10 Things To Consider Before Bringing Your Agency Work In-House

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10 Things To Consider Before Bringing Your Agency Work In-House

Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: December 19, 2018

As companies grow and gain more confidence in their capabilities, some consider bringing their agency work in-house. Some leaders may be looking for cost savings, while others may believe that no outside agency can truly understand their company as they do themselves. While switching from outsourced to on-staff marketing and PR can give you much more control over the process, it can also be a big risk — especially to those who rush the transition.Forbes 10 Tips In House

Below, experts from Forbes Agency Council offer thoughts on important things to consider before making the switch from outsourced to in-house agency work. Follow their advice to make your process as smooth as possible.

Members of Forbes Agency Council discuss some points to consider before bringing your company’s agency work in-house.

1. Avoid Financial Process Woes

Large companies have strict vendor set up, contract and payment processes. Net 60-, 90- and even 120-day payments are standard, whereas agencies usually pay faster. Will the in-house agency buy media, award production, source creative? If so, work out all contracting processes before internal departments are frustrated, legal is overloaded, suppliers are angry and your team is ready to quit. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing + Partnerships

2. Find A Better Partner

We’ve seen brands try to move some of their agency work in-house, but it is typically because a past agency or holding company has charged large fees and the brand hasn’t seen the results or the ROI. Look for an accountable advertising agency that provides analytics and an ROI on every dollar of media spent so you know how your brand and business are growing as a result of your media spend. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

3. Make Sure Your Team Has The Time

For some brands, creating an on-site team and taking their agency work in-house means having a team truly immersed in the business, with a complete understanding of the goals and the challenges. However, they should consider that there is the risk that the team doesn’t have enough time to explore external sources of inspiration to develop more unique and innovative approaches. – Daniela Pavan, The Ad Store New York

4. Look At It As Building A Second Business

I come from the agency side, but I have firsthand experience because I built an agency and I consult with companies who brought the work in-house. The biggest issue is finding qualified people who — this is hard to evaluate — work well with others. Essentially, you’re trying to build a small agency, and that may be a good move, but it’s harder and more costly than it may seem since it’s another business. – Rafael Romis, Weberous Web Design

5. Master The Various Marketing Functions

Brands need to acknowledge where they are strong and where they are weak. No outside agency is going to know your brand’s values and benefits as well as you. But you also need to understand how the various marketing functions work as a unit. Knowing where one set of responsibilities ends (product marketing) and the next begins (lead generation) helps everything work as a cohesive unit. – Bernard May, National Positions

6. Don’t Assume You Can Do It Better — Or Cheaper

It takes talent, project management and dedication to getting the work done at a high level to achieve big goals. If an agency has these, does it really matter what their employee badge says? The mistake companies make is believing that employees will do better work, be cheaper and be more loyal than an agency. I managed a $1.5 million budget in-house and can verify that an employee badge means zero. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

7. Accept That There Will Be A Learning Curve

There is no one-size-fits-all, smooth process of bringing an agency in-house. Often you’ll be building teams, talents and processes from the ground up. Be willing to learn, always seeking out new metrics, and be willing to pivot continuously until you find the process that makes it work for you. Things will go smoother if you don’t expect them to be a well-oiled machine right off the bat. – Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

8. Study Your Old Agency’s Processes First

One thing that is important to know is all of the strategies that are being used by the agency. In addition to that, it is important to know what their planning sessions were. Before doing this, it seems it would be helpful to shadow the old agency and learn their process to know what they do before you take it in-house. – Jon James, Ignited Results

9. Realize A Lot Of Skills Are Required

I work on both sides of the fence, as a marketer within a company and as an agency owner. The agency was born out of the fact that specific skills, such as audio and video production, are not typical marketing skills that are available in-house. Beyond graphic and web skills, most companies fall short of the skill sets available within agencies. These skills and areas of expertise must be considered. – A. Lee Judge, Content Monsta

10. Bring Back Your Agency If You Need To

I have lived this many times, having owned an agency for over a decade. Recession, budget cuts, restructuring or new thinking can lead to in-housing services. I call it the yo-yo effect because it’s often up and down. Clients often believe they can manage it all in-house. This is easier said than done, and sure enough, they call us back. It’s not always the end of the road. – Priya Chopra, 1Milk2Sugars

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