The State Of New Business-Are In-House Agencies Losing Luster?


Seemingly a constant topic of agency new business discussion, are in-house agencies losing luster?

Granted, it’s only one report, but in a survey of marketers by the ANA,

63% report challenges around keeping in-house agency talent energized.

Rejoice!  You no longer have to worry!

All kidding aside, I mentioned in a previous post (How Is The In-House Agency Trend Affecting Your Firm?), we’re not seeing this in-house trend affect small-to-mid-sized firms in the same manner as the larger agencies.

Although we are seeing it with those small-to-mid-sized firms who work with bigger companies.

More on that in a moment, but a few other key stats from “Managing In-House Agency Creative”:

  • 44% of in-house agencies struggle with attracting top-tier talent
  • 37% say they’re challenged applying key marketing processes
  • 19% revealed issues with creative tension

All help to make the case for you as an agency, but in the end they’re just stats aren’t they?

If the in-house trend is affecting you, all the stats in the world aren’t going to do a lot in the near term.

The State Of New Business-Are In-House Agencies Losing Luster?

The good news (knock on wood) is, first, this is a cyclical trend and second, for all the reasons above, what will happen in many (most?) cases is a hybrid model where you and an in-house firm co-exist in some manner.

Within that hybrid model, you’ll get those projects the in-house team can’t handle or don’t have time for and that’s not a bad thing.

The much bigger challenge, however, is internal client turnover.

You’ve all been there-things are moving right along with a client and then your direct contact moves on/is fired.

You, of course, have no control over this and the only silver lining is you have a chance of connecting with your contact at her/his next company.

One thing you can do, though:

Never stop prospecting your current clients.

Especially in the hybrid in-house situation I mentioned, where you’re probably working with a bigger client, but it’s something you must do regardless of the situation.

If you’re not the AOR, your client is most likely putting you in that slot.  Oh yeah, any time we have motion graphics needs we call you guys.

But you do more than motion graphics.

You have to gently but continually remind your clients all that you offer.

When you win an award, when you complete new work-find a reason to enter back into your client’s world.

It obviously won’t guarantee success, but not doing it guarantees you have even less of a chance in the future for more and varied work from that client.

I'm the VP of Sales at RSW/US. We specialize in working with services firms to help drive and close new business-if you need help with that, email me at What I actually do: drive sales efforts to bring ad agencies and services firms on board with RSW, create content around successful new business tactics and help drive RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. Dig it.