Brands are bringing their agency work in-house. Here’s why.

Moving at the speed of digital while dealing with a talent crunch? Things were bound to break sometime.

Brands are leaving external agencies in favor of internal talent, citing better brand chops (!), ability to move at the speed of digital and reduced production costs. Here’s our breakdown of the new research released in the WSJ:


  • From 2008 → 2018, brands with in-house agencies increased from 42% → 64%
  • Advantages cited include:
    • Knowledge of the brand (#1)
    • Knowledge of the business (#2)
    • Cost effectiveness
    • Speed
    • Confidentiality
    • Dedicated resources

Our take:

  • Marketing is now basically everything, so it’s pretty hard to outsource it. Show me a successful company where technology, customer service, product quality, etc. aren’t inextricably tied… add the need for rapid response on top of it, and the idea of an in-house team of strategists and creatives that can rally toward your objectives (and only your objectives) becomes even more obvious for a CMO.


  • Ad creative is outrageously expensive (looking at you TV) and arguably less important than ever as consumers are more empowered to ignore ads and attention shifts to more quality interactions.


  • Agencies haven’t helped themselves by overselling, stretching employees too thin and leaving clients with less-than-stellar service. BTW, how many yachts did you count at Cannes this year?


  • Pilots are the new black. Marketing is on a new frontier, and experimentation wins the day. An agency model scales best on a set process and products, but brands are over being shoehorned and are looking to build their own best practices through trial-and-error. R


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