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Why In-House Agencies Need Outside Help

72 % of corporations now have an in-house agency. 

78% said they have a clear mission BUT they confirmed that there is often a disconnect with the broader marketing team. 

42% of corporate marketers admitted they were unaware of their in-house agency’s mission.

The rise of in-house agencies isn’t always motivated by a desire to cut costs. Instead, we are noticing a need for ownership. Uber now has an in-house ad tech team that implements its own strategy, buying, and optimisation. Lego, Intel, Revlon, T-Mobile, Duracell and Unilever are just a few other names that have taken more control or have set up their own in-house agency. Just because it’s a trend, does that mean that every brand should jump on the In-house agency bandwagon? Absolutely not. 

Here’s why (some) in-house agencies fail. 

We’ve tasted both sides as professionals and we’re going to give you the brutally honest truth based on our experiences. Yes, there are pros and cons to both, but we won’t bore you by giving you a typically balanced perspective on ‘what works’.  You can get that insight from Google. Instead, we’re going to share with you how the external agency model helps to fuel an expert’s level of growth as a creative. And guess what? Where there is creativity and originality, there is a campaign that delivers top results and ROI. In-house creatives need support from the outside world. 


What happens when you bring experts in-house? Do you restrict their capability to expand? 

Well let’s start here. With a definition. What does it mean to be an expert?


Expert: a person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area. 

Here’s the deal, experts need to be exposed to the constant changes that are taking place within the industry, in order to remain ‘experts’. They need to absorb the shifts, changes and emerging trends that are affecting multiple areas of their industry.  They crave freedom. Our past experiences in-house always meant whilst the closeness to the brand’s narrative and the understanding of the story of the company are valuable, we’ve been restricted in the development part of the creative journey. Ideas would receive push-back before they even came out of playtime. 

“While in-house agencies may be powered by institutional knowledge, closeness and creative prowess, more often than not, they are simultaneously tied to following practices and decision-making hierarchies that truthfully, limit their ability to contribute more fully.”

While in-house agencies continue to grow, research suggests there is a disconnect between their popularity and these departments fully realizing their potential. Why? In-house agencies often lack the support that an external agency would receive. We’ve experienced first hand how corporate marketing teams lean heavily on work that is produced internally. A lack of budget and time is common, as well as the amount of preparation that would go into creative collaborations compared to external agencies.​

So what needs to change? 2020 is the year that marketers will have to find a balance between agencies and DIY. Over the past few years we have seen corporations pull back control from brands, but moving forward, the idea of partnership needs to be strengthened so that brands can move forward. 

External agencies and in-house marketers are stronger when working as one. 

As brands consider their digital strategy it seems as though they will be better served spending time trying to create a vision and cohesion between their external (or internal) agencies and marketing divisions. 

Brands cannot do it alone; they need the agility, freedom and objectivity that external partners can bring to the table. External support from an agency can help to build an in house team.  Choose partners that specialise in a specific area so that you can excel in multiple. With your team and a strong relationship with an external party, your brand will reach new heights and ultimately new audiences. 

Interested in learning more about how we have worked with in house teams to transform their digital output?








In- house Content Strategist, Fashion and Food Enthusiast.