Programmatic and the pitfalls of managing in-house | DMA

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Programmatic and the pitfalls of managing in-house


Since its inception, programmatic advertising has been an industry game changer. With more people than ever surfing the web, programmatic offers a ruthlessly efficient way to engage with new consumers or retarget those who have previously expressed interest.

However, as with any other marketing channel, programmatic raises the age-old question that plagues marketing teams across the country: do we keep things in-house or partner with a digital agency to deliver our campaigns?

Sure, there are advantages to keeping your programmatic activity in-house. After all, you may argue that no-one knows your brand better than yourself. But successful programmatic campaigns are not just dependent on knowing your brand; it’s just as important to have a deep understanding of the wider digital landscape.

So, what can an agency give you that an in-house team may find difficult to achieve?

Recruiting the right people:

Finding individuals who are trained and experienced in programmatic marketing is not easy. It’s a highly sought-after skillset that takes a lot of complex training and, once you find the right people, you must make sure they are happy, appreciated and paid enough! They also need to be managed effectively and trained constantly, so having a well-planned development programme is an absolute must. As is access to conferences, seminars and external training courses.

In contrast, agencies already have entire teams devoted to the development and management of programmatic marketing strategies. Therefore, by partnering with an agency, you will gain immediate access to a range of dedicated professionals that all specialise in different areas and occupy different levels of expertise. This amounts to a wealth of programmatic knowledge that is difficult for in-house teams to compete with.

Likewise, successful programmatic advertising doesn’t just come from knowing the technical side of things; a creative mind-set is also needed to deliver ads that are inspiring and engaging. Because agencies often have specialist creative teams, it is easier for them to combine their expertise to develop ads that are not just highly targeted but also eye-catching and bold.

Keeping up-to-date with the latest developments:

Programmatic is one of the most rapidly changing channels in the industry. With new updates and innovations happening almost every week, staying ahead of the curve takes some serious time, energy and resource. Unlike search, which is dominated by only one or two key players, the programmatic eco-system straddles multiple types of media and suppliers, requiring specialist technologies and staff who can manage them.

For your in-house team to keep up with this fast-paced channel, they must dedicate a large part of their role to following emerging developments, which can be an unwanted distraction when trying to deliver complex marketing strategies.

In contrast, by working with multiple suppliers across multiple markets, marketing agencies have an abundance of resource that allow them to respond to change quickly and effectively. Thanks to the sheer size and scale of the programmatic work they do, they also have more leverage to negotiate the best deals for their clients.

Unsurpassed experience:
It’s unrealistic to expect to be one of the leading experts in programmatic as soon as you go in-house. Understanding programmatic takes years of sector experience, best practice learning and trial and error.

By working with a wide range of clients across multiple different sectors, an agency can quickly deploy expertise and insight gained from other campaigns to help steer your strategy in the right direction. From this unique position, agencies are also much more likely to spot emerging trends, challenges and opportunities.

All your data in one convenient place:
In business, streamlining is key. Whilst it might seem like adding an agency to your roster makes things more complicated, it could actually make your day-to-day business processes more organised and more efficient. For instance, rather than trying to interpret incoming data across multiple marketing touchpoints, agencies can provide expert analysts who are specifically trained to collate and analyse data, transforming it into meaningful and actionable insights.

A more balanced outlook:
When you’re passionate about your brand, it can be easy to get lost in enthusiasm and lose sight of whether a campaign is effective. By collaborating with people outside of your business, you automatically receive some much-needed external perspective on what is and isn’t working.

And every campaign could use a new perspective, or a fresh take on an old strategy - this is crucial if you want them to hit the right note. Unbiased feedback is important to ensuring that your customers love your brand activity just as much as you loved developing it. In short, if you want it to be truly successful, you need opinions other than your own.

What is the answer?
We hear it all the time. Clients are nervous to start a conversation with a marketing agency because they think it’s the beginning of the end of their in-house team. At Accord, we feel the exact opposite should be the case. Hiring an ad agency doesn’t have to threaten your in-house team and we certainly don’t want or expect it to. Indeed, one of the most valuable services a marketing agency can provide is to deliver much-needed focus and support to an in-house team that is often overworked and would find real value in working with an agency on strategy, planning, tracking and attribution.

Your investment in digital marketing is important, so if you would like to know more about Accord and our ever-evolving portfolio of services, please get in touch.

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