Daily Insights

Overwhelmed In-House Agencies Should Partner Like External Ones

By: Sally Witzky | Oct 28, 2019

Marketing leaders say they want to bring more of the high-value and strategic work of marketing in-house, and use agencies to fill tactical and talent gaps. In terms of project mix, however, the  Gartner Marketing Organizational Survey 2019 shows that there is little difference in the type of work done in-house and by external agencies. Despite the goals, in-house agencies have not yet moved away from executional work even as they hope to get more executional.

Maintaining scope that is both broad and deep requires in-house agencies to have top-quality skills in almost every functional area of marketing, as well as corresponding marketing technology. That makes marketers feel overwhelmed.

To address the challenge, in-house agencies should adopt more formal structures to manage talent and make smart decisions about what they aren’t going to do. External agencies, ironically, provide a helpful model. They don’t try to do everything. Instead, they develop strategic partnerships that allow them to mobilize certain skills or scale only when they need to expand their capabilities.

Effective work management also depends on technology to manage content, project, and deadlines in an agile way. Work management tech saves time by preventing duplication of effort, ineffective or inaccurate reporting, and lack of project standardization, and by managing issues such as requests, reviews and approvals, and resource allocation.