The 7 Dimensions of Effective In-House Teams

3 weeks ago

By Greg Paull, Co-founder and Principal, R3

As marketers need better integration to deliver on omnichannel customer experience goals, in-housing has become the go-to strategy for CMOs looking to transform their corporate departments and re-think their spend – bringing agility, data and technology capabilities, and market-leading insights and ideas into their teams.

… There is no “one size fits all” solution to the in-house challenge and this has refocused marketers to think about the impact of performance management and organisation design…

In a WFA study (2020) of 53 global advertisers, 37% of creative output was reported to come from an in-house team and 94% of respondents had in-house creative capabilities for digital content. Around half of survey participants reported having an in-house media team. However, almost 95% of companies surveyed noted that they continued to work with external agencies.

It’s Harder Than You Think

How to best structure internal marketing teams and in-house agencies, as well as how to manage processes and performance within both in-housed teams and external suppliers, are vital to in-housing success. 

There is no “one size fits all” solution to the in-house challenge and this has refocused marketers to think about the impact of performance management and organisation design.

… Ensuring that in-house teams have the level of skill to keep a brand competitive is an area that marketers have to address…

Building a successful in-house agency requires more than putting the best talent in a room. It requires having clarity on team ownership, understanding the cost of having a team that can serve the business, and having the right leadership to deal with the complexity of in-house teams.

The 7 Dimensions

To help marketers stay the path, here are seven dimensions of in-housing that need to be addressed:

Spectrum of Control: Building an in-house agency takes time and resource. It’s disruptive but comes at a cost and requires the active participation of other departments in the organisation – including the C-suite. This explains why most brands choose to work with a “hybrid approach” to in-housing. To determine a brand’s level of commitment to in-housing, deciding the “spectrum of control” that a brand might want to have is a good place to start. Following this, they can establish where they sit on the scale.

Size: Overall size of marketing teams vary because in-house marketing is generally executed by employees of the company. For example, small companies often having a marketing “team” of one, while the average size of a marketing team for a company with 25-49 employees is typically three people. Larger companies with 50-249 employees have an average of eight people on their marketing teams.

Internal Capability: Ensuring that in-house teams have the level of skill to keep a brand competitive is an area that marketers have to address. Having internal “know how” is important for marketers who find themselves faced with opportunities that require time and budget sensitive response. However, by not having access to a large pool of talent – as they might have with an integrated agency partner – brands with in-house teams risk playing it predictable and safe.

… Beyond simply sharing the workload, there are other key reasons to further agency relationships, including keeping up with a dynamic business environment, integrated creative excellence…

Skill Sets: The skills within an in-house agency should be influenced by the importance of each area to your overall marketing approach, and the degree of specialization needed to get the job done.

Technology: When setting up an in-house agency, it is essential to have a clear idea of what technology is needed to support the delivery of work, and the associated cost of integrating and maintaining new systems. This knowledge will help manage expectations of what you will get out of your in-house agency and how able your team will be to deliver the work.

Budget: Having adequate budget allocated to marketing initiatives will aid in having successful campaigns. For example, organisations which executed successful content marketing campaigns had 39% of the total marketing budget allocated to content marketing.

Partnerships: Partnering with agencies is often in the best interest of the business and your internal team. In-house teams typically partner with external agencies to complement their service offering – predominantly campaign strategy, creative strategy and design execution. Beyond simply sharing the workload, there are other key reasons to further agency relationships, including keeping up with a dynamic business environment, integrated creative excellence, career development for your team, and efficient delivery.

Greg Paull is Principal and Co-founder of R3, a global independent consultancy focused on driving transformation for marketers and their agencies. www.rthree.com

(Photo credit: 123RF)

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