Is it time to outsource your marketing?

In many aspects of business, no matter the industry you’re in, you tend to see cyclical trends. The pendulum swings one way, then it swings back. Take marketing. Recent years have seen a trend toward brands bringing various marketing functions in-house, whether it’s programmatic media, creative, data analytics or technology. But now, that pendulum is swinging back. Look out for the tide turning in 2019. We’re seeing outsourcing of the marketing function on the rise again. Why is it happening? And is it the right thing to do?

It all starts with data—the undisputed king of, well, everything. The rise of AI and machine learning means marketing can understand who the customer is, what they’re doing, and what their desires are, so that companies can hit their customers with just the right offers at just the right time. But it’s getting a little more complicated than that.

Marketers, whether in-house or outside, need to be thinking about leveraging all of that data to do a better job of offer management, providing and enhancing the customer experience—the whole nine yards. But, the art of using that data may be changing. A little thing called GDPR swept over Europe like a tidal wave this year, and similar themes are making their way across the pond. It’s making things more difficult for in-house marketers not only because the customer data free-for-all is grinding to a halt—Facebook breaches, credit card breaches, even Alexa listening in on our conversations are making people extremely data-sensitive—but there is no one standard for data privacy in the U.S. right now. States are enacting laws and regulations on their own. So marketers need to be aware of the differing laws and do it one way in California, one way in New Jersey, another way in New York, and so on. Federal regulations seem to be a heartbeat away. Are we going to see a HIPAA-like regulation for customer marketing data? It just might happen. But one thing is for sure—you need people on the marketing front lines to make sure you’re playing by the rules.


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