“Our job is to ultimately replace ourselves.” That’s how MightyHive CEO Pete Kim describes the role his company plays in the ongoing tug of war between brands and agencies as the in-house agency movement continues to gain traction.
MightyHive has quietly become the preferred agency for brands, including Bayer, Sprint and Nationwide, to hire as they start taking capabilities in-house and away from advertising agencies. The company thinks of what it does as helping “brands and agencies take control of their digital futures,” but what it really does is work with big brands to give them the expertise and training needed to ultimately become self-sufficient with their own digital media buying and planning. MightyHive acts as a coach to train clients across programmatic display, video, audio, social, search and, in the future, connected TV with the strategy and training to back it up.
MightyHive is filling a void in the current ecosystem. The path to creating an in-house agency isn’t always smooth. For most, it’s a spectrum: Brands usually begin by taking some small part of the process in-house, usually production. Then, it’s some part of media buying, usually search or anything auction-based. From there, it can keep growing, by hiring more people and developing more capabilities. In some cases, brands like Vodafone have gone back on their in-house promises, going back to agencies because it can be difficult to get the right talent or otherwise hard to create these capabilities. “In-housing is kind of a linear thing,” said Greg Paull, principal at brand consultancy R3, who said that he sees more and more of his clients beginning to work on in-house a
A recent survey by the ANA found that 78 percent of brands are creating some kind of internal structure, versus 58 percent in 2013.
Having the ability to let go has already earned the company the business of a dozen large companies like Bayer, Sprint and Nationwide in their efforts to move all of their digital media buying and planning in-house, and around 30 other companies, bringing parts of it in-house, according to Kim. There have been reports that S4 Capital, Martin Sorrell’s new company, is reportedly interested in acquiring MightyHive.
“We wanted to work with MightyHive because of their experience with getting people to self-sufficiency,” said Josh Palau, vp of digital strategy and platforms at pharmaceutical company Bayer, the latest company to announce plans to move all digital media in-house, using MightyHive to get there.
Kim said most partnerships last anywhere from six months to two years, but is not concerned with companies coming back. “Even when the in-housing is done, we think clients will come back to us for their consulting needs,” he said. “We hear from clients that they are worried in-housing will put them on an island. With us, we know their business and the pace of change is only accelerating.”
gencies — and that they need help in making it happen.