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3 drivers to consider for on-site agency operations

As companies look to improve their marketing agility and cost-cutting efforts, many are bringing their agency partners on-site. According to James Sanderson, managing director, Wunderman Inside, on-site teams can sometimes deliver work 50-percent faster and some companies have reported saving as much as 30 percent of marketing spend.

During the Campaign Insight webinar “In-housing: the fast track to brilliance—or blandness”, sponsored by OpenText Hightail, he shared three key components to successful on-site agency operations. “It’s about the people you have in the business, the processes that they work to and the technology they’re using to deliver the work and to ensure that the workers are continually optimizing their performance.”

People – Sanderson pointed out the importance of nurturing, inspiring, supporting and developing talent. Toward those efforts, Wunderman Inside provides on-site teams with a capability lead, one of the more senior people in the agency, to take responsibility for the on-site work—and they ensure the work is equal to or even better than the work at the actual agency. This can go a long way vs. hiring talent in-house. Sanderson said that one client said that if you’re going to hire a designer, it’s a snapshot in time. “You’ve got a very talented designer, but because they don’t have a design leader to work into and be inspired by, then arguably their skills or inspirational motivation may wane over time.” He said, “This is a key point, and we think that actually an on-site agency de-risks an in-house operation.”

Processes – Wunderman’s studies have shown that taking advantage of close proximity to a client means agencies can deliver at a much greater pace—even the previously mentioned 50-percent faster. Sanderson added that it’s important that the processes they use are “super-agile” and that they take advantage of having that proximity, while also avoiding the temptation for clients to get very hands on. He said it also offers an opportunity to make “resource triage” decisions hand-in-hand with the clients about whether or not the work is done by the on-site team, back at the main agency where there are more specialized skills or even offshore.

Platforms – From a technology perspective, Sanderson said on-site agencies have to think differently too. He said they need to think about workflow technology and how to work with external and internal partners—remembering that they’re on the client side of the firewall and work may require using specific client IT platforms. “That brings complexity, but also advantage because potentially you have more access to greater sources of data and client tools.” (File sharing and collaboration applications like Hightail help teams to easily share ideas and content both inside and outside of the firewall.)

Sanderson added, “So the people, processes and technology components are very different working on-site, but if you get them right, then it brings advantages.” In addition to having more agility and a greater chance of having a shared agenda, on-site teams are “more efficient, there are less layers, and they’re not carrying over many of the overheads that agencies carry.” He added, “Agencies know how to get the talent to perform in the way that they would if they were in an agency.”

For more insights on on-site agencies, read “Better client collaborations: The benefits and best practices of on-site agencies” or watch the webinar on demand.

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