Having successfully in-housed its own media buying and planning, Lastminute.com has launched a consultancy arm – Playbook – to help other brands do the same.
In an industry where businesses are increasingly bulking up their internal arsenal, Playbook will guide brands through the complex process of internalising core marketing capabilities, including media planning, tech, data and content creation.
Although it's being pitched as a consultancy, it’s not run by consultants, instead, it will be led by the same team behind Travel People; Lastminute.com's own in-house media and trading arm.
Playbook and Travel People will both be led out of a new media business within Lastminute.com called Forward. Alessandra Di Lorenzo, Lastminute's chief commercial officer, will head up this new company as chief executive.
Playbook is already working with several unnamed travel and FMCG clients.
Lastminute.com has been bulking up the services it offers to brands since it launched Travel People 2016, scaling up its programmatic capabilities and finding new sources of revenue by letting other advertisers plug into its adtech stack.
Since last year, it has been giving advertisers the option to build their own microsites propped up by Lastminute.com technology.
Steered by Di Lorenzo, as a way to protect the travel platform's revenues against the threat of the digital giants like Google and Facebook, Travel People has helped Lastminute.com up its annual media revenues by 40% in three years.
As a brand, Lastminute.com started in-housing its own media in 2016, after pausing its relationship with former planning and buying agency Manning Gottlieb OMD. Although Publicis still handles its above-the-line work, it runs its own media desk.
Di Lorenzo explained how having gone through this process itself, Lastminute.com has "experienced the challenges, solved the problems, spotted the opportunities and honed the process," of setting up shop in-house.
"We realised that we are perfectly placed to de-risk the process for other businesses, and to help move other brands forward by making their marketing activity more efficient, intelligent and relevant," she added.
“2019 and beyond looks set to be a tough year for marketers. In-housing proven and repeatable marketing activities is a no-brainer for companies wanting to empower their teams to drive powerful and tangible achievements, faster. But – understandably – many don’t know where to start. That’s where Playbook comes in.”
Playbook will work closely with businesses to help them identify opportunities and successfully build the necessary confidence to in-house core marketing capabilities.
This includes deciding what technology providers to work with and how, building an in-house content function, monetising and making better use of data or upskilling internal teams.
The launch from Lastminute.com follows on from a recent ID Comms report that revealed finding talent to bolster in-house media capabilities was cited as one of the top concerns among marketers in 2018.