What Spotify, Barclays and Airbnb have in common?
Aside from the fact that they all use tech, they have also realised the importance of building an in-house creative team.
In this article I want to share with you some of the insights I learned around the importance of building an in-house creative team if you’re looking to grow your tech startup.
The balance of internal & external resources are integral to the growth of any company, especially a tech brand. I learned first-hand that when building an in-house creative team for one of our clients, kwiff.
This is what the in-house & external agency landscape looked like in 2018, according to the Association of National Advertisers: 
- 58% of all work is done in-house
- 90% of in-house agencies work with external partners
“The ideal relationship between external and internal is an AND, rather than an OR.”
The whole notion of in-house agencies really boomed around the 2008 - the year of the infamous economic crash. At that time, the main motivator for business to bring the creative work in-house was the reduction of cost .
Unfortunately, the early rise of in-house agencies created a connotation that the quality of work produced in-house is inferior to the quality of an external agency. One of the main reasons for that presumption was the “b category” talent that was hired into the businesses.
However, this could not be further from the truth in the 2020s. As businesses become more and more digital by default, the number of marketing channels grows and with that grows the volume of work a brand needs to do to stay on top. Especially when marketing directly to consumer.
Building an in-house agency is an excellent move. It yields lots of benefits, especially long-term. However, it comes with a lot of challenges too.
In my opinion, we’re very much in a “new agency era” where the in-house creative teams and external agencies coexist, not compete. They are both absolutely crucial for business growth.
The shift in the market towards more in-house agencies has, and has to have, an effect on how the collaboration between internal & external teams unfolds. The external agencies have to offer a product and service offering that supports the internal teams.
The benefits of building an In-House Creative Agency in a tech startup
Let’s look at some of the benefits of having an efficient in-house creative agency:
In-house agencies are fantastic at understanding the business and understanding the brand. 
- First and foremost, a massive strength of an in-house agency is being close to the brand and the business. It’s great to have a team of dedicated creatives who are in the same (or next) building as your product or finance team.
- Secondly, you’re gaining speed and agility in the delivery of creative projects. The in-house teams have instant access to the decision makers and can get stuff done very fast.
- Access to legal counsel. This is especially useful for any social media activity. If your social managers or content creators have quick access to the legal help they can sign off any social post very quickly. That naturally leads to being very reactive on social media, which is what is required if you want to thrive in that space.
- Owning the data. Data - I think it is one of the most popular 4 letter words in the advertising industry right now. In-house agencies have constant access to the data and can leverage that in a customer-centric approach across the business.
- Knowing the customer - most successful B2C brands have been built on leveraging the insights into their user base into product development and marketing campaigns