Agencies vs In-House. It's a battle for control

 |  By: Steve Johnson In: Managing clients | Visibility | Trends

Agencies vs in-house

According to Digiday this week, part of the appeal for brands to move in-house is their desire to increase their control. Their survey claims that 38% of brand marketers believe going in-house delivers that.


Going in-house isn't that easy

Of course, changing to in-house clearly brings issues for the brand. It can be costly, for example, particularly if looking to build up technological capabilities.

But the biggest issue seems to be that of keeping talent happy while working on only one brand. In an ANA survey, 63% of respondents stated that ‘keeping internal talent energized was their biggest concern’.


In-house has big limitations

Another issue is that control can’t be achieved if the in-house facility can’t keep up.

“We’re in an explosion of content” said Clorox CMO Stacey Grier. Grier noted that their company will probably never be 100% in-house with creative or media. They will use a hybrid model.

“We feel like we’re going to need probably five times the content we need today,” said Grier. “The only way we’re going to be able to do that is [by] having great external partners.”

So, control is a difficult thing for the client to achieve. Now let's switch to the agency point of view.

Control is what agencies want too

'Control' is a hot word right now. Everybody wants more of it. They want to own their own data, be able to act fast without relying on others, know where the costs are going to and where the hours are being spent. Agencies are as keen as clients are to get all this.

How can agencies achieve it? They often choose Synergist for that very reason. Here are some examples.

1. Control of information

Andy Wainwright of Fifth Ring, the B2B marketing agency, was effusive about the ongoing effects of installing Synergist.

“It’s a vast improvement on our previous software. We have full control of [the] job system and can extract detailed reports at every level."

“Monthly agency financial reports are now a dream to produce, taking minutes rather than hours to deliver.

“The biggest impact has been the huge reduction in tiresome and repetitive administration tasks, which has resulted in a considerable time and cost saving for the agency."

2. Control over projects and capacity

Ian Fiddler, Head of Business Operations at Enjoy Digital, told us:

"Our client services team can provide the client with an estimated delivery or go-live date which is more accurate than we could have previously supplied."

"We hold morning scrum meetings each day, where we go through all tasks that are due to be completed and who will be working on them. Synergist makes it easier to plan this, and to see whether or not we’re at capacity.”

3. Control over time and resources

Liam Herbert, JBP's then Managing Director, told us:

“Synergist has placed account administration control in the hands of those people that directly manage the business. This has had the highly beneficial effect of raising commercial awareness among the client management team.”

“Since installation, we have been able to pull together consistently accurate information for job reporting, which has resulted in far better control of both our time and resources.”

4. Control of project management

Jeff Laird, On-Line Design's Chairman, said:

“As the company grew, it became increasingly difficult to control and report on the amount of hours that were being booked to projects.”

“Synergist gives us the visibility of projects that we need. It gives us efficiencies. It reduces costs on jobs. And it gives us control.”

5. The reassurance that control brings

Gary Winder, Managing Director of environmental consultancy REC, told us:

“Managers can delegate and see that everything’s reassuringly under control, and it helps them see their area as a business, making their priorities and decisions clearer.”

"You need to be in control of time and be able to manage it. You need to know exactly how busy you are.”


Control of projects is gold, whichever side of the battle you're on. If you don't have it, what hope is there of thriving in skirmishes to come? With the right technology, you can put yourself back in the driving seat.


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