ORLANDO—The latest Association of National Advertisers survey regarding in-house agencies at marketers shows they have grown in use to 78% of ANA members in 2018 versus 42% in 2008. To the president and CEO of the 4A’s, which represents outside agencies, numbers don’t represent the entire range of attributes that agencies bring to the table for marketers.

“I took the time to read through it and understand what they were seeing, and I think that sometimes there are facts that are buried in that tell a broader story, Marla Kaplowitz says in this interview with Beet.TV at the recent Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing conference. “We speak to agencies every single day who are either working with some in house teams or they’re working directly with marketers. And there is no right way and you have to really consider what is right for you.”

The ANA surveyed 412 of its members in August 2018, 52% of whom were at the director level or above. For 44% of respondents, their in-house agency was established within the past five years, contributing to the recent rise in overall penetration of in-house agencies, according to the survey.

Among other survey findings, services performed in-house that have grown significantly over the past five years are content marketing, creative strategy,
 data/marketing analytics,
 media strategy,
 programmatic media and
 social media (both creative and media).

The survey reveals that top perceived benefits of in-house agencies are:

*Cost efficiencies

*Better knowledge of brands

*Institutional knowledge

*Dedicated staff

*Speed, nimbleness

Asked to identify a single primary benefit of having an in-house agency, cost efficiencies was top ranked by a wide margin, according to the survey.

“The most telling stat in the report is that 90 percent of ANA members still continue to work with an outside agency,” Kaplowitz says. “I think that when you look at the kind of work that is going on right now in the marketplace, from media and the complexity that is happening in the digital supply chain, if you’re looking at programmatic and all the technology, you need outside perspective.”

She adds that producing “brilliant” creative requires “outside provocation and thinking. When you’re working with an agency on content, you want a strategic planner who is looking at what is going on in culture and not just looking at one particular brand but looking across all the different categories and working with different people in the agencies.”

Kaplowitz says the most important thing to understand about agencies is their ability to help drive business growth and “helping to be an extension of that client and that client team. You need that outside perspective, you need that outside thinking to push and provoke.  You don’t get that when you’re with your own team.”

This series “Growing Brands and Driving Results,” was produced at the ANA Masters in Marketing ’18 conference in Orlando. The series is sponsored by the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video. Please find additional coverage here.