New survey tells a cautionary tale as CMOs take creative work in-house

by | Feb 19, 2019 | Marketing, Public Relations

A new survey of creative and marketing pros finds that leaders in both camps scored marginal grades—and points to a range of challenges in the organizational relationship, team alignment and collaboration, which stem from the natural challenges that come with growing in-house creative teams.

More importantly, an analysis of the data links these challenges to the effects they have on creative operations and efficiency, according to findings revealed in the 2019 In-House Creative Management Reportfrom in-house creative leadership firm InSource and creative workflow solutions provider inMotionNow.

While chief marketing officers have increasingly taken more creative work in-house—in pursuit of deep brand knowledge and efficiency—the survey reveals early warning indications that merely adding headcount isn’t enough. Marketing and creative departments need well-defined, mutually agreed upon, and highly collaborative processes to drive the benefits CMOs aim to deliver for the business.

The study shows that those creative and marketing organizations with strong alignment are more likely to give leaders higher marks, report good morale, use best practices, and have the capacity to dedicate more time doing what they were hired to do—being creative.

New survey tells a cautionary tale as CMOs take creative work In-house

“Bringing creative in-house promises greater efficiencies and higher quality creative work, but organizations can’t just bolt on a creative team and expect miracles,” said Alex Withers, chief marketing officer for inMotionNow, in a news release. “In order to reap those benefits, creative and marketing teams must develop a strategic relationship—and this study uncovers the keys to building alignment with marketing and creative and driving results faster.”

High-level findings from the study include the following:

Creative and marketing leaders receive marginal grades as creative teams suffer low morale

Just 64 percent of respondents said their creative leadership is effective and even less (54 percent) said their marketing leadership is effective. Less than half (45 percent) say morale on the creative team is high.

Creative and marketing shops in need of alignment

Following years of growth, just 47 percent said the relationship between creative and marketing is better this year than last. Collaboration between marketing and creative didn’t fare much better with just 51 percent saying collaboration was effective.  An astonishing 79 percent of creatives said they receive feedback on the performance of creative assets just some of the time or not at all.

New survey tells a cautionary tale as CMOs take creative work In-house

The payoff for improving the relationship between creative and marketing

Teams that report strong alignment are 18 percent more likely to say collaboration is effective; 16 percent more likely say their marketing leadership is effective, 12 percent more likely to report using best practices, 12 percent more likely to have high morale; and 11 percent more likely to say their creative leadership is effective.

Volume and velocity are the top challenges facing creatives

The increased volume and short deadlines are the top challenges facing in-house creatives. This was followed by the creative desire to be considered strategic contributors rather than “mechanical artists” robotically banging out design, graphics and creative content. A majority (72 percent) of respondents say “obtaining the necessary information just to get started on a project” is an administrative task that soaks up time that would be better spent doing creative work.

New survey tells a cautionary tale as CMOs take creative work In-house

As teams grow, creatives are stuck spending more time on administrative tasks

Nearly half (48 percent) say they spend about one day a week or more on non-creative work—that’s up 14 percent from the same survey last year.  In addition, an astonishing one-fifth (22 percent) indicated they spend 10 hours a week or more chasing down information, feedback and approvals—that too ticked up 6 percent from last year’s survey. Conversely, those creatives that spend just four hours or less on admin tasks each week are more likely to report effective leadership, use of best practices and an ability to get creative assets into market producing results more efficiently.

New survey tells a cautionary tale as CMOs take creative work In-house

“As in-house creative services departments mature and become more embedded within their organizations, more is asked of them on an almost daily basis,” said Andy Brenits, president of InSource in his introduction to the report. “If marketing managers merely see the creative team as their go-to resource for execution of tactics, they are missing out on the actual value this in-house resource can be to them. The creative team has problem-solving and idea generating capabilities that extend far beyond executing design and content.”

He adds, “This, of course, is where the operations side of things comes into play. In other words, efficient operations are what gives you the time to be really creative problem solvers.”

Download the full report here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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