There is a growing trend for clients to have their agencies located onsite at their offices in an effort to be more efficient. To clarify, we are not referring to an in-house agency but instead agency staff who are located onsite at the client’s location.

An in-house agency is an agency that was formed to work exclusively on a given account but is part of that client’s organization. Facebook, Google, and more have all shifted to an in-house agency model rather than the traditional outsourced services. While an onsite agency operates in a similar model with dedicated personnel to the account who work alongside the marketing teams to execute on ideas, they are not employed by the client directly. This model is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the UK, due to its direct access to team members – a benefit for both the client and the agency.

Having this direct access to team members presents numerous benefits including streamlined communications, increased collaboration, being immersed in the client’s culture, and more. Those benefits can have a tangible effective on the work product the agency produces in the form of reduced revisions, faster turnaround times, and innovations. However, before you relocate your agency onsite, you should consider the potential drawbacks, the biggest of which is the additional costs of this resource. For example the relocation expenses if the agency is not local to your area and additional billable hours since they will be working exclusively, or primarily, on your account.

Earlier this year, I had a client ask about having an onsite resource for one of their campaigns. They were planning a multi-city, multi-day event that would be taking place throughout the course of the year. They knew from previous experience that they would be working very closely with their agency to develop concepts and layouts and continually update those based on the latest changes to the program. With that in mind, they wanted to explore having a team member from the awarded agency sit onsite in their office in order to enhance collaboration and streamline communications between the teams. In this case, the costs outweighed the benefits and so they did not have an onsite resource for their engagement; however, I’m sure the concept will be explored again in the future.

As you evaluate the option of an onsite resource, it is important that you weigh the benefits against the costs before making a decision. So for your next marketing engagement, consider what it could mean to have an agency team member sitting a few feet away.

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Megan Connell

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