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By Sarah Bright on January 03, 2022

In-house Marketing Operations and the Rise of Productivity

In-house marketing operations are changing the way corporations everywhere are operating, expanding their capabilities, and there's plenty of good reasons why. A survey of 400 marketers released by Gartner last month found that 29% of work previously handled by agencies has moved in-house in the past year. What's causing this rise of in-house creative services? Read on to find out.

In-House Teams Improve Marketing Agility

In November, I had the opportunity to attend the IHAF Conference & Awards: Resilience to Reinvention and learned a lot from some amazing in-house agency professionals. Not only did I get to learn more about the value associated with moving marketing operations in-house, such as faster turn-around times and leveraging internal talent of those who are fully immersed in the brand; my biggest takeaway was from the inspiring stories I heard of how in-house teams were able to remain nimble and resilient, throughout the uncertainty of the pandemic.

The pandemic had a number of effects on corporations everywhere. Reduced headcount, slashed marketing budgets, and fundamentally altered workflows were just a few of the challenges along the way.  However, according to a study by Harvard Business Review from December 2020, despite the common hurdles businesses everywhere were facing, the pandemic actually ended up widening the corporate productivity gap in ways businesses have never seen before.

more work shifted in-house bar graph IHAF

Source: In-House Agency Forum

In a report from the In-House Agency Forum, 77% reported they've experienced an increase in the number of projects executed, as a result of the pandemic. Corporations everywhere had to go back to the drawing board and for many brands, come up with a completely new marketing strategy. In such a short amount of time, these in-house teams had to come together to rapidly redefine their messaging and value propositions to keep up with what was quickly becoming a new normal.  

The Need for Speed

The pandemic caused businesses to pivot in a number ways. They needed to be able to adjust to the rapidly changing environment and speed-to-market became a critical role in successfully doing so.

Immediate turnaround was required for changes to planned events and for brand messaging to be sensitive to pandemic.  There was also a need for entirely new creative with more time-relevant offerings.  The last-minute nature of many of these changes ran into serious hurdles whenever external agencies were involved in the response, as their turnaround times are often measured in days, when the business needed response in hours—or less. By contrast, in-house marketing teams  have found that they've been able to cut out the tedious back and forth with partners, significantly avoiding delay in creative.

Operating as an in-house marketing agency model allowed these businesses to take action and keep up with the current trends in a way that seems to be more in synch with the newly emerging post-pandemic work. In short, in-house is in style—in a very big way. 

The Need for Flexibility

Now more than ever, marketing teams need the ability to bend and respond. Especially during the pandemic, with new protocols and updates every day, marketers needed to be able to respond to these changes. 

Changing rules required in-house teams to be able to version different creative to comply with CDC standards and any unpredicted changes in original marketing plans. 

In response to the pandemic, there was also a massive shift to digital marketing. Organizations with in-house creative operations were able to to adapt and keep with current marketing trends in a timely fashion. Companies were able to take action on maximizing their marketing efforts through the most effective means at just the right moment, such as webinars and virtual events.

digital experience/transformation initiative bar graph

Source: In-House Agency Forum

This ability to remain flexible to keep up with current trends gave companies with an in-house agency a competitive edge. 

Doing More With Less

It's no surprise that as a result of the pandemic, businesses everywhere were looking to reduce costs, in a number of ways. 

How did these businesses remain resilient in the face of unwanted budget cuts and reduced employee headcount?

You guessed it.

More was brought in-house to help manage enterprise costs. With reduced budgets, organizations relied more on their internal team and did less work with outside agencies. One speaker at the IHAF event even shared that they were able to dramatically slash production costs by 90% by shifting in-house.

In efforts to manage costs for the enterprise, in-house agency models either newly took shape or became vital for organizations who were no strangers to the idea of in-housing. For 55% of ANA respondents, their in-house agency has been the most important partner in these difficult times.

Optimize In-House Marketing Operations With CampaignDrive

CampaignDrive by Pica9 is the one-stop shop marketing toolkit that allows distributed brands customize and distribute creative across locations. CampaignDrive helps reduce the number of one-off design requests for in-house teams and put an end to local marketing chaos.

To learn how CampaignDrive helps in-house teams improve speed-to-market and streamline creative processes,  speak with an expert today.

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Published by Sarah Bright January 3, 2022
Sarah Bright