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CMOs Make High-Stakes Choices in Bringing Work In-House

By Anna Maria Virzi | October 07, 2021 | 0 Comments

MarketingMarketing Leadership and StrategyMarketing Operations

CMOs estimated 29% of work previously handled by agencies had moved in-house over the prior 12-month period, according to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2021. That was about the same amount reported by survey respondents in 2020.

But the shift in 2021 involves far higher stakes for CMOs than in 2020. Here’s why: In 2021, high-cost strategic initiatives were being brought in-house.

Topping the list of capabilities brought in-house either partially or fully were:

• Brand strategy
• Innovation and technology
• Marketing strategy development

In constrast, the top capabilities brought in-house the prior year involved tactical and technical capabilities.

Topping the list in 2020 were:

• Social marketing
• Creative production / content marketing
• Video / podcast / photography studio production (A/V)

Moving strategic capabilities in-house means CMOs must recruit and retain talent to advance brand strategy, innovation and overall strategy development. Experience and skills for these capabilities require creativity, vision and a tolerance for ambiguity in light of the past year’s business disruptions. CMOs must also ensure their teams can adapt to the roles and responsibilities that accompany these new priorities. And all the while, marketing operational excellence must be pursued.

My colleague, Sally Witzky, points out that bringing work in-house, including building an in-house agency, isn’t just a cost reduction exercise. Goals include improving effectiveness, responsiveness, speed-to-market, brand safety, strategic alignment and more. Gartner clients interested in learning more can access the two-part series: Making the Case for Your In-House Agency, Part 1: Strategy and Benefits and Making the Case for Your In-House Agency, Part 2: Cost Strategy and Budget.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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