Let’s take a closer look at what digital disciplines are coming back in-house.

Which areas are outsourced?

A survey of relevant senior staff across industries revealed that certain functions, notably those that are more content and analytics-focused, are commonly carried out in-house.

A large majority of respondents tackle email (75%), analytics (73%), social (70%), and content (67%) in-house, with less than 10% wholly outsourcing any these functions.

Of course, though the chart below could represent a general picture of marketing disciplines, there are nuances within industry sectors and company types.

what do you outsource? chart

A long term trend for in-housing email and analytics

The chart below shows the trend for bringing email and analytics in-house over the last four years.

Marketing automation technology in particular is becoming more sophisticated, helping organisations take more direct control over varied email activity.

Further data from the survey reveals that email marketing is often allocated ‘generalist’ resource, indicating it may be learned ‘on the job’ by a number of team members.

Table 1: Email marketing and analytics/data long-term trend (proportion of companies saying they carried out in-house)

  2011 2013 2015
Email marketing 58% 65% 75%
Analytics / Data 65% 71% 73%

The outsourcing maturity model

A model is proposed for the maturity of a company outsourcing work, from an early-stage with little knowledge, to a focus on innovation.

  • Establish: early-stage outsourcing where the client lacks expertise and uses third party agencies to establish capability.
  • Efficiency: as the client gains knowledge and competency, agencies provide resourcing efficiency through technology, scalability or other proprietary resources.
  • Expert: as client competency becomes embedded, agencies provide ongoing expertise to optimise strategy or capability in existing areas. Long-term value through an efficient client relationship.
  • Extend: agencies extend client competency with new capabilities or perhaps helping to bring skills in-house. The focus may shift towards new and emerging technologies.

2015 sees more client teams with specialists

Though no change was seen in the percentage of respondents admitting to employing digital specialists between 2011 and 2013, that changed this year.

65% of respondents said they had specialist digital resource in 2015, with content, social, SEO and PPC notable disciplines of specialism.

Alluded to above, 60% of respondents said their email marketing was carried out by generalists.

These trends are echoed by our research into digital job descriptions, with new roles, skills diversification, structure change and broader functional requirements changing how HR departments recruit into digital.

chart showing number of business with digital specialists

For much more on best practice for organisational structure and resource, members can download our new report.