DTC Dive #7: Inhouse Performance Marketing - Lukas Rauscher, Till Körner, Oatsome

In the latest episode of the DTC Dive Podcast, we journey into the heart of Frankfurt and sit down with Lukas Rauscher and Till Körner from Oatsome. Oatsome is a pioneering brand in the breakfast market known for its innovative Smoothie Bowls and expanding product line. With over six years of presence in the market and a strategic pivot towards large retail partnerships, Oatsome's journey is one of creativity, strategic in-house marketing, and a deep dive into the data-driven processes that fuel their brand's growth.

In the latest episode of the DTC Dive Podcast, we journey into the heart of Frankfurt and sit down with Lukas Rauscher and Till Körner from Oatsome.

Oatsome is a pioneering brand in the breakfast market known for its innovative Smoothie Bowls and expanding product line. With over six years of presence in the market and a strategic pivot towards large retail partnerships, Oatsome's journey is one of creativity, strategic in-house marketing, and a deep dive into the data-driven processes that fuel their brand's growth.

As we dissect the structure of their internal team, delve into the tools and strategies that keep their operations smooth, and explore their approaches to staying ahead in the marketing landscape, this interview offers a treasure trove of insights for DTC brands considering the leap into in-house marketing.
Whether you're a startup navigating the early stages of brand building or an established company contemplating a marketing overhaul, Lukas and Till's experiences shed light on the practicalities and philosophies of crafting a successful, in-house marketing ecosystem. Let's dive in!

How Oatsome Organizes Performance Marketing Inhouse

This conversation peels back the layers on the rationale, benefits, and challenges of organizing performance marketing in-house. Lukas and Till share their unique perspectives on balancing in-house efforts with external agency collaborations, the cultural and strategic benefits of keeping marketing close to home, and the hands-on approach that has been crucial to Oatsome's success.

Markus Repetschnig, Admetrics’ CEO: Hello, I'm Markus, and today we are in beautiful Frankfurt for the recording of the latest episode of the DTC Dive Podcast. I'm here with Lukas and Till from Oatsome. Hello!

Lukas Rauscher, Business Controller, Oatsome:  Hi, greetings Markus.

Till Körner, Data Analyst, Oatsome: Hi.

Markus: Today, we're talking a bit about in-housing. Before we start, could you briefly introduce yourselves? What do you do at Oatsome, and what exactly does Oatsome sell?

Till: At Oatsome, we've been active in the breakfast market for over 6 years, being one of the first in Germany to launch a Smoothie Bowl. Our first product, which you might have heard of, is "Is in Berenland." Since then, we've continually introduced new Smoothie Bowls, launched some spreads, and brought toppings to the market. We're now also expanding our presence in large retailers like DM and Kaufland, operating in both B2B and B2C sectors. Lukas and I are part of the data department. I've been a data analyst at Oatsome for almost 3 years. Lukas, would you like to introduce yourself as well?

Lukas: With pleasure. As Till mentioned, I'm also in the data area, more focused on controlling recently. I was more involved in marketing as a team lead for Marketing E-Commerce before shifting my focus towards overseeing our budget company-wide. We're discussing in-housing today. You have a complete in-house marketing department but have also worked extensively with agencies, right?

Till: Yes, we still complement our in-house efforts with agencies to some extent. There was never a time when we relied solely on agencies. The main reasons for bringing marketing in-house at Oatsome, I believe, are historical—starting as a startup with limited funds necessitates a do-it-yourself approach. This has led us to maintain our marketing in-house. Additionally, there's a desire from management to have these capabilities in-house, for cultural reasons and to have more control over our brand representation.

Lukas: Exactly; our founders were very hands-on from the beginning, which is relatively standard for a small team. Being in-house allows for direct influence on projects, which can be more challenging when working with external agencies. Having everyone under one roof and the founders keeping an eye on things has always been beneficial for us.

Markus: You mentioned you still work with agencies occasionally. In what context do you do that?

