New Health Check for In-House Agencies: Helping CMOs Drive Performance

16 May 2022

It’s no secret that in-housing is growing. It has gone from being a trend to being a normal part of a modern brand’s marketing ecosystem. In recent research from AAR and The Drum across 100 CMOs, 52% of their marketing is delivered in-house, 25% out-sourced and 23% in-sourced. That research also suggested that it will grow further still, particularly in social, brand advertising and media.

Whether a client employs an external, out-sourced agency or creates their own in-house agency the need to review after around 6 months or when enough activity has been delivered to get an informed perspective is crucial. It’s a chance to check on the health of the inputs, outputs and outcomes vs the intent, ambition and business case justifications. What is exceeding expectations, what is just about on track and what is off considering people, process and performance? What’s going really well and can be expanded, and what are the emerging niggles that need addressing now before it becomes a barrier or block to pace or quality? 

At AAR, we have always believed that first review needs a very specific approach and a very specific assessment tool. And the specific timing of it is driven by research which told us that 66% of Clients say they are disappointed with their external agencies 6 months post pitch, and 75% of Agencies have the same feedback on their Clients. That’s why we invented Health Check 15 years ago for newly formed external client: agency relationships. 

Health Check for In-House Agencies 

As in-housing is now part of the blended marketing ecosystem, CMOs need to have checks and balances in place for their in-house teams, just as they do with external partners, so we’re delighted to launch our new Health Check for In-House Agencies. This specifically helps businesses who moved to an in-house agency model within the last 6 months or so and want a progress report to check they are all on track. The online diagnostic tool only takes 20 minutes to complete and allows internal stakeholders and in-house agency team members across a range of seniority to provide mutual feedback on how well key elements of the relationship are working.

As well as flagging any areas that need addressing and recommending a development plan, AAR uses the data and insights to give an impartial perspective comparing the results to other in-house agency teams at a similar stage for broader context and avoiding any accusations that the brand is marking its own homework!

We know that having an in-house agency is a big responsibility, comprising a mix of hard measures such as the FTE and headcount sitting with the business, and the soft measures of owning more subjective topics like creative output and creative operations.

With great power comes great responsibility. But with that accountability comes the ability to affect change more directly. Health Check is an essential tool that will help CMOs manage the performance of their in-house agency, ensuring it delivers against its commercial and creative objectives and will help guide the business through the norming, storming and performing phases.

If you’re ready to review your in-house agency, are considering in-housing part of your marketing ecosystem, or want to review your external agency’s performance, contact Alex in our Drive practice.

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