New Oliver/ISBA research promotes in-house agencies

In-house agency specialist Oliver has teamed with ISBA and research consultancy Future Thinking in a new piece of research – to be announced at Advertising Week Europe today – that purports to show that 62 per cent of advertisers are shifting towards stronger relationships with fewer suppliers and about 40 per cent have or are considering in-house or on-site agencies (not quite sure what the difference is).

Which Oliver offers of course although it’s not the only one. The&Partnership and Wunderman now have a 90-strong unit called Pulse in News UK’s Southwark HQ while T&P’s new deal to handle Toyota Europe is based on a number of in-house facilities across the continent.

The report says that this shift in the UK is being driven mostly by the need for closer collaboration, deep sector knowledge, data confidentiality and transparency, as content needs increase across all channels.

Other findings are that:

*68 per cent of marketers are frustrated with the time it takes external agencies to make decisions or turn around briefs. This dropped to eight per cent for on-site and 20 per cent for in-house agencies.

*Marketers were the key decision makers in hiring agencies, with procurement having a background role (43 per cent said that procurement was either not very or not at all influential).

*Among the key advantages respondents identified for selecting an on-site agency were the desire for speed and agility (86 per cent), improved cost efficiencies (68 per cent), collaboration (64 per cent), and operational control (54 per cent).

ISBA’s Debbie Morrison (left) says: “Agility is increasingly a big issue for clients, especially in relation to digital activities, so it is no surprise that we are seeing a rise in these types of activities being handled in-house and particularly with on-site agencies. Adapting to the new demands that marketers have should be a key priority for agencies as they encounter an increasingly competitive market.”

Creative expertise in such agencies was only cited by 33 per cent of respondents though, which is the other side of the argument. There’s no doubt that in-house/on-site agencies offer many benefits but, so far anyway, they’ve yet to show they can take over the transformative, brand-building role of the best agencies operating independently.

One crumb of comfort for such agencies as more bricks rain down on them from ISBA’s direction.

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