Lukas: Mainly to manage capacities and ensure continuous content production, especially when team members are unavailable. It also helps us step out of our bubble, as we have a clear vision of what Oatsome is, but working with agencies can provide fresh perspectives and additional value.

Markus: What are the advantages of having an in-house marketing department compared to outsourcing marketing and creative services?

Lukas: Having everything under one roof allows for greater strategic oversight and the ability to make quick adjustments. It streamlines communication and ensures marketing efforts are closely aligned with the company's vision.

Till: It also enables a hands-on approach to marketing strategies and direct involvement in the creative process, saving time and fostering innovation.

Markus: What challenges have you encountered with in-house marketing, and how have you addressed them?

Lukas: The main challenge is managing workloads and creative processes internally, requiring creative breaks and sometimes leading to less effective campaigns. It's crucial to find ways to maintain productivity and creativity among the team.

Till: Establishing clear processes and responsibilities within the team is essential. It took us some time to find an effective way to manage this, especially as the team grew.

Markus: Can you describe how your internal team is structured and how tasks are distributed?

Lukas: We divide our marketing team into several areas: media buying, concept development, and a creative team, each with distinct responsibilities but also a lot of collaboration between these areas.

Markus: What tools do you use to manage internal processes and keep the team organized?

Lukas: Asana is our main project management tool. It helps keep everything organized and ensures everyone is on the same page regarding tasks and deadlines.

Markus: How do you stay updated with marketing trends and continue learning?

Till: We have partnerships with platform representatives and occasionally consult with external agencies. Networking, attending webinars, and participating in industry events are also crucial for staying informed.

Markus: How do you measure the success of your marketing team?

Lukas: We have built a comprehensive dashboard that tracks key performance indicators (KPIs) down to the contribution margin level, allowing us to closely monitor the effectiveness of our marketing strategies.

Markus: Finally, can you share any advice for DTC brands considering in-house marketing?

Till: Start with a clear strategy and ensure you have the right team in place. It's essential to have someone who deeply understands your mission and can develop creative concepts aligned with your brand's vision.

Lukas: Don't be afraid to start simple. You can always scale and evolve your strategies as you grow. Regularly reevaluate whether in-house or agency partnerships are the best fit for your current needs.

Markus: Thank you, Lukas and Till, for sharing your insights. It seems having an in-house marketing team has been a key component of Oatsome’s success.


Building an Effective In-House Marketing Team: Insights from Oatsome's Journey

Creating an in-house marketing team is a significant step towards achieving greater control over your brand's narrative and directly engaging with your audience. The experience of Oatsome, as shared by Lukas and Till on the DTC Dive Podcast, offers valuable lessons on assembling a team that not only aligns with your brand’s ethos but also drives its marketing strategy forward with agility and innovation. Here’s how to cultivate an in-house marketing team, drawing from Oatsome’s approach and integrating broader best practices.

Start with a Solid Foundation

Define Your Brand’s Needs: Before you start building your team, clearly outline what you aim to achieve with your in-house marketing. For Oatsome, the initial focus was on establishing a strong presence in the breakfast market with their innovative Smoothie Bowls. Your goals might involve increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or entering new markets. Understanding these objectives will help you determine the roles and skills your team needs.

Recruit for Culture and Skill: Oatsome’s approach to in-house marketing emphasized the importance of cultural fit and skill set. Lukas and Till, coming from the data department, highlighted the synergy between marketing and data analytics in understanding consumer behavior and measuring campaign success. When recruiting, look for candidates who not only bring the necessary marketing expertise but also share your brand’s values and vision.

Structure Your Team for Success

Diverse Roles for Comprehensive Coverage: An effective in-house team requires a blend of skills—ranging from creative to analytical. Oatsome’s team structure, featuring roles in media buying, concept development, and creative execution, ensures a holistic approach to marketing campaigns. Your team might need content creators, SEO experts, data analysts, and social media managers, depending on your marketing objectives.

