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Four in ten marketers (42%) have established in-house ad agencies – and most of them say they did so with the intent of achieving cost efficiencies/cost savings – according to a survey of Association of National Advertisers (ANA) member companies, MarketingVox reports.

Cost efficiencies/savings was also cited both as the primary advantage (by a wide margin) of having an in-house agency and as the “most important success” of having one. Achieving quicker turnaround times was the second most frequently cited “success.”

Marketers’ major critique of in-house agencies was that most lacked “a depth of strategic thinking” (61%), and about half said it was difficult for internal teams to come up with fresh ideas.

Roles for in-house agencies vary widely, from creative development, to repurposing work developed by an external agency, to production, the study found. In-house agencies typically handle the following:

  • Collateral, such as point-of-sale displays, brochures and other material (97%)
  • Internal/company communications (82%)
  • Internal/company videos (69%)
  • Brand-identity efforts (66%)
  • Direct mail (65%)
  • Website creation/maintenance (65%)
  • Online banners and other “static” online creative (62%)
  • Other services, such as TV advertising, packaging, search engine marketing

Moreover, 35% of marketers tasked their in-house agencies with media planning, and 24% added media buying to the load.

Other findings:

  • In 58% of companies, in-house agencies report to the marketing services or communications department.
  • 17% of in-house agencies have P&L responsibilities.
  • 98% have US facilities, with a few companies maintaining offshore facilities.

“This study suggests that more and more companies are finding advantages to bringing some capabilities in-house and charging these groups with duties across the board,” said ANA President/CEO Bob Liodice.

About the study: ANA’s research was conducted online in August 2008. The ANA will release the complete findings on September 25.

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