Since bringing its programmatic and social buying in-house in North America, Diageo, the British alcoholic drinks giant, has concluded that the move boosted productivity while delivering more control and returns, according to a senior company executive.

Speaking in an interview with AdExchanger, Jason Acker, director of digital marketing at Diageo North America, said bringing “certain aspects” in-house has “definitely shown a good level of productivity” for the company.

However, while there is a growing trend for international FMCG firms to bring their programmatic operations in-house, he also emphasised that agencies continue to play a vital role.

“A lot of our strategic thinking is still coming out of agencies. We need agencies to understand the ever-changing landscape,” he said. “We need partners that are exposed to the consumer on a daily basis to help us understand where we should be buying media, and so we don’t self-absorb into one channel or another.”

Alongside tapping into agency expertise, Diageo, which has more than 200 brands to manage, also ensures that its in-house team is fully integrated into the marketing team.

According to Isabel Massey, the company’s global digital director of marketing, this approach to integration ensures Diageo gets as close to the consumer as possible.

“How do we make sure digital talent is not sitting in a silo? That’s going to allow us to spot opportunities and do things better,” she asked, while pointing to the importance of investment in digital talent.

Another important investment is building experiences for consumers to help bridge the gap between them and the brand “before, during and after” any engagement.

That is why Diageo is launching more “brand homes” like the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland, which attracted 1.7 million visitors in 2018.

“We’re a very market-driven organisation. That allows us to move faster and go after opportunities closest to the consumer,” she said. “From a global perspective, our role is to identify opportunities where we can scale first and use the size of our business to drive a greater impact.”

Sourced from AdExchanger; additional content by WARC staff