Bayer, the pharma company, is in the process of in-housing its digital media buying, and thus has useful tips for other marketers that are thinking about pursuing this approach.

Josh Palau, VP of digital strategy and platforms at Bayer, discussed this subject at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) 2019 NexGen Marketing Summit.

Assessing the volume of programmatic activity, he reported, is an essential step before in-housing efforts begin, to ensure an internal team would “be able to manage this” workload in practice. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Bayer’s in-house programmatic benefits: 10x the reach and $10 million in savings.)

Developing a roadmap for team-building and expanding headcount is also essential, as the duties and responsibilities for in-house teams are likely to grow over time.

“We are pretty much at capacity. I’ve told my boss, ‘You have to stop giving us stuff. There’s literally things you want us to work on we can’t work on, unless you give me more heads’,” Palau said.

“I should have anticipated that our performance would have continued to train the way it was – and it would mean more work.”

Another request Palau wishes he had made at the outset: “I need dedicated finance, accounts payable, [and] procurement people. They won’t understand all of what we’re doing.

“But you need to give me these people [and] need to tell them, ‘Hey, whatever he wants to do, even though he’s breaking rules, just do it’.”

Working with legal teams is especially important in navigating the early stages of in-housing – and, in many corporations, will require a significant shift in thinking and approach.

“We got 36 contracts pushed through Bayer legal from October 15th to the end of the year, said Palau, “because we said, ‘Hey, if you don’t do this, we have no advertising. If you’re cool with that, that’s okay’. They weren’t cool with that … They learned to work really differently.”

If the previous client–agency relationship saw recurring pain points, Palau continued, it is likely they will reappear for an in-house shop, at least in the short term. His suggestion: be open about this fact with the entire organisation.

“We’re probably going to have some of the similar problems. But I’m here … for good, so we’re going to work through those,” he said.

Sourced from WARC