It may surprise some readers to hear me say that an external creative agency can very effectively complement an internal edutainment creative team. Edutainment marketers often think this is an either/or proposition, but in reality an external agency can provide valuable support to the in-house team that would be difficult to replicate internally.
That’s because an external agency team can:
- Always give the project top priority. An in-house team can’t always do that because their priorities may get shifted as other colleagues in the corporation have “hotter” deadlines or a project suddenly lands in their lap that senior management considers more important.
- Handle ridiculous timing and gear up quickly to work longer hours. Most external agencies have a network of professional contacts they can tap to be extra arms and legs, and they’re used to meeting tight deadlines. It’s a little harder for internal teams—which might not be in the habit of working second and third shifts when necessary—to have the same level of scheduling flexibility. Plus, there may be red tape getting overtime approved for the internal team.
- Be less expensive on a project-by-project basis than hiring one or more full-time employees. When you factor in the daily costs of additional employees (insurance, vacation pay, taxes, health care, equipment, etc.), using an external agency that has professionals who are familiar with your company could be a pretty economical move.
- Provide the collective skillset to handle all areas of the project. External agencies work on many different projects for many different clients, and they usually have a variety of specialists who can be called upon as needed. Internal teams, on the other hand, probably don’t have enough work to keep a variety of skillsets busy full time. For example, if they only need photography for a project every now and then, they most likely don’t have a photographer on staff.
- Handle larger, more time-consuming projects. This frees up the inside team for more routine work. Or, smaller “production-type” projects can be given to an outside team to free up the inside team for a large project.
- Bring state-of-the-art technology and equipment to the table. External agencies have to keep up with the latest and greatest since it’s all we do. Internal teams are a division of a company that does more than just creative, and they may not have the budget to keep up with the latest creative technology.
- Offer an outside perspective. This may actually be the most important consideration of all, because an external agency can see your business in a way that can’t be done internally. Unless they work exclusively in one industry, external agencies observe “best practices” in a variety of industries. If they specialize, they see what others in the industry are doing, what works and what doesn’t work well, etc. Plus, they aren’t caught up in a company’s culture and way of doing things in the same way as an internal team.
Having internal and external creative teams working amicably together toward the same goal—namely, to get the client great, effective creative, on time and on budget—can be a powerful combination for edutainment marketers who want to get the best of both worlds for their projects.