The requirements for brands looking to build the new in-house marketer

The requirements for brands looking to build the new in-house marketer Steven Wakeling is global business director at Playbook – the new in-housing consultancy set up by’s media company, Forward.

As the marketing game changes, so must the players. Under growing pressure to effectively navigate an increasingly complex operating landscape – while doing more, with less – many brands, big and small, are considering if in-housing could be the solution to restoring the control, confidence and cost efficiency they so sorely need for the future.

However, in-sourcing the marketing function is not that simple. With no set model for in-housing – and every brand requiring a unique solution – those brands that do want to create their own in-house team are building the future of marketing for their business.

To do that they need to start by building the right talent and culture – brands need to change their approach to recruitment if they’re to assemble the talent they need for a successful in-house marketing team.

A new blend of skills

Many brands lack the knowledge and ability to effectively interpret data, turn this into actionable marketing insight and make business-critical decisions, and this lack of internal talent can hold many brands back. For instance, according to Dentsu Aegis’s latest CMO report, 43% of CMOs rank lack of internal talent as one of their top three internal challenges when it comes to delivering their marketing strategy, and 49% say they don’t yet have the capabilities in place to maximise the value of their customer data

The desire to plug this gap is a key reason to in-house. But finding the talent to do this, and finding it fast enough, is a real challenge.

Why? Because it relies on finding talent that can be technical, creative, analytical and strategic all at the same time – indeed Denstu Aegis also found that nearly 70% of CMOs believe that extracting insight from data requires skills such as social sciences and psychology.

But recruiting talent with this new blend of skills requires a shift in mindset – and it’s up to marketers to think outside of the box in order to identify, nurture and develop this talent.

Hire for attitude first

It may sound surprising to hear that knowledge isn’t important. Or at least, it’s not as important as people think. The right attitude is vital – and that’s where to start, as it’s the part that’s hardest to learn. Skills and knowledge can be developed later.

When it comes to building their in-house team, brands shouldn’t be afraid to look inside the business first. By investing in and upskilling the brightest people from within the organisation, brands can harness their employees’ knowledge of the business and passion for the brand which is central to in-house success – and which takes longer for new hires to acquire.

We actually did this ourselves at when we were building our programmatic and audience targeting capabilities. When we needed an Audience Manager to operate our DMP, we decided to start our search for talent within the business – and ended up recruiting and upskilling one of our AdOperations execs. We knew she had a great attitude and an aptitude for technology. Now, thanks to a bit of training and experience with the DMP, she is an expert audience manager.

Of course, hiring internally is not always an option. So, when looking outside of the business for marketers to make up your in-house team, prepare to be open-minded and prioritise attitude and transferable skills over fixed-criteria on a job spec.

Brands at the marketing frontier

Working brand-side was historically considered to be the easy option. But that’s changing now. Brands are becoming more agile, creative and pioneering, and people are increasingly enticed to make the move from agencies to brands, where they can be part of the bigger picture and ultimately see the fruits of their labour.

For this reason, businesses need to work hard to find and develop the talent that will form their in-house team – and then keep that talent by setting up the processes and environments in which these teams can thrive. And junior marketers should consider how to best show off the breadth of their skills and intrepid attitude when looking to join an in-house team.

With the right people and skills in place, brands get a renewed confidence in their ability to drive ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) and stay one step ahead of their competition in an ever-changing world.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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