"Oh, we do all of the here"... I've heard the argument about outsourcing a million times from companies that have in-house marketing departments.
While I’ll agree that there are probably people in your organization that are qualified to perform certain tasks that a creative agency might try and sell; they are all missing one very key component, OBJECTIVITY. In today’s world, in-house creative teams aren't focusing on the customer; they’re focusing on the company they work for.
It’s a delicate balance that needs to be considered. It’s not the creative team that decides the brand strategy or tactics in which to achieve corporate goals, but is always held accountable for them. So how can an in-house team ever be objective? The answer is NEVER.
Usually, when strategic direction comes from the top, it’s almost impossible for in-house marketing to voice an objection. “Just make it happen” is a standard order in corporate America. It’s got to be hard for these teams because they aren't looked upon as “solutions” people; they’re looked at as production people. There’s a big difference.
But why even have these teams? No matter what the situation, knowing a product or service inside and out has its major downfalls. First of all, when you’re too close to a product or service because you deal with it exclusively every single day, creativity goes stale very quickly. Problem number two is that once that boredom sets in, creative people start looking for new jobs. Being on the creative team also comes with being privy to lots of sensitive information. Why not just head to the competition? But the third reason to me is the one I really don’t understand. The cost to hire and fire employees these days is astronomical. Salaries, benefits, training etc.
Why not hire an agency? The process is easier, the creative is usually top-shelf, and the cost is justifiable. By hiring an agency, companies save on benefits. Companies that hire agencies have an out. Companies that hire agencies have access to unbiased opinions about direction, feel, reach, and cost. You can pay an agency per-project and not have to constantly “come up” with work. It’s an all around win-win.
I’m pretty sure that I know why so many companies are afraid of agencies, but things have really changed since the 90’s. Smaller agencies are just as capable, and have an excellent pool of talent. So it’s an option well worth checking out. Personnel problems can be a thing of the past, just like having an in-house team to manage, pay and eventually fire.