Today, companies grow through marketing, advertising and other digital efforts. No matter what channel you choose to communicate through, you will most likely need a creative team to execute on marketing initiatives. The creative team will often produce digital and traditional ads, develop a website, launch nurture campaigns, produce video and many other marketing deliverables.
To do this, a company will need to consider either building their own in-house creative team or outsourcing the work to a creative agency. This decision is no easy task because there are pros and cons to both scenarios. As the Director of Marketing and someone who manages a small in-house creative team, I want to share with you four reasons why you should consider building your own in-house creative team.
1. Keep your brand and culture connected
One of the most valuable aspects of having your creative team working in-house is how deeply connected they are to your company mission, vision and culture. Working day in and day out living and breathing your brand can make producing creative work easier and faster.
You can be confident that the creative work produced will be the result of a true understanding of your products and services because your team has become familiar with your company brand, your differentiators, your audience and the image you want to depict. If you are considering outsourcing the work, be prepared to potentially spend more time explaining your goals, the scope of work and the expectations so your outside creative agency can produce work that will easily align with your brand.
Let's also not forget about culture fit. Having an in-house creative team not only allows each individual the opportunity to connect their personal efforts with the success of the company, but he/she will become more vested in their career direction. The more time your creative team spends on collaborative projects, team building events and other company gatherings, the greater the opportunity for them to make a positive impact on the work they produce.
2. Reduce cost
Our in-house creative team moves very quickly on projects, whether we are producing a marketing piece for print, designing a booth for a conference or developing a digital campaign. Having a creative team in-house allows us to shift between projects quickly and relieves the stress of being charged rush fees by outside agencies that could potentially impact the department's budget.
For example, if you have a hybrid designer who can create a marketing brochure and design digital ads and website landing pages, it's going to be much cheaper for your company to do it all in-house than to outsource all this work to an agency. The agency will most likely assign this project to two separate people (a graphic designer and a web designer) and bill you hourly for both of their time.
When discussing cost, it's important to note that there are circumstances where cheaper is not better. If you have a small team and great talent on staff and can produce good work, then having a small in-house creative team makes perfect sense.
But, if you have to produce highly creative work (often called Tier 1 work) and you need conceptual writing and design but only have an entry-level designer working for you, you may find that the work produced was neither very good, nor very effective in getting the ROI you needed. In this situation, hiring an outside agency may be the best choice because their qualified team can mostly likely come up with great creative in a shorter period of time and ensure you get the results you are looking for.
You can also consider the best of both of worlds by having your in-house creative team execute on the large number of projects that support the business, and then working with an outside agency to fill in the expertise gaps.
3. Continuously measure ROI
If you have invested in the technology and infrastructure to record meaningful information from customer acquisition like our company has done, you may want to contemplate building an in-house creative team. When you continuously measure and analyze ROI from campaigns, you will want to assess the creative work being produced to improve results.
Having an in-house creative team ready to step in at a moment's notice to adjust creative or address real-time actions can be crucial to the success of any marketing campaign or advertising opportunity. Our team is constantly evolving to improve the quality of the creative output and to take actions from data we collect so we provide solutions tailored to each type of customer.
4. Leverage the depth of knowledge and strong relationships
Having your creative team in-house allows each individual the opportunity to interact with company stakeholders at any time. This constant interaction strengthens relationships and can help the creative team promote its services to additional internal stakeholders in support of future company growth. Getting executive buy-in on budget, project types and programs is key to running a productive and efficient creative team.
When you have a team of people with different skills collaborating each day, individuals may have a chance to gain new proficiencies and to increase the productivity of the team. What better way to gain knowledge than from your peers while on the job? Make sure to also push your team to innovate with each other while staying focused on achieving your company's mission and vision.
There are many more reasons to consider why you should or should not build an in-house creative team. For us, it made sense and although we do have an-house creative team, there are often times when we do bring in freelancers or outside agencies to help with either increased volume of work or expertise we do not have in-house.
Before you decide to build your in-house creative team, determine what value your creative team will bring the organization and what capabilities will best support company growth and success. Other considerations include: What funding model should I use? What's my talent strategy? What project management tool should I use? Answering all these questions can be time consuming, but if your company culture is strong, you invest in your people and your brand, and you have a desire to execute quickly on marketing initiatives, you may want to build an in-house creative team versus outsourcing the work.