Time to bust the myths around in-house programmatic

Some brands have begun to take more ownership of their data and understand their consumers’ journeys. However, arguably media agencies still have a better view of the overall media landscape.

Ahead of The Drum’s Programmatic Punch New York, Mario Schiappacasse, head of programmatic media, Jellyfish discusses in-housing misconceptions, the biggest challenges and whether or not brands should take programmatic in-house.

Nearly 40% of advertisers execute in-house programmatic, according to IAB. What is happening in our industry?

The movement towards in-housing has stemmed from the increasing gap in what digital transformation is enabling and what the conventional agency model allows brands to capture. This is resulting in brands seeking new ways to capitalize on the advantages of the accessibility, data, and control that programmatic has unlocked over the last decade.

With 40% of advertisers claiming to have their programmatic in-house, it’s clear that they are each finding unique ways to help their organization become more effective through reduced dependency on external resources. In our experience, this tends to be a sliding scale as brands increase in digital maturity. Some are executing fully, some have taken control of decision making power, and others are simply demanding more transparency in their relationships and financials. The same way that many businesses need to balance internal stakeholders and outside experts in areas such as legal, finance, IT, etc is showing parallels now with digital marketing functions, with shared functions across the brand and partner ecosystem.

What are the reasons why more and more brands in 2018 are taking programmatic into their own hands?

The primary theme motivating brands is frustration with the traditional agency and vendor models that have been commonplace in our industry. If we look a layer deeper, that theme tends to be fueled by three core perceptions - lack of control/transparency, the ownership of contracts and data, and financial advantages.

What are the biggest misconceptions about in-housing?

That it’s a binary decision. Less sophisticated brands tend to get too hung up on that it’s an all or nothing play, this daunting fork in the road with only two options. My advice to a better approach - highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing effectiveness, costs, and control, then consult with a partner with experience helping marketers evolve their approach. The fact remains that large agencies will want you to stay, large consultants will want you to run, but there are very few players that can help navigate the space in the middle with an unbiased and advisory role.

What are the biggest challenges when it comes to in-housing?

I believe that talent is the largest hurdle. This doesn’t mean just hiring. This involves attracting, selecting, developing, and retaining talented individuals who can help transform your marketing approach. This also means a massive increase in the amount of knowledge that your organization will have to consume and socialize within the business. Bolting together a team of people with experience in a few areas of digital marketing does not mean you will have the thriving, innovative, and agile group that can execute on complex initiatives in a complex space. We commonly focus on this area with our clients, assisting in the development process through a combination of classroom-style training, co-location (on-site) team support, and providing the tools and resources for ongoing learning and governance.

Is in-house programmatic the right choice for every brand?

No, not outright, but demanding the right level of insight and influence over all aspects of your business must be the focus. Beyond this, it’s a matter of supplementing your internal efforts in the right areas with trusted and transparent partners who can amplify your results through applying their expertise and operational capabilities.

Schiappacasse will appear on the In-house Leaders panel at Programmatic Punch, a full day event serving insight and practical advice on the latest developments in programmatic trading. Tickets can be purchased for the event at Ogilvy and Mather, New York on June 6.