Should we take it in-house or outsource to an agency?

Having an in-house creative team is often perceived as a positive move as the demand for more intensive forms of marketing (such as social media and blogging) increases. Not only do online platforms require a nimbler response, but also MDs and marketing directors are looking to do more, with less, and reduce costs.

But is it really more economical to take creative in-house? Will it really improve performance?

Before taking the plunge and diving in the deep end, perhaps consider these FAQs and weigh it up for yourself.


Is in-house resource more cost-effective than using an external agency?

Or is this false economy? Consider all the expenses of full time employees: National Insurance, pension contributions, holiday allowance, health insurance, desk space, travel expenses, and the costs in time and money of recruitment. Even consider the cost of free tea and coffee.

Won’t the in-house team be more responsive, act faster, and keep up with online marketing demands easier?

The speed of turnaround depends on the type of work, and the availability of your in-house team, or worse still, your one designer. If a large project comes in, such as a website design, it may be overwhelming or demand a different skillset. At an external agency, there is the ability to be more agile. Furthermore, you can rely on a creative agency to use its resources to pull together the right team for the right production with immediate effect.

Won’t an in-house creative team understand us better?

True that an in-house team should have an excellent understanding of the brand. However, an external creative agency will have a clearer perspective overall, so they can step back and see the bigger picture. This avoids disasters, such as the well-known blunder in 2017 that was Pepsi’s ad with Kylie Jenner. Creative agencies will have taken a variety of journeys with different brands and a range of media, and media agencies. This enables them to avoid common (and current) pitfalls.

Isn’t an in-house creative team more productive?

An in-house team may be so absorbed in their daily output that they often don’t spend enough time in developing their knowledge of new technologies and techniques, or understanding their customers. This can lead to formulaic thinking that causes wasted investment in time and money, and poor productivity overall. Creative thinking and conceptual design need a particular process and sometimes a different environment; the best ideas don’t always come when sat in a corporate office.

Meanwhile, a creative agency will only charge a client for the time spent on a campaign or project; and since effectiveness is their currency, they will constantly strive to be efficient, resourceful and show value for money.

Won’t we have more support, collaboration and integrated work from an in-house creative team?

It may be misguided to think that there will be more collaboration and support internally when many large companies suffer from silo work patterns and disparate teams. A creative agency often has access to the wider variety of stakeholders as they are able to bypass hierarchal structures to partner with the client and ensure the effectiveness of the creative work that is being done.

With our ability to offer a better employee package, won’t we be able to attract better talent?

Gifted creative people are often attracted to the variety of work that agencies do. So, while it is possible to attract skilled people, it can be extremely difficult to retain that talent. Furthermore, it’s harder to terminate an in-house employee’s contract if they under-perform. A creative agency must constantly meet the highest standards to ensure its own success.

So, what’s the answer?

Like all things in life, whether it’s best to recruit an in-house design team or outsource to a creative agency depends on many factors. Costs may be saved but creativity may be compromised. An in-house team may feel like they are close to your brand whereas an agency may feel less so.

At TW, our clients often say we are like an extension of their team, so maybe we can offer you the benefits of both worlds?