The Balancing Effect: Why Outsourcing is Still a Necessity

Screendragon has witnessed a lot of change in the marketing and advertising landscape over the past 10 years. New digital demands have forced brands to re-evaluate how they work and who they work with. We have seen clients take on more internal work; some have set-up hybrid agency functions while others have created their own internal agencies. Both approaches offer their unique advantages, however sometimes, having the best of both worlds can be the most practical solution.

Generally, in-house teams bring expert product knowledge to the table and are best suited to controlling brand assets and data, while external agencies provide a wide pool of expertise. Combining the talents of both helps maintain a fresh perspective and support creative innovation. “Enterprises outsource certain activities for good reason, as it helps them focus on the core and not get distracted by every operational issue,” says Fergus Ashe, VP Client Solutions at Screendragon. He acknowledges that running an in-house agency operation is a big commitment. It needs “structure, strategy and management.” Having external input can help alleviate some of the pressure to meet those last-minute campaign demands or to complete a project to a certain standard. Specialist skills or equipment become a necessity at certain stages so striking the right balance between internal work and external input allows you to keep moving quickly and adapt to change quickly.

Data is another important aspect to consider. Of course, ideally you will have a strong and established partnership with your external agency but in reality, other factors may force you to change external agency support from time to time. This is where being the master of your own data comes into play. An in-house agency is in a far better position to maintain data, assets, legal history and then to better on-board external support when necessary. “Once I required all participants to operate within our internal systems, my life became much easier and we knew definitively where our data and assets lied which allotted far more time for high-value work,” said Rachel Rhodes, Brand Manager with Kimberly-Clark at the time, now Brand Manager with Abbott.

In working with global brands such as P&G, Kellogg, and Kimberly-Clark over the past few years, we have watched the impact of a changing marketing landscape first-hand and recognize the value of adopting a hybrid-agency structure. Companies today need the ability to quickly respond to consumer demands—acting in Twitter time. Perhaps, the most effective way to achieve this goal is to combine the skills and talents of your in-house team with those of an external partner that has a complimentary array of specialist skills and a fresh pair of eyes to match. 

IHAF Member, Screendragon, is a project and process management software provider that simplifies and speeds how work gets done. Their mission is “Making the complex simple.” Having set out on their mission in 2005, the company has since grown to a team of 35 dragons with ‘fire in our bellies’ operating out of Ireland, UK, Netherlands and USA.

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