Will marketing consultants and agencies switch places with in-house staff in a digital world?

As a marketing consultant, I attend a lot of marketing seminars and marketing conferences to stay current with my craft.  Today, the buzz there is all about online marketing.

digital marketingTypical topics include content strategy, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, inbound marketing, marketing automation, and of course email marketing.  Spending in all of these areas is up--often at the expense of conventional advertising and PR.

There are several trends driving this transition.  One is that prospects are moving online so the marketers that wish to reach them must also move online.  Another is that advances in marketing technology have made it relatively easy for non-professionals to produce content that attracts and engages their audiences.

A third is that many online marketing programs are direct marketing initiatives and therefore highly measurable--even more so now that respondents leave digital footprints in their wake.  A fourth is that in a down economy, companies are more concerned about short term revenue.  This causes them to focus more on demand generation and less on longer term strategies such as branding.

If content is king, will marketing organizations change to serve the new master?

In attending these conferences, one of the things that has struck me is that most of the marketing strategies under discussion require generating a lot of content--a task which many companies have historically outsourced to advertising and PR agencies or independent copywriters.  So, this has made me wonder whether organizations, particularly small organizations, are restructuring to make the most of their marketing resources.

That is, now that most of the marketing resources are going to content production and analytics--are companies retaining these functions in house?  And, if so, are these businesses outsourcing marketing strategy work--since it tends to be front-loaded and then intermittent--and requires far fewer resources on an ongoing basis in today's digital world?

What are you seeing at your company and those companies that you serve?

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