Despite boosting in-house resources, volume, velocity and variety remain among the top challenges; here are some ideas to make the case for additional budget.
The in-housing trend has been underway for the better part of a decade. Amid the push to bring deeper brand knowledge under the same roof, is there still a place for agencies and freelancers this budget season?
In-house creative teams handle the majority of the work their internal clients need, according to the 2020 In-House Creative Management Report. Our team polled 600 creatives and marketers and found that most respondents (72%) handle about three-quarters of the creative work their organization needs.
The in-house trend isn’t new – some 60% of respondents say their shop has had an in-house team for 10 years or more – but the challenges remain the same. Despite beefing up in-house resources velocity, volume and variety all remain among the top five challenges:
- 77% cited the “speed at which teams are expected to work.”
- 72% said the “volume of demand for creative work.”
- 55% said the “increasing variety of channels that need creative.”
The research shows there’s a clear need for an extra pair of hands. However, in-house teams have to demonstrate how they are utilizing their resources, to make the case to business leaders.
For example, Franklin Energy showcased an executive dashboard with six key metrics in a 30-minute session at Adobe Max (you can see the recording here; the dashboard is shown at 17:04). The dashboard makes it easy to understand the status of projects and the internal resources those projects are consuming.
With metrics in hand, creatives and marketers are in a much better position to vie for additional budget or headcount. Importantly, there are several other considerations for employing agencies and freelancers, according to industry experts. Below are a few that contributed their ideas to the Creative Management Report this year.
1. Look for skills you don’t already have.
“When it comes to balancing the workload between the in-house team and an agency or freelancer, it all comes down to partnership. It’s important to be able to define what your in-house team does well and what you want to keep in-house. Agencies have a lot of specific skills that don’t necessarily make sense to invest in bringing in-house, so they are a great way to add skill and bandwidth for busy teams,” according to Kim Conder, a brand marketing consultant who has managed in-house teams.
2. Seek partners who can be an extension of your team.
“The trend I see is that the lines are blurring between who is inside and who is outside, and whether you need a full agency or a freelancer with a network. It’s truly case-by-case and specific to each team. You have to understand the needs of your organization and the resources available and figure out what combination makes the most sense,” says Ilise Benun, a coach, speaker, and author of seven books.
3. Own the relationship (vs. relying on procurement).
“The magic of agencies is that they have created environments where creative ideas thrive. People can throw a whole bunch of ideas at the wall, react to them, get feedback, and keep pushing. The secret for in-house agencies to tap into this magic is to be the owners of the relationship. They should be making the call on when to bring in outside resources, not another department. When the creative team owns the agency relationship, they can focus on making it a collaborative partnership rather than a competition to get the ‘best’ jobs,” said Adam Morgan, executive creative director at Adobe.
The Creative Management Report is based on an annual survey we conduct to uncover trends and challenges facing creatives and marketers just like you. We’ve just launched the survey for 2021 and invite you to take it here.
Elise Hauser is a product and content marketer with a passion for telling brand stories. She has produced inMotionNow’s annual Creative Management Report for 4 years, webinars, content sessions for major industry events reaching audiences of 11,000+, and of course, countless blog posts. When Elise isn’t writing about the marketing and creative industry at inMotionNow she is teaching economics and hanging out with her cat, Tucker, at her home in Raleigh, NC.