Internal Agency Structure

March 21, 2007

The Question:

A fellow ANA member is interested in learning about the internal agency structures of other ANA member companies. She asks:

  1. If you have an internal agency, what competencies are in-house?
  2. What competencies are outsourced?
  3. How many people are staffed in your internal agency?
  4. What are the levels of complexity for managing an internal agency?
  5. How have you determined cost savings for your internal agency?

A number of members indicated that they don't have internal agencies. In addition, below are responses from those that have (or have had) internal agencies.


Member Response #1

We have an internal Creative Service team.  It comprises two designers and a print production manager.  Since we are retail, we rely heavily on them to generate the high volume of local print and POP our system needs.

Our outside creative agency helps us build a photo asset library with available headlines.  These are used as guidelines by our in-house team, and available to dealers via an online "Adbuilder" tool.  However, our in-house people still do a significant amount of custom work. 

TV, Radio, and CRM are handled by outside agency partners

We believe the cost savings in using an in-house team for print and POP are substantial.


Member Response #2

  1. If you have an internal agency, what competencies are in-house? 
     Mostly technical writing, including literature, spec sheets, product data sheets, web site, product photography, package design, manufacturing of packaging.  In addition, this group does some direct mail, tradeshows, and miscellaneous promotional materials (depending on scale and importance). 
  2. What competencies are outsourced? 
     Integrated marketing plans and the creative assets to support those plans (including advertising within trade publications, online banners, email blasts, direct mail, promotions, etc).  In addition, we outsource some public relations.
  3. How many people are staffed in your internal agency? 
     Eight (including art directors, writers, packaging).
  4. What are the levels of complexity for managing an internal agency? 
     Prioritizing assignments across the entire organization, managing the work flow (including schedules, resources, approvals, etc), providing more meaningful projects and/or managing expectations around that actual role of the job (especially since we have a lot of individuals who have been with this company a long time and in the same position and they want to have more of a role within the organization while staying at the same position - but the role has changed and the expectation of that role has changed and they do not want to embrace this change)
  5. How have you determined cost savings for your internal agency? 
     We are just now requesting that they track their time against given projects to help identify areas of concern (whether that is a particular individual giving them the assignment and their decision making abilities, and/or a particular type of assignment that tends to be more labor intensive than others).  In addition, we are looking to conduct a benchmark study on how to structure this type of group for more efficiencies (not only cost savings, buy work flow management, etc)

Member Response #3

(Company confidential)

  1. If you have an internal agency, what competencies are in-house?     We do not have an internal agency per se; we have an internal creative services group.   As part of our master agency contract, we can and do elect to perform some of the work in-house with this internal creative services group, but it's customarily collateral and interactive---not mainstream advertising. 
  2. What competencies are outsourced?     Major multi-media advertising campaigns are the most common----also all media research, planning, placement and post-buy analysis. 
  3. How many people are staffed in your internal agency?     About 35 in creative services. 
  4. What are the levels of complexity for managing an internal agency?    Essentially for creative, they're a parallel to an agency and ours was structured and modeled along the lines of an agency creative department, i.e. CD, AD's, copywriters, etc. 
  5. How have you determined cost savings for your internal agency?     
    We know the agency cost structure plus their mark-up and not unexpectedly, we're substantially less with both direct and in-direct costs against those we'd be charged by the agency.

Member Response #4

[We don't have an internal agency],but we once did. We had media planning, buying, broadcast and print production and trafficking in-house. We outsourced the functions after an extensive benchmarking and review process.

Source

"Internal Agency Structure." ANA Agency Relations Committee, March 2007.