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Building a Better Future – In-Housing Takes Hold

Updated: Jul 28

In-house agencies are often pitched as a way to save money but that shouldn’t be the only ingredient used to evaluate. In this article you’ll be able to understand the cost benefit of in-housing and learn three considerations used to determine if more control is necessary.

  1. Talent & motivation: Is your agency motivated to go above and beyond

  2. Communication, workflow & culture: How do you integrate a model within the current process

  3. Disruption & transformation: Promoting from within and securing external talent

Prior to considering an in-house model the likelihood that you’re working with an agency is high. It’s the agency’s job to provide perspective, but that perspective can be skewed depending on their role and product offering. Don’t blame the people working on your accounts, blame the company structure. C-Suite runs puppet master for revenue generation only giving those working on the account enough information to do their job. When strategy is already handled in-house why wouldn’t it be considered for everything else? (Source: Digiday)


Consideration One: Talent & motivation

When you hire an agency, say bye to all the costs of hiring multiple full-time professionals, and hello to a pre-packaged team on call whenever you need them.


Or so you’re told…


Your so called “dedicated staff” is a great example of what George Costanza lives by, “it’s not a lie if you believe it”. Most times your agency resources are junior and can be working simultaneously on five, or more, accounts. They’re underpaid and overwork not allowing for motivation to go beyond menial tasks.

When frustration builds with your costly agency talent it may be time to consider an in-house model!


Consideration Two: Communication, workflow & culture

Effective communication is the linchpin to a brand’s success. Communication can be challenging especially with complex topics like technology and data. As you foster stronger communication and work to build trust with your agency consider asking your agency these six questions:

  1. What evaluation criteria do you use for media/tech and do you arbitrage?

  2. Will you provide impression level verification data?

  3. What is your media margin, and can you break those fees out for us?

  4. Do direct buys include low value inventory or data mark ups?

  5. Do you outsource any technology and if so, how do you verify impression delivery?

  6. Do you have supply path optimization tools we can access?

When considering an in-house model, understanding the company culture is key to an effective workflow. Success can’t, and won’t, rely on a generic model. Brands need customized solutions that can be easily understood without all of the industry jargon. If you’re considering a partner that is providing you with activation tools without engraining themselves into the company culture, then you should think again!


Regardless of your resources, an in-house model won’t succeed by going to the beat of your own drum. Brands must find a way to function within existing ways of working to sustain themselves as a viable department for the future.


Consideration Three: Disruption and transformation

Hiring new talent is one of the most important strategies for transformation. Leadership teams should also consider moving high performers out of legacy roles and into digital divisions. In general, digital teams should have a mix of cross-functional talent that connects to back-office areas, likes legal and finance, to promote strategic disruption at scale.


Promoting from within will engrain a culture of growth and motivation. Sometimes internal talent doesn’t exist, and brands must look for external experts. In a time where layoffs and furloughs are the norm, there’s a surplus of candidates. This surplus must then be mined for the top performers and brand leaders.


Prior to hiring you should consider the following:

  1. What is the job description?

  2. Who will this employee be interacting with?

  3. Will I need a cross athlete or a subject matter expert?

  4. How will I compete with the likes of Google and Amazon?

  5. What is our retention and career growth strategy?


In Conclusion: Nothing worth having comes easy!

Let’s not forget that in-housing isn’t the easiest of tasks. I’d be lying to you if I said that you won’t face challenges. You can tackle those challenges alone or find a trusted partner who will steer the ship away from the rocks. In doing so you increase effectiveness while offsetting cost.


Before in-housing remember to consider:

1. Do I have stakeholder alignment?

2. Is your company communication already strong and does the existing staff agree?

3. Do I need to set up any more technology, data or inventory relationships?

4. How effective / efficient are your external resources communication across all brand touch points?

5. What talent will I need and where should I source it?

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