The research did, however, identify some key patterns for the type of functions that are more typically outsourced and those for which clients are increasingly developing in-house competency.

One shift identified was a key trend toward taking certain functions, notably content related functions including SEO, Analytics and Data and social media, more in-house.

This is supported by findings from the research conducted for the Econsultancy Digital Marketing Structures and Resourcing Best Practice Guide late last year which similarly indicated a shift towards key content-related functions being increasingly in-sourced.

In fact, broader findings from the insourcing/outsourcing research showed that whilst a healthy number (32%) believed that more functions would be outsourced over the next few years, the largest proportion of respondents (45%) anticipated that more would come in-house:

Thinking about the next few years, overall, do you think more digital work will be carried out in-house or outsourced?

Many research participants spoke of the cyclical nature of this dynamic, with functions initially outsourced whilst capability is developed, then taken in-house once this has been achieved, then perhaps outsourced again in order to gain efficiencies or specialist skills.

Yet despite this, the overarching trend seems to be clear – more capability being developed in-house.

So is this the biggest marketing trend that no-ones talks about? One thing is for sure, this is a dynamic that will continue to change.

For more detail on the balance between in-sourcing and outsourcing for key functions and the different criteria that is of most significance to marketers in the decision-making process, you can download the report here.

Econsultancy currently has a range of services available that can help guide organisational change, business restructuring and digital transformation strategy