Inhousing Agencies Agency Leadership

The great strategic shift: Navigating the transition from outsourcing to in-housing

By Megan Vergé, Editorial consultant

Maker Lab


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September 15, 2023 | 6 min read

Is the marketing industry swinging back from outsourcing to inhousing? Maker Lab’s Megan Vergé – here, she shares how the industry can prepare.

A toy house, in close up

/ Viraj Patel via Unsplash

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, companies are constantly searching for ways to streamline operations, optimize efficiency, and maximize workflows. No longer content with simple service providers, brands are actively seeking growth partners capable of seamlessly integrating into their organizational fabric, leading to a seismic shift from outsourcing to in-housing.

A transformative change in work dynamics

This transition isn’t just a fleeting trend; it represents a transformative change spurred by seismic shifts in work dynamics. While outsourcing may have offered short-term gains, it often results in reduced control over crucial elements like quality and strategy.

Relying solely on external entities could lead to a disconnect between a company's vision and the execution by service providers. The potential result? A lag in responsiveness and a compromise in the agility that’s pivotal for sustaining competitive edge.

Revolutionizing business partnerships: In-housing transformative impact

This shift is merely the tip of the iceberg. The trajectory towards in-housing, where key functions are internalized, is set to disrupt the conventional agency landscape in unprecedented ways. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) found that 78% of respondents attribute in-housing to the desire for greater control over creative services, aligning strategies with business goals, and enabling agile responses to dynamic market shifts.

This transformation marks not only a strategic pivot but a cultural shift within organizations. One where teams cultivate a profound understanding of the company’s ethos, dissolving the traditional boundaries of service provider relationships to give way to a harmonious blend of creativity, innovation, and strategic vision.

Empowering organizations through strategic transition

In-housing will continue to disrupt the traditional agency landscape, fostering a powerful alliance where collaboration meets ingenuity and boundaries are broken. Embodying a deeper commitment and keeping their finger on the pulse of its operations, these teams offer a spectrum of benefits. A recent McKinsey report revealed that the highest-performing talent are 800% more productive than average performers in the same role, highlighting the importance of identifying and nurturing top-tier talent.

In this landscape, the perspective of my colleague Matt Shoult, founder and chief executive of Maker Lab, resonates: “We invest in team design and talent acquisition because we believe that getting the right people to work together on the right brand is half the battle. We equip each micro-agency with a custom technology stack and continually review to maximize impact.”

Freed from the constraints of external contracts and communication barriers, these teams foster an environment where ideas can flow seamlessly from conception to execution. With an internal workforce deeply aligned with the company’s vision and values, the creative process is streamlined, leading to more innovative solutions that resonate with the target audience.

Research by BCG underscores the agility of in-house teams, showcasing a remarkable 60% reduction in end-to-end campaign execution time. This flexible response to market changes resonates with the growing need for adaptable strategies.

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Benefits beyond financial calculations: The power of in-housing

In-house operations offer not just short-term efficiencies but enduring cost-effectiveness. In-housing reduces media markups, fees, and waste, usually uncovering savings of between 15% - 25%. This creative synergy isn’t limited to marketing efforts alone; it extends across various departments, whose teams are better equipped to understand the nuances of products, services, and customer expectations.

This transition to in-housing transcends financial considerations. It empowers organizations to reclaim control of their narratives, streamline operations, and cultivate a culture of creativity. The future lies in business partnerships that support growth, learning, and shared success rather than mere transactions. By engineering this future, companies can embrace a transformative strategy that ensures success long term.

This model not only maintains a competitive edge but defines it.

Inhousing Agencies Agency Leadership

Content by The Drum Network member:

Maker Lab

Maker Lab is a marketing consultancy established in 2015 with a talent-centric approach, designed to build and run in-house micro-agencies alongside our clients.


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