It seems that more and more clients are trying to bring work in-house. According to RSW/US, a company that researches the agency/client relationship, 80 percent of companies predict they will bring at least some marketing services in-house this year. At MCC, we’ve seen a little of that, too. For some of our clients it works out well, but for others not as much. When it does work, we typically see those clients shift their “saved” budgets to beef up an MCC program they’re already executing or to add a new service to their marketing mix. When going in-house doesn’t go quite as planned, clients often become overwhelmed by the planning, development and execution of their initiatives.
Let’s take a look at three reasons why in-house teams consider an outside agency.
1) Agencies offer an objective perspective to help find creative solutions to driving business.
One of the reasons you hire new people for your in-house team is for outside perspective. Often what happens, though, is that outside perspective eventually falls victim to groupthink – when the team becomes so similar in their outlook that they lose the ability to be creative in their decision-making. Sure, similarities can help create a strong team culture, but tunnel vision keeps the other critical information from being explored. This is where an agency can provide the most value. I really like how Theo Fanning, an industry peer of mine, says it. He says, “Agencies, by design, are always acting as strangers in strange lands. The crossroads where internal brand experts meet with external agency experts is when the significant marketing magic can happen.”
2) Clients want to leverage specific sets of skills that agencies have developed over time working with a variety of companies.
Clients see agencies as the authority on the services they are seeking. Many times, this is because an agency’s services are filling a gap that’s missing from a company’s internal team. In addition, clients also value an agency’s experience in different markets. An agency is often able to apply relevant knowledge and experiences from one industry to another.
3) Clients appreciate access to premium talent only when they need it.
Most companies don’t need a large in-house team full of creatives, PR practitioners, social media managers, digital marketers, etc. They would, however, benefit from all of these marketing services. Working with an agency gives you access to these experts when you need them without hiring those experts yourself. And chances are building an in-house team will cost you more than it will save your company.
I’m certainly biased when it comes to the agency vs in-house discussion, but if you feel like you need an objective opinion from a team of experts who can save you money, partnering with an agency may be a good fit for you.