The In-house Conversation – Minus The Glitz

Most of the conversation around marketing trends centers on the “flashier” parts of the industry: let’s be honest, big-budget Super Bowl ads with all their glitz are going to draw a couple more eyeballs than a well-executed print buy. Which is why it was refreshing to see Marketing Brew take a deeper dive into the “back end” areas of marketing – in this case, programmatic buying – and how they’ve been affected by larger shifts in agency vs. in-house work.

The piece is certainly worth a read, but I won’t spend time recapping it here; instead, let’s tackle some of the hesitancy that brands have in going outside their walls for some of the less glamorous facets of your marketing work that don’t contain all the glitz.

Keeping Things Transparent

This is the big one: brands feel like they’re being left in the dark when it comes to programmatic buying. It’s an issue across marketing, and one that often leads to a tug-of-war among teams over ownership of projects or branding.

It’s understandable to want a better look into your agency’s work (you are paying them, after all), but this kind of breakdown isn’t an inherent cost of bringing an agency into the mix – it’s a result of an agency that isn’t living up to its billing as a marketing partner, whether that’s due to siloed communication, an agency focus on “cookie cutter” solutions without regard to your objectives, or, in rare cases, outright dishonesty.

Give Your Team A Recharge

Disengaged workforces have become a hot topic in recent months, but the concerns reach far beyond local restaurants: employee engagement is hard, recruitment is even harder, and businesses are doing whatever they can to keep workers energized and engaged with the work at hand. And yet, brands remain hesitant to outsource work to external teams, instead leaning even harder on their existing marketing departments.  No glitz in that!

You probably already know where I’m going here: an in-house team working the same (mostly automated) task, for the same brand, especially without a voice in strategy conversations, is a recipe for burnout. Bringing an agency in not only brings a new perspective on the task at hand, it gives your team the bandwidth for other projects and ultimately affords them the ability to recharge on projects they’re passionate about – a benefit that can’t be overstated as companies struggle to recruit and retain talent.

Elephant In The Room… Cost

As with so many conversations in our industry, we’re not escaping this post without talking through the bottom line. One of the reasons given for bringing projects in-house is simply one of savings: cutting out the agency “middleman” can only lead to a cheaper internal solution, right?

Well, not entirely true. The upfront cost of bringing operations in-house is steep, not only in dollars but in time spent hiring (remember those pesky recruitment challenges we mentioned?) and bringing your team up to speed on a challenge they might not have experience with. It’s a commitment that not every brand can afford to make, and the right agency can shave months from the onboarding process, save you precious hires, and get right to work in getting results.

And, if you’ll forgive the plug, there’s no cost lower than free, and our search services come at absolutely no cost to you, the marketer. We charge a small fee from the winning agency, whoever it may be.

At the end of the day, some brands are going to continue bringing ad buying in-house, either due to the reasons mentioned above, or because they’re disillusioned with the glitz of the agency world as a whole. The fact remains, however, that an effective agency partnership brings fresh perspective to even the most unsung areas of marketing, allowing your business to move forward with a partner that gives you the transparency to build trust, the freedom to re-energize your team, and the resources to do so without eating the cost of a strategic shift or a traditional agency search.

Sound like a plan? Give us a call at 513-559-3101 and let’s get started on finding you the right agency for the job at hand – whatever it may be.