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In-House Agencies Save Money (Doing Marketers' Grunt Work)

No creative, little sleep. Is
it any wonder they smoke?

A survey of Association of National Advertisers (ANA) members finds one-third of them (42 percent) have established in-house ad agencies.

Most marketers explained in-house ad agencies contribute to cost efficiencies and savings — thought to be the "most important success" having an in-house agency, respondents said.

Roles for in-house agencies varied by a wide margin, but often include creative development, repurposing work developed by an external agency, and production.

Per the survey, in-house agencies typically handle the following functions:

  • Collateral like point-of-sale displays or brochures (97 percent)
  • Internal/company communications (82 percent)
  • Internal/company videos (69 percent)
  • Developing brand identity (66 percent)
  • Direct mail (65 percent)
  • Site creation and maintenance (65 percent)
  • Online banners and other "static" online creative (62 percent)
  • Other services: TV advertising, packaging, search engine optimization and search engine marketing

On top of all that, 35 percent of marketers tasked their in-house agencies with media planning. Another 24 percent added media buying to the load. Other findings:

  • In 58 percent of companies, in-house agencies report to a marketing or communications department
  • 17 percent of in-house agencies have profit and loss responsibilities
  • 98 percent have US facilities in the United States, with a few companies maintaining offshore facilities elsewhere

Marketers' major critique of in-house agencies were that most lacked "a depth of strategic thinking" (61 percent), said ANA. And about half of marketers said it was hard to come up with fresh ideas with internal teams.

"This study suggests that more and more companies are finding advantages to bringing some capabilities in-house and charging these groups with duties across the board," waxed President/CEO Bob Liodice of ANA.

"Through the survey, we can now provide marketers with timely, fresh thinking and the insights they need to make strategic decisions and to create an optimal in-house agency, if desired."

About the study: ANA's research was conducted online in August 2008. The firm will release its complete findings on September 25th.


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