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Elements of a Successful In-House, Full-Service Agency

Published: July 24, 2013 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Social Media Tips and Tricks Series, Working and Workplaces

Marketing professionals: Does your company run a full-service, in-house agency? If your marketing department has limited functionality, you may want to consider evolving toward full service. You'll not only enjoy greater creative freedom and a more productive marketing effort, but you'll also be able to provide excellent benefits for the company as a whole--that will make management sit up and take notice.

While in-house, full-service agencies have become scarce, the trend is once again on the rise. In a recent study by Harvard Business School, it was revealed that nearly 50 percent of all U.S. advertisers operate some form of in-house unit, and that percentage is rising.

How can you increase your in-house operations to a full-service agency? Here are the most crucial ingredients for a successful full-service operation.

Spread your wings: Moving from niche to mainstream

Many in-house units work on a limited scale, and outsource larger marketing projects. You may specialize in a certain area of marketing, or limit your range of services due to a smaller staff. Some in-house departments provide only routine and fast-turnaround work, with major projects delegated to third parties.

Evolving into a full-service agency will require changing the structure of your department, so you can offer a wide range of classic marketing functions. Full-service agencies are composed of several departments, each contributing functions that serve the company as a whole.

The traditional structure of a full-service, in-house agency includes:

  • Account management: Provides direct contact with clients
  • Account planning: Deals with market research, event marketing, and strategizing
  • Creative department: Handles design development, copywriting, and print, Internet and mobile production
  • Media planning: Works with media agencies to determine and schedule the most effective marketing vehicle

Smart hiring: Staffing your department with the right people

There's an unfortunate perception among corporate executives that is biased against in-house agencies. A recent survey from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) found that 61 percent of executives believe that in-house agencies struggle with strategic thinking, and 50 percent feel that internal teams are challenged when it comes to fresh ideas.

Overcoming this corporate bias is a matter of hiring. One of the fastest and most effective ways to bring "fresh blood" into your in-house marketing team is to hire experienced marketers through a top-tier agency, who can come in with the necessary skills and talent to inspire your existing staff. Promote their credentials to management, and you can change their perceptions.

Proving your worth: How to get management onboard

Other than hiring the right people to staff your in-house agency, there are more steps you can take to retain management support for full-service solutions. An in-house marketing department helps the company lower costs by reducing or eliminating agency commissions, media placement fees, and vendor costs--and one thing executives love to hear about is saving money.

Another way to strengthen enthusiasm for a full-service agency is to measure your unit's results in terms that matter to corporate management. Supply hard numbers on increased revenues, brand awareness, and market share, and the value of your in-house agency will be immediately apparent.

If you are looking for marketing jobs in Houston TX, contact the staffing experts at Clearpoint today.

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