In the ongoing public debate between self and managed service models it feels like what’s missing is often nuance.
Not surprisingly, the proponents on each side are usually associated with enterprises that exclusively offer their preferred service model, but there is a fair number who seek the middle ground.
Here’s why: although many SaaS platforms successfully automate how and where marketing messages will be delivered, the digital world is so complex that even some of the most sophisticated advertisers may need help making the most of audience and behavioral insights and leveraging truly impactful, market-leading digital marketing tactics.
These things often can’t be automated within a simple interface.
The advantages for both sides are relatively well-known; self-service digital campaign execution promises cost savings, first-party data protection and internal expertise creation as key benefits.
On the other side, leveraging specialty market expertise that is often required is a huge benefit to engaging a managed service provider. The side effect of driving up the size of total media budgets can also be attractive to some media agencies.
So what is the right answer?
At the end of the day, the right answer will be slightly different for every brand, but my theory is that the best client relationship offers elements of both models.
To start, the self-service component of a brand’s campaign execution must be within a platform that offers full automation of basic and advanced campaign functions –in other words, flexibility to execute the full lifecycle of a campaign by an agency or brand marketer.
What is a ‘basic’ capability of a self-service platform? Fully automated video transcoding is a good example. Ensuring a video is able to render correctly and play on the full range of IP connected devices – PC, tablet, smartphones and connected TVs - is also a basic requirement.
A good example of an ‘advanced’ feature would be offering automated portfolio optimization or programmatic reserved capabilities. These types of capabilities aren’t broadly available across the industry, but as TV and digital converge, this is an increasingly important option.
So where does the managed service component come in?
There are various reasons – campaigns are beyond their current expertise, they simply don’t have the staff to manage execution, or they need true consultation services for highly sophisticated campaigns.
In the video arena, that may mean things like holistically optimizing TV-digital video cross-screen budgets and targeting digital audiences based on TV behaviors.
When deciding which way to go, ask yourself, “Where are you now? Where do you want to go?” While many agree that self-service will take an increasing share of market as advertisers seek control and transparency – it’s an evolving process.
While a good SaaS platform should have the bells and whistles to power end-to-end campaign execution, in the rapidly converging world of video – an expert service partner is good to have on hand.