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Think beyond the agency: Marketers need digital partners not agencies

"Agencies need to adapt. The agency model is broken. What brands and marketers need right now is greater collaboration, including ownership of their data." Sage words from Daniel Wilkinson, the London-based Head of Paid Media for Jellyfish.
Think beyond the agency: Marketers need digital partners not agencies

Since opening their new offices in Rosebank Link, Sandton, Jellyfish, a global digital partner, has been making inroads in the South African digital landscape. The company’s service lines offer tailored bouquets, including specialised training, designed to resonate with ambitious businesses operating in the southern African marketplace.

Daniel Wilkinson, Head of Paid Media: Jellyfish
Daniel Wilkinson, Head of Paid Media: Jellyfish

“We’ve moved on from being part of the new breed of digital agencies to being a digital partner.” explains Wilkinson, speaking from a recent thought leadership event hosted by the company in Johannesburg. “We’re now working with brands in an agency, consultancy, training and technology capacity.”

What is in-housing?

“In-housing can mean a lot of different things to each brand depending on their digital maturity,” says Tim Lombard, Jellyfish SA Managing Director. “Most brands will need their own unique combination of capabilities to fully meet their individual needs, so the in-house spectrum can range from entirely outsourced to fully owned and operated.”

Google’s Digital Maturity Benchmark
Google’s Digital Maturity Benchmark

Jellyfish uses the Digital Maturity Benchmark, developed by Google, to help brands identify their own position on the digital transformation journey, which is classified as being: nascent, emerging, connected or multi-moment.
  • Nascent - from a technology and media perspective, a brand sitting in the nascent phase will have access to some of the right technology, but probably wouldn’t own it and most of their digital activity would be outsourced.
  • Emerging - brands in this phase have most of the technology they need in place and they do own it. However, they probably still rely on a roster of agencies who use the technology and buy media on their behalf.
  • Connected - in-house capabilities extend to understanding the planning and execution of dynamic creative being used and brand-owned publisher deals are negotiated in some cases.
  • Multi-moment - clear expertise for planning dynamic creative, executed across multiple channels and optimised toward individual customer business outcomes and transactions.
The In-house Agency Forum (IHF) reveals that the penetration of in-house agencies has increased by 52% in the last 10 years.

“I guess the real question,” Wilkinson poses, “is not actually what is in-housing, but what to in-house?”

The pros and cons - in-housing isn’t for everyone

There are very real, bottom-line, reasons so many companies have made the decision to in-house their digital capabilities. Some of these include:
  • Financial - long-term cost savings and full transparency. Brands will know exactly where and how their budget spend is assigned for resources, technology and media. Many agencies still lack much-needed line of sight around media buying practices, one of the key drivers for in-housing programmatic display.
  • Strategic - again, looking from a strategic perspective, no one will know your brand as well as the people who live it every day. In-housing provides you with flexibility. Brands will no longer be wholly dependent on an agency roadmap that may not totally align with their commercial strategy.
  • Control - of your technology and particularly your data ownership, which gives brands the authority to decide how to use that data strategically.
Getting started - six key elements required for your in-housing journey

“Jellyfish understands that each business is at a different stage of the digital transformation process,” says Lombard, “which is why we offer a comprehensive range of short, medium and long-term stack management training solutions designed to facilitate your teams’ digitisation.”

Tim Lombard, Managing Director: Jellyfish South Africa
Tim Lombard, Managing Director: Jellyfish South Africa

Jellyfish recommends taking cognisance of the following, if you’re considering embarking on in-housing capabilities:
  • Evaluate your current media and creative performance as a benchmark.
  • Conduct a cost-benefit plan.
  • Create a priority plan (you don’t have to in-house everything all in one go).
  • Practice data-centricity and integrate multiple data sources into one place.
  • Establish what your current tech stack looks like, what you own and outline how your agencies should be using your technology.
  • Attract, retain, train and grow your in-house digital talent.
When does it make sense to in-house? Strategy, operations, activation and optimisation, creative and analytics are proving to be the in-house capabilities offering the most return on investment.

Jellyfish training - providing the right digital skills

“Your teams will need a mix of knowledge, skills and experience to deliver your digital maturity shift,” says Lombard. “We blend together our learning methods to deliver the knowledge and skills as you need them.”

Jellyfish Training is plotted along your in-housing journey to ensure skills are picked up as needed. By practising and implementing, your team will retain skills along the journey.

Why choose Jellyfish?
  • Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud certified partner.
  • Access to over 700 Jellyfish experts globally.
  • Premium training facilities in four countries.
  • Trainers are experienced practitioners at senior level.
  • Experienced delivery training for global brands with cross-cultural teams.
  • Use of translators where necessary.
  • Cover full stack Google products.
We now offer 120 expert courses with learning methods to suit you. Live classroom courses, virtual learning, webinars, and online/self-paced learning. Both standard and advanced classroom courses are available from our Durban and Johannesburg offices. Some of our most popular modules are:
  • Social Media - from the simple basics of Facebook and Twitter, through to the more advanced stages of social media advertising and reporting, we’ll show you why social media can be such a powerful tool for your brand.
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - the essence of organic search. With every brand fighting to secure page one on Google, you will need to understand the latest SEO ranking factors and techniques vital for position zero. We offer a course aimed at optimising for global, national and local search.
  • Google Ads - our Google Ads Search courses cover the fundamentals of Google Ads, showing you how to create efficient, well-structured campaigns through to advanced techniques for developing high-impact search engine marketing campaigns.
  • Google Analytics - as a trusted Google Analytics partner, we can help you understand and make sense of GA data. This will allow you to make more refined, targeted and strategic marketing decisions.
Google Marketing Platform - Certified Partners

Jellyfish has been hand-picked by Google to be of the few GMP-certified partners. This means we can provide world-class training and support across all disciplines that comprise GMP: display and video advertising, search advertising, analytics and creative design. Each course is adaptive for various learning needs - whether it be for strategic planning or building technology ecosystems for users who need to become skilled, hands-on practitioners.
  • Display and Video 360 - our comprehensive range of courses provides your teams and traders with the skills they need to up their game in programmatic buying.
  • Campaign Manager - courses will show you how to make the best use of the platform and provide training suitable for teams in Paid Media and Ad Operations.
  • Search Ads 360 - gain insight into how this functionality works and how the platform can help optimise and effectively drive search ROI, save time and provide detailed monitoring.
Jellyfish is a global digital partner that offers clients a unique blend of agency services, technology, consultancy, and training to support their digital journey and transformation. The company has worked with brands like Google, Aviva, L’oreal, Airbnb, Accenture, Ford and Investec; and strives to deliver scale and reach for brands from a network of offices across EMEA, the US and Asia.

Jellyfish South Africa
With offices in Durban, Johannesburg and 30 other cities around the world, the Jellyfish Group aims to be the first-choice global partner for any brand's digital requirements. As one of a select few globally managed Google Marketing Partners, Jellyfish also offers services in Strategy, Paid Media, Programmatic Display, Social, SEO, Analytics, UX, Training and Creative.

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