There's a new trend that's seeing brands and marketers in this region seriously considering building in-house marketing capabilities rather than outsource. This is a key decision faced by brands – and finding the right balance – or making the right "smart sourcing" decision is key.
The digital marketplace is shifting, and increasingly, at least here in the Middle East, top marketing talent is becoming hard to find. Advertising and marketing agencies find it difficult to source talent that can help their clients' marketing functions, because the days of the 'all-round' marketer is long gone. Specializations have led to complexity. And while, within agencies and agency groups, there is a possession struggle as to who should be doing what, client-side marketers are opting for certain functions to be brought in house.
Most of these functions are "owned media" related – meaning, when it comes to some areas of content and brand driven PR, many marketers are bringing functions in. These can be in the areas of social media – every day content management being a key area. Other functions are SEO, Data and Analytics. Large brands are finding this an easy way to balance their spends, and also finding it relevant to bring these every day, Always-On functions home.
In a research done by eConsultancy, figures indicate that around 45% of respondents feel that more functions would come in-house than be farmed out to agencies and specialist consultants. P&G is is leading the social newsroom concept driven by P&G boss Marc Pritchard, who believes that brand/agency teams today need to be more reactive and have a "newsroom mentality", to capitalize on the opportunities in today's digitally-enabled world. This is mostly an in-house act. You really can't newsroom out of an agency located somewhere else when the action is happening within the house.
We're not sure how this dynamic will affect this region, or when it might just quickly change, but for now, brands are becoming self reliant on some specialized marketing functions – and the success of this strategy really depends on the functions. Unless you are a huge brand with huge advertising bills to pay, you wouldn't really jump out and hire a creative director. That's your agency remit. But surely, when it comes to stand-alone analytics or social, you could find a balance.