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Industry Contributor 30 Mar 2021 - 2 min read

Why the digital marketing pendulum is swinging back to insourcing

By John Vlasakakis, Head of organic search - Next & Co

Hybrid digital marketing models are rising in popularity, but what happens next? If your digital marketing manager resigns, who is going to replace them? 

What you need to know

  • Small and medium-sized companies can't afford to have a large in-house team required to execute their marketing effectively.
  • In-house resources are no longer saving time or money. 
  • Outsourcing digital marketing is likely a bigger trend than in-housing digital agencies.

There's endless debate about in-housing and hybrid models, but what we see currently is the pendulum swing back in the other direction, in favour of outsourcing. Recently we were asked by an online retailer to replace their outgoing digital marketing manager, taking all tasks into our agency. Going through this process and seeing first hand the significant time and cost savings, we now see outsourcing digital marketing as a bigger trend than in-housing digital agencies. 

When those kinds of employees leave, brands lose the neck between the head of marketing and the body of execution. Resulting in lost knowledge, lost speed, and significant hiring difficulties, not knowing what they're looking for and using valuable time in the process. 

Hybrid model in action

Whether it's small businesses that can't afford to retain a large in-house marketing team or large businesses looking at smarter ways to operate, more companies are leaning toward outsourcing tasks to agencies. This is considered a hybrid model or in-sourcing. 

Through the hybrid model, companies can focus on internal high-value tasks, such as strategy, while the agency focusses on the media and creative strategy. The two work as a team, but the business only needs to worry about one person's salary and upskilling. 

So what happens if that one person leaves? 

In cases where people are looking to keep that resource in-house, the best people to help them hire that resource are their agency. Many agencies gladly offer this help to clients as it helps keep the relationship and digital marketing tasks running smoothly. 

Alternatively, the pendulum swings all the way back, as we are finding more frequently.

Outsourcing the lot

Off the back of a strong relationship in which we were in-sourced to the brand, we were notified that their digital marketing manager was resigning. Rather than looking for a replacement for the role, they wanted our agency to absorb the digital marketing manager's tasks for at least the next 12 months, giving them a chance to look to cut costs internally without paying the price in terms of growth and market presence.

So far, it's on track to save them roughly $20,000 a year, and we haven't finished optimising. But more than the cost saving, the structure of such an arrangement means that we are incentivised to introduce optimisations that deliver against their own growth targets. So everybody wins.

Whether the future is outsourced or hybrid, there is an undeniable case to engage your agency in talks of what should come next. 


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John Vlasakakis, Head of organic search

Next & Co

Market Voice

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