I was reading a post from The Drum on how most CMO's plan to in-house digital. This in itself is nothing new and in many ways was triggered by the fabulous work done by the Government Digital Service. Companies such as The Coop, Sainsbury's, Autotrader have all created their own dedicated digital teams and clearly other brands and companies will follow this trend to a greater or lesser extent.
This obviously presents a problem for agencies who have benefited from outsourcing models for eons. Especially when you consider some of the stats shared in this article.
Less than half (43%) of chief marketing officers agree that agencies do a good job of providing fully integrated solutions.
There are too many agencies claiming to be full service. Very few actually are. How many agency websites start with 'We're a full service agency'. How can they be? Yes, they might have experience with integrated campaigns, but how can they know everything? The tech and tools are changing so much, it's impossible. And full service to whom? Just because they might meet all the needs of one client, doesn't automatically mean they will for others.
In some cases, teams might follow a Hollywood Model where they build up their own tailored team (akin to a film cast) to meet the requirements of the project. But...
Only 36% believe agencies are ‘good’ collaborators when it comes to driving long-term executions.
To be fair, I think this quote relates to the way agencies are collaborating with clients, rather than how they work with partners. But, it's indicative of a need to be fully transparent around their collaborative approach, and be more realistic about their abilities.
I don't believe there are many true full service agencies. We've always collaborated and made it clear who we're collaborating with, and why. I hate the idea of collaborators being masked behind the scenes, given team email addresses and so on. It's far from transparent and the wheels of collaboration will eventually fall off.
Collaboration is about fitting in with the client. Clients are looking for online partnerships that complement their in-house capabilities.
Thankfully in the same report:
41% of chief marketing officers anticipate an increase in the work they do with agency partners
I think one one of the key opportunities for agencies here is that in-house teams can become trapped in their own worlds. Agencies can offer that broader insight and bring experience from other projects to add value to in-house teams. Alongside that, coaching and digital leadership will also be new ways in which agencies can support their clients.