3 reasons why an outside eye could help your marketing
As increasing numbers of corporations and institutions move to
internalize their marketing efforts, they risk losing a pair of key benefits agencies provide.
The first is that they no longer profit from these marketers’ experience
with other clients. Work done for other organizations could provide
valuable insights into the problem your organization faces.
The bigger issue, however, is that an internal team is too close to the
brand and the people building it.
Here are three reasons why your proximity to your brand could be hurting
You can’t prioritize.
Choosing what is most important about your products or services can be like
picking between your children. Thus, you run the risk that everything is
treated as equally important.
Experts find even the minutiae interesting, leading to an overestimation of
the average consumer’s time, interest and commitment. You might think new
features are revolutionary, while your audience may just find them
unnecessary or irrelevant.
One example of this is software updates. Trying to sell the latest version
with 50 new features doesn’t work if the consumer only uses 5 percent of
the program’s capabilities as it is. (I’m looking at you, Excel.)
Being steeped in your brand can render you incapable of answering the
essential question “What does my target consumer really care about?”
Politics may get in the way.
One of the greatest benefits of any consultant, marketing or otherwise, is
their ability to voice what internal team members might be thinking but are
afraid to say.
Consultants can have a meeting and leave. They don’t necessarily deal with
the fall-out that plagues a full-time employee who makes an unpopular
Take, for example, Pepsi’s ill-considered
Kendall Jenner/Black Lives Matter advertisement. According to the
Hollywood Reporter, the spot was conceptually generated and executed by their inhouse team,
the Creators League Studio. At the time, Jimmy Kimmel said: “The fact that
this somehow made it through—I can’t imagine how many meetings, and edits,
and pitches, and then got the thumbs-up from who knows how many people is
Again, according to the Reporter, the president of PepsiCo’s global
beverage group immediately tweeted he was “proud” of the spot. Imagine
you’re on that marketing team and your president is flying high on the
idea. Do you really feel in a position to challenge the wisdom of the ad?
You are married to the past.
Like any long relationship, you have baggage.
You let decisions made in previous years inform tomorrow’s choices—and in
today’s world, that’s dangerous. Beware the mindset of how “things have
always been done.”
When Old Spice started to lose market share in men’s body wash,
they hired a new agency. It’s unlikely an inhouse team for the storied Budweiser brand would seize
on the idea of
frogs. From the outset, these ideas would have felt off-brand, yet they provided
the foundation for some of the most successful advertising of all time—all
because the organization hired a fresh set of eyes.
A good agency takes your brand’s messaging, features and history and
translates them for the public. Rather than considering what the brand
expects from the consumer, it considers what the consumer needs from the
brand. It approaches issues backwards, sifting through and winnowing down
based on what consumers find interesting, what they find valuable, what
helps them decide to buy.
Agencies can challenge and vet concepts in ways internal teams can’t. Like
any new hire, they bring a fresh perspective and impartial set of eyes.
Katie Fetting is a VP, Creative Director at