In-House Agencies – Fast, Cheap, & Good!June 13, 2012
By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
ANA In-House Agency Day, just held at the offices of Charles Schwab in San Francisco, attracted a crowd of over fifty marketers. When we surveyed members a few years ago, we found that 42% had an in-house agency of some type. And speculation is that the percentage has grown further as the primary benefits of in-house agencies – speed and cost savings – are more important than ever. But in-house agencies can also offer terrific strategic thinking and creative work as well.
A presentation from the In-House Agency Forum led off the day and was focused on how to shift an in-house agency from an order taker to a business partner. Two tips from that session stood out to me:
- Be customer centric: Become an expert in the business and the brand. Understand your clients’ needs and concerns. Go beyond—surpass their expectations. Measure your performance.
- Maintain a competitive advantage: Keep abreast of ad trends, including new media. Define your digital expertise needs. Understand your global brand and global support needs.
Schwab’s in-house agency has 132 staffers in four locations – San Francisco, Austin, Richfield (OH), and Chicago. More recently the in-house agency has had a steady evolution to doing more digital work and has focused on providing a “digital experience” with interactive display, video, and mobile.
Blue Shield of California’s philosophy is, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.” The in-house agency works hard to be a strategic partner with its clients and continuously measures its success. Metrics include purchase consideration, the quality of the work, and satisfaction rate of internal partners. The agency has had over thirty marketing excellence awards since 2010!
Franklin Templeton has a truly global model with teams in the U.S., Canada, Poland, and India. Over 4000 projects are completed annually, and 500 are active in any given week. Work is done in over 20 languages—not just English, Spanish, French and German … but also Chinese, Estonian, Swedish and Turkish!
Many of us have been schooled on the ‘triangle’ throughout our careers – “fast, cheap, good … pick two.” In-house agencies have always been fast and cheap. One participant noted, “We operate at 30% of what it would cost to go outside for the same services, saving millions per year.” But more and more in-house agencies are now challenging the triangle theory by being good as well. Expect to see the use of in-house agencies to grow and become even more important going forward.
You must be logged in to submit a comment.