While it isn’t exactly a retreat from in-house agencies, there are signs that managing an in-house team isn’t the panacea many marketers thought it would be.

What was an apparent tidal wave of marketers shifting agency activities in-house, now appears to be on  a bit of a pullback.

There is significantly less work being managed by a marketer’s in-house team than there was in 2020.

Only 14% of agencies state that a little over half of their clients have in-house agencies or do agency-like work inhouse. In 2019, 28% of agencies indicated the same.

A significant reduction in the number of marketers managing agency-like operations inside.

And as we look forward into the next few years, 67% of agencies expect either no change or a reduction in the amount of work being managed by their clients in-house.

33% do expect “somewhat” of an increase in in-house activity.  None of the agencies expect a “significant” increase in this activity.

Signs do point to continued challenges for marketers trying to do this on their own, despite some marketers (11%) believing they will significantly increase their use of in-house support.

40% of marketers stated that it was either “somewhat” or “very” difficult to find quality talent to support their inhouse teams (Pre-COVID).

Only 27% stated that during pre-COVID times, hiring quality talent was “somewhat” or “very” easy.

During COVID, it hasn’t gotten any easier despite higher unemployment, with only 27% of marketers stating that finding quality talent is either “somewhat easy” or “easy” – so still tough to build a solid team.

So what does this mean for you, the marketer?

Maintaining the integrity of, and talents of an in-house team is no easy task. Keeping the team energized and motivated can be challenging. And now, the difficulty we’re experiencing in finding good quality talent in the middle of a pandemic has made the job of managing an in-house team even more difficult.

If you have an in-house team, you need to look at the full cost and value of carrying that in-house team.

In 2020, and now in 2021, there remains a great deal of uncertainty relative to the economy and a marketer’s business on the whole. Giving your business a degree of flexibility by not tying it down with a lot of internal staff overhead may be a smart business decision in both the short and long-term for the bottom line.  Potentially consider being a bit more selective in what you keep inside versus moving out.

The right agency can bring a tremendous amount of value to your business.  And most really good agencies know how to work with in-house teams.  They can be great resources when overflow work needs to be attended to.  They can bring new, fresh thinking.  And they can bring levels of objective technical and analytical expertise that can be difficult to find when building your own in-house team.