Some research and resources to help you secure support and guide future investment in your In-House Agency
This post is inspired by a request from one of our IHALC community who was looking for research to help build a case for further investment in his in-house agency. We know from previous discussions how important it is for IHAs to be able to prove their worth, particularly if they are seeking to move from production studio to strategic partner.
It’s one of our ambitions at IHALC to produce some research that will help with this but, in the meantime, I thought I’d share some existing resources that may help.
There are a few reports which we’ve found useful.
Creative management platform Bannerflow’s State of In-housing 2021 report has some very useful research findings about the advantages IHAs bring and how they increase ROI. For example, its survey of 200 brands in Europe found that 58 per cent say the creativity in their in-house teams increased during the pandemic. The top three aspects of in-housing that have enabled teams to stay creative during the pandemic were collaborative technologies, increased team togetherness and flexibility. There are also interviews with in-house leaders from TikTok, Vodafone, DraftLine, and Twitter in the report, which can be downloaded free here
US-based staffing solutions group Cella produces an In-House Creative Industry report each year. Though it’s US-focused, it does include vast amounts of data on the type of work IHAs are doing now and what they predict they will be doing in future, the way in which IHAs are structured, who they report to and their size, plus the most in-demand roles. It can be downloaded here
As yet, there is no UK equivalent to the Cella report (watch this space!) but, even though it dates from 2017, the ISBA In-House Agency Survey does include some data around the advantages of IHAs and what respondents felt they did better in comparison to external agencies. Download it here
If you are looking for specific strategies to help prove the value of your IHA, the US In-House Agency Forum has a list of 25 recommendations pulled together from 100 in-house agency professionals. Tips include measuring direct costs if the same work were to be produced outside; creating a quarterly dashboard to corporate execs detailing the “savings” the in-house agency delivers to the company and organising monthly lunch-and-learns where your team teaches something new to your clients. Read the list here
Outsourcing company Amnet has drawn on several sources to create its Producing Creative Content Now and in the Future report. One of its more eye-catching findings is that “91% of companies surveyed report up to 30% savings against their traditional models” as well as “a clear maturation in the types of services that are being handled in-house, with strategic work now being routinely trusted to in-house creatives.” Download it here
There are also some paid-for/member-only sources that may be useful. Gartner has pulled together some insights from its CMO Spend Survey and its Digital Marketing Survey in ‘Making the Case for Your In-House Agency’, a useful, free, post here https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/4000466 but you have to be a member to access the full surveys themselves.
The Gartner piece references as Harvard Business School case study on US telecoms giant Sprint and how it “saved $6 million in costs annually that would have gone to an external agency” via in-housing. The full case study is available to download from Harvard Business Review for $8.95 here
As mentioned, we hope to produce our own IHALC research in the near future but I hope that these sources are useful.