Emphasize Collaboration and Flexibility: Keeping marketing in-house means fostering a collaborative environment where cross-functional teams can easily share ideas and feedback. Oatsome benefits from having everyone under one roof, enabling the founders to maintain a close eye on marketing initiatives. Encourage open communication and flexibility within your team to adapt quickly to market changes or pivot strategies as needed.

Equip Your Team with the Right Tools

Invest in Technology and Training: Utilizing project management tools like Asana, as mentioned by Lukas, can help keep your marketing team organized and on track. Additionally, investing in the latest marketing technologies and continuous training for your team members is crucial for staying competitive and innovative.

Foster Continuous Improvement and Learning

Stay Ahead of Marketing Trends: Oatsome keeps its marketing strategies fresh and effective by networking, attending webinars, and consulting with platform representatives. Encourage your team to continuously learn and stay updated with the latest industry trends, techniques, and tools. This proactive approach to learning can inspire new ideas and improve campaign effectiveness.

Measure Success and Iterate

Implement Robust Analytics: Following Lukas and Till’s example, build a comprehensive dashboard to track key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to your marketing goals. Regularly reviewing these metrics will help you understand what’s working, identify areas for improvement, and demonstrate the value of your in-house team’s efforts.


Evaluating In-House Marketing vs. Agency Outsourcing: What's Best for Your Brand?

When it comes to steering the marketing efforts of a brand, the debate between in-house marketing and agency outsourcing is a pivotal one. Each approach has its unique set of advantages and challenges, influenced by factors such as budget constraints, expertise requirements, and strategic flexibility. Understanding the nuances of both models can help businesses make informed decisions that align with their goals, resources, and growth trajectory.

In-House Marketing: A Closer Look

In-house marketing teams are deeply integrated within the brand, offering unparalleled insights into the company's culture, mission, and objectives. This internal setup fosters a high degree of control over marketing strategies and campaigns, ensuring that all initiatives are closely aligned with the brand's voice and vision. Oatsome's journey, as discussed in the DTC Dive Podcast, exemplifies the benefits of this model, highlighting increased agility, brand consistency, and the cultivation of a dedicated team that's fully immersed in the brand's ethos.

Pros of In-House Marketing:

  • Brand Alignment: Teams have a thorough understanding of the brand, leading to marketing strategies that are consistently aligned with the company's core values and long-term objectives.
  • Agility and Flexibility: In-house teams can quickly respond to market changes or pivot strategies, offering a level of responsiveness that is sometimes harder to achieve with external agencies.
  • Cost Efficiency Over Time: For companies with consistent, high-volume marketing needs, in-house teams can be more cost-effective in the long run.

Cons of In-House Marketing:

  • Resource Intensity: Building and maintaining an in-house team requires significant investment in recruitment, training, and technology.
  • Limited Expertise: Small to medium-sized businesses may struggle to attract or afford specialists in all the areas needed for a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Agency Outsourcing: Broadening Perspectives

Outsourcing marketing to specialized agencies offers access to a broad spectrum of skills and experiences, potentially injecting innovative ideas and cutting-edge strategies into your campaigns. Agencies can offer scalability and flexibility, allowing businesses to adjust their marketing efforts in response to fluctuating needs or budgets without the overhead of a full-time team.

Pros of Agency Outsourcing:

  • Diverse Expertise: Agencies bring together specialists from various fields, offering a breadth of skills that might be too costly or impractical for some businesses to develop in-house.
  • Scalability: With an agency, businesses can scale their marketing efforts up or down without the challenges of hiring or downsizing internal staff.
  • Fresh Perspectives: External teams can provide new insights and ideas, challenging internal assumptions and bringing innovative solutions to the table.

Cons of Agency Outsourcing:

  • Less Control: Relying on external agencies may lead to concerns about brand consistency and the loss of some strategic control.
  • Communication Challenges: Coordinating with an external team can introduce delays and inefficiencies, especially if the agency manages multiple clients.

