prime candidate to bring an in house digital agency on board. Which also, you see a lot of traditional work is still going to be passed out to the respected creative agencies but, specifically when we’re talking about digital work and digital in house agencies, it just makes sense from a velocity, security, data and information stand point to do it all yourself.

James: And just talking to Andrew’s point, the other benefit of bringing it in house really, is that organizations need to start taking control of what they are doing with their brand. Historically when companies have sat back, whether they have been banks or ecommerce, they’ve really put this type of work in the control of the likes of businesses like Google, Amazon, eBay and those new digital behemoths. And really, all that’s doing is eating into their bottom lines at the expense of the growths of those firms. And I think with Alibaba recently floating, that’s been another pardon the pun, kick up the ass to companies to take a closer look at this.

Amanda: That was the P4Digital executive team discussing the growth of the in house digital and creative department. Want to know more? Check out our website at http://www.planet4it.com Thanks and see you next time. 


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