More Brands Are Bringing Content Creation In-House
by Cory Schmidt
Marketers are all too familiar with the sharp rise in content marketing over the last few years. It’s a trend that has transformed the industry, changed the way brands engage with customers, and paved the way for new avenues of creativity. Unsurprisingly, the use of content is set to become an even more significant part of the marketing mix.
To delve deeper into how companies will be creating content—and what this means for in-house teams, agencies, and the wider industry—my company, Canto, recently commissioned a survey with Sapio Research. “The Content Trends Report 2020” probed the thoughts of decision makers within marketing departments at SMB, enterprise, and blue-chip companies. Our research shows that content creation will, on average, account for more than a third (35%) of annual marketing spend in 2020—up from 32% last year. This represents a 9% increase in the content production budget. Looking specifically at larger companies (those with more than 100 employees), this will rise from 38% to 42% in 2020.
As the use of content looks set to increase, another notable trend we’re seeing is the growing amount of marketing content being created in-house. Although content creation is usually considered the forte of agencies, creative shops, and freelance specialists—and, for the most part, it still is—companies are increasingly hiring in-house talent to produce it. Almost a third of marketers (32%) say they currently create more content in-house than they did just a year ago.
If content is to be an integral part of a successful long-term marketing strategy, then it makes sense to have instant access to in-house resources. Specialists who are fully integrated in the business can build an intimate understanding of market nuances, customer mindset, and branding guidelines. Naturally, concern over budgets is also a driver in this shift to insourcing. With content making up a bigger—and more permanent—element of the marketing mix, it’s financially smart to invest in bringing the skills in-house. In fact, 29% of companies plan to reduce spending on agencies.
Companies are also telling us they want their assets to work harder for them; 37% plan to repurpose content rather than consign it to the archives after initial use. Not only does this help ensure brand consistency and reaffirm brand values and brand persona, it helps meet the demands of an always-on culture with a plethora of channels requiring content to share.
Content creation is only one area of focus for companies looking to improve overall ROI. In a world increasingly deluged by data, our research identified that more than half (51%) of marketing decision makers intend to make better use of market or audience research. In addition, 42% are planning to use better technology. Metrics are also a key area of focus, with 34% of marketers looking into better measurement tools to evaluate marketing strategies.
In an industry as fast-paced and rapidly changing as marketing, it is more important than ever for brands to explore, test, and evaluate new strategies in order to remain relevant and competitive—and to cut through the 24/7 noise and decreasing audience attention spans. The pressure is perhaps greater for agencies. They have to constantly evolve to stay ahead of trends so that they can demonstrate their value and prove their ability to collaborate with increasingly inward-looking clients.
Brands and agencies must continually evaluate and adjust their strategies to make sure they are creating, storing, and sharing content that resonates with their audience and achieves the desired reactions. The job is always far from done—but perhaps that’s part of the appeal and excitement of working in the industry.