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Does Your In-House Agency Need an Outside Agency?

Many things keep agency leaders up late at night.

The latest agency night terror is the pendulum swing of clients building in-house agencies to replace them.

The fear appears to be spreading: 80% of agencies predict that their clients will bring at least some marketing services in-house in 2017, according to RSW/US.

On the surface, this shift sounds dire for agencies.

With brands building their own in-house services, agencies should be fading from the landscape — endangered species marching towards extinction.

Right?

Then why are new agencies, large and small, continuing to pop up and grow in every market?

Why are massive consulting firms tripping over themselves to build — or acquire — robust agency skills?

Clearly, there is still a need and an opportunity for out-of-house agencies.

At Traction, we make a significant part of our revenue working with clients who have in-house agencies and teams.

In a few cases, we’ve had those relationships for a better part of a decade.

Because of this history, we understand when and why internal agencies reach out to us to help complement their own abilities.

The curse of knowledge

Traditionally, brands have turned to agencies as an objective party that can help them find creative (or more recently, technical) solutions to business problems.

That is where agencies often provide the most value.

In its recent survey of in-house agencies, The Boss Group reported that 92% of in-house creative teams identified brand knowledge as part of their value.

This is a blessing and a curse (it’s too easy to pick on Pepsi here, so I just won’t). It leads to standards-based thinking, which leads to standards-based work.

In short, living and breathing a brand can blind people to new perspectives; they are are unable to see the forest for the trees.

 

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