At the end of November, tech giant Intel became the latest marketer to reconsider its move to bring marketing in-house, instead placing creative and production work back into the hands of its external agencies.
Companies, eager for cost-savings, control and speedy turnarounds, have either gone all in and have built out internal agencies with multiple functions or have moved parts of their marketing previously reserved for outside partners internally. But many are finding the road to be less smooth than hoped for, and are encountering recruiting struggles, a lack of internal support or the realization that it’s simply too difficult to manage it all.
Teresa Herd, vp and global creative director at Intel, who up until a week ago oversaw the company’s 85-person in-house team Agency Inside and 45 freelancers it worked with, admitted that she did not expect Intel’s shift back to external agencies.
Speaking at the Digiday Brand Summit in Palm Springs, California, this week, she said Intel was seeing the ROI it wanted from Agency Inside, but that the company’s marketing needs changed in the past year and with a new CEO — Robert Swan — and interim CMO — Michelle Johnston Holthaus, Intel’s leadership no longer wanted to market to regular customers, which is what Agency Inside did.
“You have to have support from the C-suite,” said Herd, who said about 15 percent of Intel’s marketing needs were being done in-house. “[Intel] changed their target and radically changed their budgets. Consumer marketing wasn’t where they wanted to put their dollars. They wanted to move to enterprise marketing and B to B, and while Agency Inside could have managed that, that’s not what we were built for.”
Agency Inside was born from the realization that working with so many ad agencies (Intel had at one point 1,500 global agencies it was working with) convoluted the messaging that customers around the world were seeing from the company, said Herd. The company now works with 250 agencies, and just launched a global review.