Let’s assume you spend time on a regular basis reviewing your customers, your brand, your market position, and your message. How often do you think about exactly how you are going to deliver that plan? Do you have the flexibility to allow for increases and decreases in tempo and project requirements? Do you have enough overlap to deal with different projects running at once? How do you plan for crisis management?
Marketing resourcing could be done in one of three ways. In-house, Hybrid or Out-house… I mean Agency.
In-house resourcing is popular at the moment with the pervasive nature of cost cutting within companies. It is generally easier to explain FTE than to explain agency costs. And they also normally fall into different budget lines. This approach allows for a team who are fully focused on the brand and the projects to invest all of their time into the outcomes. The challenges are that most companies cannot afford to have the right mix of expertise in-house for all of the possible eventualities and, there is not more room for expansion where there is project overlap, crisis management or just general momentary increases in requirements.
The second method is hybrid, where you have an in-house team that manages some parts of the marketing program and you bring in an agency or agencies to do specific skill sets or projects. This is good for when a company is in a growth mode as it allows for extra resources to be brought on as needed. It also means you can assign specific skills mixes best as they are needed for specific projects, or for where you have a short fall. The disadvantage is that you generally will have a less connected team, or you will spend much more time [money] on briefing and team management.
The third model is to fully outsource to an agency, which needs to be full service, like us, or to at least be happy to manage all of the other agencies involved. You come back to having a single team to lead that is of one mind to lead your brand development and communication projects. You lose a little control [or a lot if you pick the wrong agency], as the agency gets to decide what of their work you get to see. The costs can be either higher or lower than the other two models depending on the agency and the deal you have struck. But probably the biggest advantage is it becomes the agency’s responsibility to provide the resource pool, both in respect to capacity and well as skill set. You get to dial up and down your team as you need them.
So, how do you decide? We think all three options are relevant in the right situations. We work in relationships with clients that span both option two and three. The important thing is to look forward and think about what your needs will be down the track and get the mix right before you get to the point where you need to flick the switch. Go in-house too quickly and you will lose all of the embedded knowledge that has built up in the agency, or agencies you’ve been working with. Dump everyone and outsource and you will find a long learning curve for the agency to get up to speed.
You may fall into a different category all together. You may have not considered marketing at all until now and be not sure where to turn. Our advice, find a strategy partner that can have a look at your business and your goals and guide you through the process of deciding which model is best.
The most important thing is to think about it [or pay someone else to]. Times change, business changes and goals change. The way you plan to resource your activity should too.
It is what you do, and the way that you do it.