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The In-House Agency Leaders Club (IHALC) have produced the first in-depth survey on the state of the IHA sector in Europe. Marketing Procurement iQ review the comprehensive 28-page report which can be downloaded in full from the article.
Deep Dive Insights
Conducted with 50 prominent brands, including industry leaders such as Citi, The Body Shop, Specsavers, Three, BP, Reckitt, and Channel 4, the IHALC survey offers a comprehensive analysis of the in-house agency landscape
In today’s ever-evolving marketing landscape, in-house agencies (IHAs) are emerging as powerful entities capable of delivering outstanding creative work while driving significant cost savings.
A recent report by the UK based In House Agency Leaders Club (IHALC) reveals a remarkable shift in the confidence and capabilities of IHAs, with a growing number of brands successfully executing above-the-line creative ideas, production and distribution.
You can download the full report here
With the aim of shedding light on this sector, the IHALC survey dives deep into the DNA of IHAs, providing invaluable insights into their structures, skills, workflows, technologies, and ambitions. Let’s explore the findings and understand how IHAs can chart a course towards even greater success.
When specialist In-House Agency consultancy WDC started IHALC. with ex D&AD CEO and Editor of Creative Review Patrick Burgoyne at the helm in 2020, what struck them was the lack of research and data on the in-house agency sector in the UK and EMEA – unlike the USA where the In-House Agency Forum (IHAF In-House Agency conference) and Association of National Advertisers (ANA In-House Agency conference) are very active, reflecting the relative maturity and scale of the market compared to Europe, but that is rapidly changing evident by the number of companies that now have IHAs.
A Comprehensive Study:
Conducted with 50 prominent brands, including industry leaders such as Citi, The Body Shop, Specsavers, Three, BP, Reckitt, and Channel 4, the IHALC survey offers a comprehensive analysis of the in-house agency landscape.
Unlike previous studies that focused solely on marketers’ perspectives, this report delves into the inner workings of IHAs themselves. It not only presents quantitative data but also provides a nuanced understanding of the aspirations, attitudes, and challenges faced by IHAs, with expert analysis from WDC consultants Nicky Russell, Jo Rolfe, and John Owen.
Unveiling Ambitions and Challenges:
The survey findings reveal an inherent desire among IHAs to be recognized for their creativity above all else. However, it also highlights certain gaps in capabilities and processes that hinder their pursuit of this goal.
For instance, only 35% of IHAs currently have a strategic planning role in place, underscoring the need to bridge this crucial gap. Additionally, IHAs face significant challenges with briefing, with 54% of IHA leaders rating the quality of their briefs as 4/10 or less. Ironically, this echoes a common lament from external agencies as well.
Overcoming Operational Hurdles:
While IHAs undeniably achieve substantial savings through in-housing, operational issues pose significant hurdles. The majority of IHAs do not track or cost projects at a granular level, leading to governance and efficiency challenges. A lack of time and forward planning emerged as the most significant barrier to producing better work.
Furthermore, internal bureaucracy often hampers the approval of tech systems, impeding seamless integration and hindering collaboration. IHAs are seeking work management technologies that can facilitate planning, prioritization, and streamlined approvals.
Driving Excellence and Building Relationships:
The survey underscores IHAs’ priorities for the year ahead, with raising creative standards taking the top spot. However, improving relationships with brief owners and stakeholders is a close second, followed by enhancing effectiveness, refining processes, and building reputation.
These interconnected elements are essential for driving success and growth. Improved processes will enhance the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of the IHA’s current work. By actively listening to and understanding the challenges faced by business unit heads, IHAs can identify opportunities to take on “stretch” projects, thereby expanding their capabilities and bolstering their reputation.
A Bright Future for IHAs:
Every IHA is unique, tailored to meet the specific needs of its business, its market and customers. However, the survey reveals a collective desire among IHAs to evolve and broaden their capabilities.
Successful IHA leaders are fervent advocates for their agencies, consistently making their case and winning over colleagues. With the support of their procurement and marketing colleagues, in-house agencies are poised for an exciting future.