To insource, outsource or a bit of both? | DMA

Filter By

Show All

Connect to


To insource, outsource or a bit of both?


The DMA Social Media Council provides advice for brands to solve their biggest customer engagement dilemma.

As big brands such as Burger King, Unilever and P&G move to customer engagement they add weight to the space already created by the direct marketing community. Each business seeks to build mutually valuable connections between themselves and individuals, that are reactive, interactive, online and offline. The goal; to Increase their brand value, but also to create an emotional, valuable long-term relationship beyond the transactional.

At the same time, there is an increasing march towards insourcing marketing, and in particular, social media marketing services. The recent Global Digital Outlook Report (SoDA and Forrester May 2017) shows marketers confident about the internal skills and social media services. Almost 50% report bringing them in-house and more plan to do so in the next year. The Harvard Business Review (HBR) analysed why? Amongst several reasons, including lack of speed and agility, 2 killer ones stand out:

1. Brands no longer want to outsource customer relationships. “As the primary focus of marketing finally shifts from mass broadcasting to discrete customer relationships, is that something you really want to send to an outside company? Do you want somebody else to own critical relationships?”

2. Brands want to own the data. “Marketing activities today generate unprecedented amounts of data, do you want someone else in control?”

But it’s not an easy decision to make. Investment, skills, processes, talent, and commitment are all needed to make the in-house transition, and there are some high profile cases of global brand getting it wrong. How do you know whether to bring the work in wholesale, leave with agencies, or adopt a halfway-house? Even bringing work in-house has multiple options, with businesses such as Oliver Marketing offering out-sourced creative and strategy inside the client environment.

The DMA Social Media Council decided to look at the killer questions you should ask when deciding how to deliver your social media services.

Over the next few weeks the Council will publish insights and advice on making the right resourcing decisions about social media. Every business will make a personal decision – one that works for your audience expectations, staff, budget, and ambitions. But, we will give you the questions to consider to help make sure it is the right decision.

Follow us on @DMA and #dmasocial, #marketing, #cx to gain the tips, information and insights you need to deliver the best social media services for your brand. Covering the 3Cs of social to ensure you make the right decisions for your business, whether that be B2B or B2C:

  • Customer service
  • Content
  • Community

Be confident about the data you own, take control of your individualised customer relationships, and manage your skills and resources as effectively as possible.

And start to make an informed decision on how to manage your social media activity – Do you Stay or Go?

The first blog in the series is on Social Media and Customer Service by Hannah Bland, Aviva Investors.

by Julie Atherton

Chair of the DMA Social Media Council and Managing Director of Small Wonder


  1. To insource, outsource or a bit of both?
  2. Should you manage customer service through social media in-house, externally or through a combination of both?
  3. Can an agency ever really GET my brand as well as me?
  4. Insourcing or outsourcing social media customer services: Do you have the legal expertise to keep it in-house?
  5. Should you outsource the evaluation of your paid social content?
  6. Should a brand keep content production in house, outsource or hybrid the model for optimised customer engagement?
  7. What skills are needed to create valuable content for your brand?
  8. In-house or outsource: How does a brand decide the best way to grow its community with paid media?
  9. Social Media Community Management - Outsource to Agency or keep in-house?
Hear more from the DMA

Please login to comment.