New Study Reveals Concerns For In-House Agency Management | About the ANA | ANA

New Study Reveals Concerns For In-House Agency Management

Energizing Creative Teams and Attracting Talent Top the List

NEW YORK (July 16, 2019) — Marketers with in-house agencies say they are having difficulty keeping their creative teams energized, and are also concerned about their ability to attract top-tier creative talent, according to a new study.

The report, “Managing In-House Agency Creative Content and Legal Concerns,” was a joint effort of the ANA, the Boston Consulting Group, and Reed Smith, the ANA’s outside legal counsel. The findings were the result of a quantitative survey of 111 ANA members fielded in March 2019, and quantitative interviews with ANA members and industry experts conducted in the first quarter of 2019.

In the report, respondents and interviewees identified four primary issues concerning their in-house creative content:

  1. Keeping in-house agency talent energized (a concern among 63 percent of respondents)
  2. Attracting top-tier in-house agency talent (44 percent)
  3. Applying key marketing processes (37 percent)
  4. Having healthy creative tension (19 percent)

Interviewees and survey respondents indicated that they have developed several strategies to keep in-house agency talent energized:

  • Have creative talent work with multiple internal stakeholders/brands to expose creatives to a wide array of challenges.
  • Give internal creative teams particularly challenging projects that will stretch their skills and capabilities.
  • Provide training workshops to help employees hone their skill sets.

Regarding the talent, respondents said they employ a number of strategies designed to attract talent:

  • Creating a virtual team that helps attract talent in less competitive markets. This enables management to identify the right talent in the right location while also maintaining a competitive structure.
  • Emphasizing the attractiveness of the total compensation package during recruitment and being prepared to pay for specialized roles. Job security and working hours can be very attractive, especially when coupled with other benefits such as maternity/paternity leave, working remotely, etc.
  • Having creative talent cover multiple brands spanning categories. Top-tier creative talent is accustomed to tackling different problems across industries, so when coming in-house, having the ability to work across multiple brands/categories can help alleviate the potential concern of focusing on only one brand or category.
  • Reinforcing that creative ideas and concepts developed in-house are more likely to actually be produced than ideas emanating from an external agency.

In addition to the key creative content concerns that must be managed by an in-house agency, survey respondents were asked about how they manage 16 legal issues identified by the ANA and Reed Smith. Respondents indicated that while they considered all 16 important, they were already being adequately addressed and were not areas of serious concern.

The top four legal concerns identified by respondents were contracting with talent (appearing in advertising/commercials), trademark clearance, contracting with photographers, and SAG-AFTRA or other union issues.

This new report is a follow-up to the 2018 ANA study, “The Continued Rise of the In-House Agency,” which found that 78 percent of ANA members have an in-house agency.



The mission of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.


Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. BCG’s Marketing, Sales & Pricing Practice works with leading companies that choose to embrace revolutionary opportunities to redefine the future of sales, marketing, and pricing. We help them transform their commercial strategies and achieve organic, customer-centric, double-digit growth while improving marketing and sales efficiency and effectiveness. AI, software, technology stacks, and smarter data are being leveraged to identify the right price and the next best offer, and to convey branding across multiple digital and offline channels. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with offices in more than 90 cities in 50 countries.


Reed Smith is a global relationship law firm with more than 1,700 lawyers in 29 offices throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. Founded in 1877, Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm dedicated to helping blue-chip clients move their business forward. Its long-standing relationships, international outlook, and collaborative structures make it a go-to partner for speedy resolution of complex disputes, transactions, and regulatory matters. Reed Smith’s lawyers provide litigation and other dispute-resolution services in multi-jurisdictional and high-stake matters, deliver regulatory counsel, and execute the full range of strategic domestic and cross-border transactions. Reed Smith is a preeminent advisor to industries including financial services, life sciences, health care, advertising, entertainment and media, shipping and transport, energy and natural resources, real estate, manufacturing and technology, and education.


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