In-housing Is So In… But How Do Companies Get Agency Talent to Flip Client-side
For the past couple of years, one of the most notable trends in Marketing has been in-housing, the process of companies building internal marketing agencies to bring in-house many services and operations previously performed by outside agencies. According to a recent study by the In-House Agency Forum (IHAF) and Forrester research, two-thirds of corporate America now have in-house agencies. Research by the Association of National Advertisers finds an even higher number do, reporting that 78% of American companies have some form of in-house operation.
Efficiency & Acumen Accelerating Adoption of Agency Functions
Companies who are bringing agency functions in house are seeking cost and time efficiency, as well as more in-depth business and brand familiarity that will inform the strategy and the resulting work (while also contributing to faster turnaround). Both the IHAF/Forrester and ANA studies point to the insatiable demand for content (and the need for it to be produced quickly) as a significant trend factor. For example, as the need for video content continues to grow, the ANA reports that 70% of in-house agencies have video production capabilities (half of which have been established in the past five years).
The ANA, however, does assert that agency functions are increasingly “not confined to the low hanging fruit of collateral/promotional materials and internal videos.” Their research found that these newly established in-house agencies handle a wide range of services, including strategy, traditional and digital creative, social media (both creative and media), as well as media strategy, planning, and buying. Other areas migrating client-side most recently include creative strategy, media strategy, social media (both creative and media), content marketing, influencer marketing, and programmatic media buying.
Securing Talent for In-house Agencies Seen as Major Challenge
While the research illustrates distinct advantages of in-housing (such as brand and business knowledge, responsiveness, control over output, and dedicated resources), securing talent to scale operations and manage the ever-increasing workflow is a challenge. This is especially true in a tight talent market under full-employment conditions.
Companies must pay particular attention to their employer branding and the candidate experience to attract and engage agency-side candidates. Hiring speed, process efficiency, redundancy of requirements, and the number of hoops necessary for candidates to jump through, in general, can be a real turn off to agency talent. Company location can be a repellant as well. This tricky balance calls for a staffing agency partner who can help position the transition to corporate as an opportunity for meaningful growth and advancement and not a sellout.
Choosing a Talent Partner that Brings Together Creative & Corporate Cultures
To build out the bench, companies may consider a phased approach, focusing on the priority roles first. To identify with which roles to begin and scope out accurate job descriptions, companies may find that working with a specialized creative staffing partner is effective and efficient. A smart approach would also be a hybrid recruitment strategy, which utilizes freelancers while the search proceeds for full-time talent.
Niche recruiting & staffing companies like 24 Seven understand what makes creative talent tick, as well as the skill sets needed to run a successful agency operation. Highly-specialized creative staffing firms have candidate networks with tentacles not only into the top agencies but also into sought-after destination employers like Google, Apple, and Facebook that easily scoop the best creative, media and digital talent. And because we are creative-talent focused, we understand the complete set of lures that make the workplace irresistible and sticky for these professionals – from compensation, benefits, perks, culture, and other incentives. We speak the language of creative agency professionals and are practiced at selling them on taking the career leap to the client-side.