If there’s one question marketing directors are familiar with, it’s “What is the return on that?” Of course, that question isn’t unexpected. They’re responsible for delivering optimum ROI. And in an effort to control costs, an increasing number of brands are turning to in-house creative teams. That’s not a bad thing, assuming the brand understands what work is best suited to an in-house team, versus the expertise offered by an agency.
Here’s the background: the past few years have seen brands taking work in-house in spades. The Association of National Advertisers in the U.S. reported that in 2018, 78 percent of its members had some kind of in-house agency, versus 58 percent in 2013. The benefits to this model are real and measurable, and agencies now find themselves recalibrating their own messaging to make a stronger case for why their outsider status is worth the investment.
Chances are, if you’re responsible for your company’s brand, you’ve found yourself weighing the costs of engaging an agency against building your internal team. The trick is to find the right balance between what each has to offer—how can the two work together to deliver that desired ROI? Here’s how I’ve seen these relationships excel.
- In-house teams are fierce guardians of the brand. Passionate about ensuring the integrity of the brand expression, they make sure everything the organization creates is on-message and on-brand. Advertising agency partnerscan provide the outside perspective brands often need to grow.This outside viewpoint can open your eyes to different potential solutions you didn’t realize were perfect for your business until now.
- In-house teams have a clear and singular focus on the target audience. They know them intimately because they are the customers and consumers they interact with every day. However, agency partners can bring new, data-driven strategies to help you uncover and engage new audiences. In fact, recent research from Microsoft found that the marketers who are winning the customer experience race are more likely to be sourcing data and working with agencies because of faster time to market, lower costs, and fewer risks.
- In-house teams have an in-depth understanding of—and proximity to—day-to-day business. They can respond to needs and challenges in the moment and share project and initiative status on-demand. But when it’s time to push marketing efforts beyond immediate needs, a strong agency brings knowledge of the broader landscape and an understanding of what other in-category and out-of-category brands are doing. And that’s what informs strategies for bold, statement-making marketing.
- In-house teams can make quick work of marketing collateral that needs frequent updating or iteration. But, building an internal team with the right mix of skills to take on special projects requires considerable effort. Advertising agencies are made up of specially hired, cross-functional teams. Together, under one roof, agencies use their combined industry knowledge and experience to deliver exceptional creative when you need it most—like for your next campaign.
At the Creative Department, we’ve worked with in-house teams of all sizes and specializations. And we’ve always approached the relationship as a partnership, providing exactly the perspective, strategy, and fresh creative they need at the right moments to make their brands shine.
We’d love to hear about what you look for from an agency partner and how we can help you ensure that the investment you’re making in your brand pays off.