“We were just writing a lot of checks to agencies, but digital marketing is now in our brand DNA.” — Blake Cahill, Philips global head of digital, quoted in a recent trade storyWhen we talk about disruptions in marketing, one of the elephants in the room is the increasing demand to bring marketing in-house. Companies like Philips are bringing more and more marketing functions in-house. As an ex-agency guy, this will sound either blasphemous or disingenuous — but I suspect that it might be the right way to go. I’ll tell you why. It has a lot to do with the evolution of strategy.In the past, we did two things when we planned strategy. We planned in relatively straight lines, and we planned over long time frames. A minimum of five years was not unusual.Here’s how it would play out. Executives would go through their strategic planning exercise, which might — or might not — include getting input from the internal and external marketers. Strategic plans would be formed, which would then be broken down into departmental directives. Department heads — including marketing — would then execute against the plan, with periodic progress reviews scheduled. The entire loop, from input to executional plans, could easily span several months or even a year or more.The extended timeline is just one of the issues with this approach to strategy. The other problem is that it assumes strategic planning is only something executives can do. The strategic frame is only set at the highest levels of the organization. And it’s executives’ prerogative to either consider or completely ignore any input from their direct reports. Even if they do consider it, this feedback is likely several steps removed from the source: the market.