Making the Right Choice

The decision between in-house marketing and agency outsourcing should be guided by a strategic assessment of your company's specific needs, capabilities, and growth plans. Factors such as the complexity of your marketing needs, budget constraints, and the importance of brand consistency play crucial roles in this decision.

For brands like Oatsome, a hybrid model blending the strengths of both in-house resources and external agencies has proven effective, allowing for a dynamic approach that leverages the benefits of each. This balanced strategy can offer the best of both worlds: the brand alignment and agility of an in-house team with the broad expertise and fresh perspectives of external agencies.

Ultimately, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The key is to remain flexible, regularly reassess the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, and adapt your approach as your brand evolves and market conditions change. Whether you build a dedicated in-house team, partner with a leading agency, or navigate a path somewhere in between, the goal remains to craft marketing strategies that resonate with your audience, amplify your brand's message, and drive sustainable growth.


Q&As: FAQ: Inhouse marketing best practices

Q: Why should a DTC brand consider building an in-house marketing team?

A: An in-house marketing team offers unparalleled understanding and alignment with the brand's values, goals, and nuances. For DTC brands, which often thrive on strong, direct relationships with consumers, this alignment ensures that marketing strategies are deeply connected to the brand's identity, allowing for authentic storytelling, quicker response times to market changes, and greater control over the customer experience.

Q: What are the primary challenges of setting up an in-house marketing team for a DTC brand?

A: The primary challenges include the initial setup cost, finding the right talent that fits the brand culture and goals, and the ongoing investment in training and development to keep skills sharp and current. Additionally, maintaining a balance between creativity and analytical skills within the team can be challenging but is crucial for a data-driven, customer-focused approach.

Q: How can a DTC brand effectively transition from agency-based to in-house marketing?

A: Transitioning involves several steps: clearly defining your marketing objectives, conducting a skills gap analysis to understand what competencies are needed in-house, gradually building your team starting with key roles, and investing in technology and training. It’s also beneficial to maintain a hybrid model at the start, where you can lean on agencies for specific expertise or overflow work as your in-house team grows.

Q: What roles are essential when building an in-house marketing team for a DTC brand?

A: Essential roles typically include a Marketing Strategist or Director, Content Creators (writers, graphic designers, videographers), Social Media Managers, SEO and SEM Specialists, Data Analysts for performance tracking and insights, and Email Marketing Specialists. The exact makeup of your team will depend on your brand’s channels, strategy, and audience.

Q: How does an in-house marketing team stay updated with the latest marketing trends and technologies?

A: Staying updated requires a commitment to continuous learning and development. This can be achieved through regular training sessions, attending industry conferences, subscribing to marketing publications, and engaging with online communities. Partnerships with technology platforms and consultations with external experts can also provide fresh insights and keep the team at the cutting edge of marketing innovations.

Q: What tools and technologies are crucial for an in-house marketing team in a DTC brand?

A: Key tools include project management software (like Asana or Trello) to keep tasks organized, CRM platforms for customer data management, email marketing platforms (like Mailchimp or Klaviyo), analytics tools (like Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics) for measuring campaign success, and creative software (like Adobe Creative Suite) for content creation.

Q: How can a DTC brand measure the success of its in-house marketing team?

Q: Success can be measured through various KPIs, such as return on investment (ROI), customer acquisition cost (CAC), conversion rates, engagement metrics on social media, email open rates, and, ultimately, sales growth. Setting clear, measurable objectives aligned with business goals is essential for tracking performance and demonstrating value.

Q: Can an in-house marketing team effectively manage all aspects of marketing, or are there times when outsourcing is beneficial?

A: While an in-house team can manage most aspects of marketing, outsourcing can be beneficial for specialized needs outside the team’s expertise, for handling peak workloads, or for bringing in fresh perspectives. A hybrid approach allows DTC brands to leverage the best of both worlds—maintaining core competencies in-house while tapping into external talent for specific projects or insights.

By addressing these questions, DTC brands can better navigate the complexities of building and maintaining an in-house marketing team, ensuring that their direct-to-consumer strategies are both effective and aligned with their brand identity.