Sprint is latest big marketer to build its own ad agency.
Specifically, the telecom brand said it is putting together its own marketing unit that will handle digital ad buying and advertising creative, as well as 'programmatic' ad buying, search advertising and even traditional media buying – all in house. Many if not all of these functions have traditionally been handled by outside ad agencies.
Sprint's move appears driven by a desire to save money, move faster, and control its valuable data.
The marketer believes that an in-house digital agency will allow for streamlined internal communications, increased speed to market, annual cost savings and the ability to take a more data-driven marketing approach – and ultimately drive better business results.
It will also allow the company to build better customer profiles as well as target them more efficiently in the long run, the company said.
"The thinking behind it is that it gives us data ownership," Rob Roy, Sprint's chief digital officer, told Business Insider. "As the owners of all our data, we get to control it, interpret the information, create our algorithms and execute our media at a far more rapid pace."
Sprint joins a growing roster of brands including Allstate, StubHub, Unilever and Netflix among others, who have all taken programmatic in-house in recent years in order to exert more control over their first-party data and avoid high agency and vendor fees. It's the latest example of pressure mounting industry wide on the classic ad agency model.
But in the case of Sprint, the shift is part of the company's continuing embrace of digital at all levels of the organization as part of a multi-year turnaround, said Roy. The company is in the midst of working on a website relaunch, a new technology stack as well as updating the design and user experience of its digital app and properties.