Do you build an in-house creative marketing agency, or do you lean on third parties to lead your strategy and creative?
In recent years the industry has seen a steady flow of brands move toward an in-house model. Building an in-house agency, however big or small, can be a solid business move. Here are five reasons why:
1. Control - With an in-house model, you have a creative marketing unit that you control and that delivers directly for you. Making course corrections to your marketing strategy becomes easier when your team is under your own roof with a clear chain of command.
2. Cost - An over-reliance on outside agencies becomes expensive. Also, if you do content well, there are ways of clawing back some of that cost through syndication, sponsorships, and licensing. Turn your creative marketing team into a profit center.
3. Creativity - In-house agencies foster creative thinking, and creative ways of thinking are good for your business. Your team and your organization will become increasingly confident about its capabilities around creative production. Outsourcing too much creative and too much marketing strategy is never a good idea. One shortcut to developing the in-house expertise and structures needed to run a creative marketing operation is to acquire an agency.
4. Collaboration - The best marketing creative is forged through collaboration, and your in-house agency will cultivate higher levels of cross-departmental collaboration. Your internal agency will give all your employees a more direct chance of contributing ideas and getting involved. You're stronger together!
5. Cachet - Having your creative in-house can generate higher levels of employee engagement and advocacy that are a win-win for your business. You are going to spend on marketing anyway, so why not invest a higher proportion of that spend directly into your company and reap the rewards over time? It's a cool thing for your organization to do.
OWNING THE BALANCE
Companies needn't cut themselves off entirely from outside agencies. An outside perspective is good for challenging preconceived notions. Outside expertise can also take pressure off your internal teams, particularly in niche or new areas.
You should continue to draw on outside expertise to whatever degree makes sense. No business wants to try to do everything. Just don't become overly-reliant on your external agencies. Approach your decisions on marketing investment with an "in-house first" mindset.
As a marketing leader, you ultimately need to own the strategy, the creative, and the execution. If the agencies went away tomorrow, would you be able to carry on regardless?