In-house agencies handle so many duties that having expertise in all of them may not be possible, productive or cost effective.
There are many reasons a regional company decides to create an in-house agency. In some cases, it’s to gain more control of their overall campaign plans. They believe they’ll save time and money. They also believe that handling all facets internally will be easier than working with outside agencies. But I have learned from working with many regional size in-house agencies, that most times this just isn’t the case!
When a relatively small internal team is tasked with research and development, content creation, ad design, media selection and negotiations, as well as trafficking and reporting for their campaigns, many times things aren’t done thoroughly or fall through the cracks completely. It’s certainly not their fault. Simply, many of these teams either don’t have the time or expertise in every area to ensure they are garnishing the best results.
In-house agencies always have tight time frames. By determining what their weakest points internally are and then utilizing strong outside assistance will lighten their load and allow them to accomplish more utilizing their internal strengths. In addition, it will allow external agencies to bring additional tools, knowledge, fresh perspective and different skill sets to the campaign.
An outside agency that has worked for multiple clients will bring the following:
•An abundance of additional AE contacts and more outlets
•Additional creative and strategic planning opportunities discovered from previous campaigns in other markets when working for other clients
•The best tools and technology in their field of expertise
•A deeper level of negotiation and placement skills, since they have a diverse understanding of more than one media, client, brand and product.
•An externally fresh perspective on competitors, images and perceptions of your business and your competition.
Agencies leverage vendors and partnerships. Great agencies constantly train, vet new opportunities and attend agency-specific conferences to remain current in the fast- paced marketing and advertising world. Just like internal employees, agency staffers are paid to perform and be accountable for the results they deliver for you.
But keep in mind, the best agencies aren’t looking to be “order-takers.” They will become a true partner, immerse themselves in your brand and will support what they believe to be the right solution in your best interest, even if it differs from the original plan.
Regional businesses and their in-house marketing teams should not only trust an outside agency but learn to lean on them, because everyone will be working toward the same successful goal.
And finally, the notion that in-house agencies save money, companies should think again. Sure, an outside agency wants to be paid for a job well done and they should be. But by utilizing them for specific duties and capitalizing on their expertise, their commission maybe well less than adding additional employees and trying to do it yourself.
After all it’s more than salary you need to consider. There are PTO days, sick days, health benefits, holidays, pensions, office equipment, additional HR duties, supplies, loss time and general overhead. In the end it will be faster and may well be cheaper to subcontract some of your workload and derive a better overall program and campaign when completed. Now that’s a win-win for regional companies!