Your brand might be thinking about internalizing some aspects of media management for a variety of reasons. Maybe you want to take more control of your customer data? Or perhaps you want more transparency into media activation? And there’s a good chance you also want to reduce costs.

These are all valid goals, and your agency partners should be there to support you in achieving them. Whatever portion of your operation you want to internalize, there will always be a role for agencies to play in supporting you with complementary services, technologies and teams, as well as offsetting any pain points you encounter along the way. You can learn more about how this hybrid approach to media operations might work in our recent post.

When brands set off along the path to internal media management, most of them quickly encounter operational obstacles, and almost all discover the investment in capital and resources is far greater than they expect. From hiring teams to integrating systems, internalizing media is a big undertaking. Timelines are inevitably pushed out and budgets have to increase.

For these reasons it’s vital to level set expectations before you begin the journey of internalizing media management. And we’re here to assist you with that.

Matterkind’s Advisory Services team is well positioned to work with brands that are considering internalizing media management. We can help you understand what you really want to achieve, what is possible and what it will take to get there. We take a holistic approach to evaluate where you are currently and where the gaps are, so we can recommend a path forward. This helps you to be realistic about resource, time, and budget requirements, and prevents your brand biting off more than it can chew.

Level setting expectations is a two-part process:

Stage 1: Getting everyone on the same page

The first, and arguably most important step in setting expectations is making sure everyone across the organization agrees on what they want to achieve.

Most brands with the resources to consider internalizing media will be large organizations with many different lines of business, each with its own operating principles. It’s likely each team will work to its own KPIs, whether that’s pushing brand metrics, generating leads, or driving sales, so creating a single in-house team to support all of these is challenging to say the least.

Resolving internal conflict is a key part of this initial phase. There are likely to be some teams or individuals that are committed to the idea of internalizing media, while others aren’t convinced of the benefits. Some may doubt the brand’s capacity to support the shift from a financial or operational viewpoint. It’s very rare to find a brand where every team is in total agreement on how they want to manage media internally.

To make sure everyone is on the same page at this critical, early stage, Matterkind performs an audit known as the Maturity Canvas. This combines stakeholder interviews and in-depth questionnaires across multiple functions to find out what different teams are looking for. From the results of this audit we’ll put together a mission statement, around which everyone can be mobilized. This mission statement is continually refined until your entire organization is in agreement about what it is working towards.

Stage 2: Auditing the tech and the team

Once the entire organization is aligned around a mission statement, the next phase is to explore what advertising and marketing technology the brand already has internally and determine what else is needed to support the plan.

In addition to looking at which platforms are present, this also means determining whether systems are already integrated or whether they are managed in silos. It includes checking whether the brand has relationships with multiple inventory suppliers with different specialties. It involves looking at how business intelligence is managed, how data flows across the brand’s systems, who has access to that data, and how it is being modeled. And it means finding out whether the brand has capabilities around optimization, consent management, brand safety, verification, and audience value analysis, to name but a few.

This evaluation is designed to reveal any gaps in your brand’s tech stack, determine what additional tools or platforms are needed, and explore how best to deploy them.

Alongside the technology audit, we can also help brands with a people assessment to understand whether they have internal talent capable of carrying out their media management plans. If so, we can help integrate these teams and ensure they are rowing in the same direction, rather than competing against one another to meet the goals of different marketing departments.

If internal talent does not exist we can help brands determine what an operating structure might look like, and the new roles they might need. This could include ad ops and campaign managers and strategists, as well as data scientists and analysts.

Hiring the team required to internalize media management can have a big impact on the organization, which isn’t always obvious at the outset. We can support by creating job descriptions and helping with the recruitment process. We can also deliver custom training and seminars, both for new and existing team members.

Working towards a hybrid approach

The two stages outlined above are vital to help you understand what internalizing media management really means to your brand and what is involved in achieving it. It also reveals ‘in-housing’ is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

With a better understanding of what they want, the vast majority of brands opt for a hybrid approach to media management rather than trying to build an entire internal operation. The ideal model varies greatly depending on your brand’s goals, resources and capabilities. But overall the hybrid approach enables you to focus on the things that really matter to you, while still enjoying complementary support from your agency partners in the form of managed services, technology platforms and experienced people.

By level-setting expectations, we can make internal media management work to meet your brand’s goals, while still maintaining valuable agency-client relationships.