Are you a believer in the necessity of a true blue in-house corporate marketing team, or do you prefer working with easy-going agency types? How different do you think is the kind of creative developed by the people who sit closest to the source, versus those looking in from the outside? And is there a benefit to collaboration? Having experienced working for both sides, it is my opinion that it is always best to mix things up.

There are definite benefits to having marketing experts on-site: in-depth product knowledge and understanding of corporate brands; access to merchandising teams and approving authority; ability to facilitate quick turnaround… and when you’re really under pressure to meet a deadline, you can just stand behind your writer or designer and direct… but please don’t. No one appreciates that and I promise you, it won’t make the process go any faster!

Corporate marketers from experience and proximity know better what senior management is looking for and what is most likely to be rubber-stamped. And there is no doubt that the trend toward in-house resources is growing, mainly because of the need for cost saving. But there are ways to maintain brand integrity and still get interesting, strategic creative without sacrificing the whole budget. And sometimes it really does take input from key creative people from elsewhere to be able to steer a company in a better direction.

Outside agencies naturally come armed with a broader perspective on current trends

simply from having worked with so many different types of clients, and on a wide variety of projects. They are true innovators because their jobs depend on it. If an ad agency offered their clients the same cookie-cutter ideas they certainly wouldn’t be in business for long.

Ultimately, understanding first what the strengths are of the in-house marketers, and then looking toward an agency to supplement whatever might be lacking, is the best way to utilize resources. For example, if you have a great strategic corporate team, but lack the production capability, than that’s what you need to look for in an agency. Marketing with a mind to bring varied experiences and skill-sets to the party allows for everyone to mix and mingle to collective advantage.