As our marketplaces continue to evolve and the tech wave gets more fragmented (and complicated), the debates over whether clients should “in-house or outsource” their marketing efforts are heating up. Today, we want to offer some insight into why the topic of outsourcing your in-house marketing efforts is being talked about more frequently and provide guidance in your quest to create and manage your marketing efforts in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Are we biased? Of course! We do this for a living. Are we right? Read on and you decide.
In recent conversations with DMOs and industry leaders, we have encountered a common theme: managing marketing in-house is becoming ever more challenging. This is the case for many industries, and there are two primary reasons. First, advances in marketing technology in recent years have been exponential and often too overwhelming for an in-house marketing manager or even a small in-house marketing team to master on their own. The second is actually even more of a challenge for DMOs than most industries—the difficulty of recruiting and retaining young professionals that are native to this technology and contribute so much value to our organizations based on their opinions and perspectives.
Let’s start with the challenge of recruiting and retaining talent. In a recent discussion with a destination management industry veteran, we felt the following statement really summed up a significant challenge faced by DMOs:
“Based on a lack of perceived quality of life and peer relationship opportunities, many young professionals (YPs) don’t want to relocate if a destination is too small. On the flip side, today’s YPs feel that they cannot afford to relocate if the destination is large or a popular leisure destination due to the high cost of living.”
Couple that with the increasingly difficult task of finding effective in-house marketing professionals who already understand how to market DMOs and the shortening time horizons for each stop along YPs’ career journeys (the length of which previously allowed and justified industry-specific training). The result is glaring for DMOs. And unfortunately, we don’t see this getting any easier.
So how do agencies succeed at recruiting and retaining YPs when DMOs and other in-house marketing departments often struggle? Research says it’s because younger marketers and creatives crave the variety that comes when working in a setting that offers different work experiences when working for several different clients. We are finding that the best and brightest gravitate to stimulation that is inherently varied and where there is more opportunity for upward mobility within the same organization. Fortunately for agencies, we offer both of these important elements as well as office locations in a variety of cities that appeal to young professionals.
When it comes to the challenge of keeping up with something that is complicated, it has been said that two heads are better than one. But when it comes to keeping up with today’s myriad of rapidly evolving marketing strategies and media options, 5 to 7 heads thinking about and working on your account (and on accounts with similar challenges) on an ongoing basis is even better. It allows for more specialization within marketing disciplines and results in a more well-rounded marketing team. And, since we all know that continuity is also critical to the long-term success of all marketing teams, the depth of a 5 to 7 person team creates built-in marketing service provider continuity for clients.
These two factors are leading many DMOs to partner in more varied ways with agencies and other specialized marketing services providers. In some cases, serving as a DMO’s agency of record, providing very high-level, more typical agency services. In other cases, merging this high-level contribution with what would have typically been considered the duties of an in-house marketing department—and occasionally, in some hybrid marketing services provider capacity. But, no matter how we work with DMOs, in every case we provide a consistent team of destination experts at our client’s disposal with the potential to work (and in some cases even train and retrain our client’s in-house staff) in virtually every capacity as needed.
“Stamp is our agency but more importantly Stamp IS our in-house marketing department. We realized a few years ago that we could not create and manage effective marketing campaigns on our own anymore and with technology, the Stamp team operates as an extension of our team.”Rashelle Beasley, Director, Albany CVB
Thank you as always for reading, and we would love your thoughts on this topic! We encourage you to send feedback to David@stampideas.com