Let’s face it there are plenty of advantages of keeping production in-house. For starters, your creative team live and breathe the brand and have the specialist knowledge of the company. Your employees can be far more invested in your business and its success than an outsourced partner. Incentives are naturally aligned for optimal results, and you don’t have to invest time onboarding them and ensuring culture fit. And, by keeping it in-house, you’re always in the loop about the latest campaigns and close to the detail. 

However, there is the high cost of full-time staff and freelancers. With the former there are salaries, benefits, payroll tax, hardware and software costs. With freelancers there are the additional challenges of first finding them, aligning them with the brand the project them, not to mention the expense. There are other disadvantages of in-house production too: 

  • Skills gaps and expertise: It’s not realistic that your employees are always going to have the production skills you need, especially given the speed at which digital production is evolving. Hiring art workers or video editors leads to incredibly high spending; this can be avoided when you outsource
  • Time-consuming: Production is a time-consuming process and can suck capacity. It can deviate the focus of your employees from more exciting creative tasks.
  • Pressure to meet deadlines: An in-house agency team can only do so much. With a time-critical campaign or company rebrand there might not be enough hours in the day. 

It’s a big jump!

Outsourcing any work is a big deal and isn’t without risk. Perhaps your organization has been burned before but it is safe to say, outsourcing has come a long way since the early days of where typically IT work was undertaken offshore and call centres were set up. Nowadays, more brands are outsourcing. In fact, the 2020 ‘State of the Market for Offshore Creative Production’ by TKM Consultants showed that 86% of agencies have been offshoring for at least two years.

What about my team? 

Of course, the words ‘outsourcing’ can cause concern for team members but it is important to realise outsourcing today isn’t all about reducing FTE costs. Sure, you can save on freelancers and paying overtime but a key sell is that outsourcing enables your department to do more interesting work. Creative production outsourcing is about enabling staff and your IHA to do more. Does your artworker really want to resize print adverts or your web developer create multiple banners when they could be working on ideation and other creative elements? Communication with your team is key early on in the process.  

Am I missing out by not outsourcing?  

If you are wondering whether you are missing out by not outsourcing, consider all the benefits of modern production outsourcing. These include:

  • When advertising campaigns are to be produced and delivered under tight deadlines, using off-shore partners who are working in different time zones is a huge advantage for a creative team. 
  • By outsourcing the production support to an external agency, you don’t just cut down substantial costs of ramping up a team but also gain control and flexibility.
  • Access a bigger pool of talent with an offshore team who have the experience of working with different clients and understand production trends. 

The hybrid mix

Offshoring creative production isn’t about handing over huge elements of work. Many in-house agencies operate a hybrid mix when it comes to production outsourcing. It is important to realize that outsourcing should only ever be a small percentage of your budgets, maybe only 5-15%, but having it there will be a lifesaver at some point! 

Robert Berkeley, CEO of EKCS will be looking at outsourcing in more detail on 5th October 2021 at The Festival of Creative Operations. His session FOMO – Fear of missing out. Your competitors are outsourcing, why aren’t you? will take a look at modern production outsourcing and how keeping creative in-house, combined with a reduction in costs, can enable brands to thrive and grow faster. If you would like to attend, grab your ticket now.

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