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Establishing and Supporting the Emergence of In-House Agencies

As a boutique agency with flexibility on how we work with clients, Hippos has been on the front-end of building and supporting the emerging trend of in-house agencies.  More and more organizations are creating the teams and the infrastructure to handle marketing and communications independent or with only targeted outside support. Hippos has helped build the capabilities of in-house teams to meet these new challenges. In a February 2020 report, the In-House Agency Forum (IHAF) found 72% of corporations have some form of in-house shop, and that the number continues to climb.

Hippos is effective at helping healthcare organizations succeed with their in-house agencies because we have run practices in global agencies, won multinational pitches and led global teams across the world in implementing campaigns – and we know how to transfer these skills and this knowledge to our clients.  With years and years of experience developing the marketing and communications teams and programs for a myriad of for- and non-profit clients across industries, we understand the people, the management structures and the resources necessary to get these programs off the ground and to sustain them. Our collaborative approach and efficient model allow us to quickly integrate with internal teams to help define goals and achieve them. We build a platform of success that allows clients to move ahead with or without us.


A Healthcare Association Builds an In-House Agency

A quickly growing non-profit professional association needed a fully integrated marketing communications team that could run independently within 12 months. The association needed to compete with bigger and more established players in its subject-matter expertise. Hippos helped the association expand its influence, grow its revenue and transition to a stand-alone internal team. With the CEO’s vision and the board’s support, Hippos worked with marketing and sales to design the association’s marcom capability for long-term growth. We captured the client team’s internal knowledge as the foundation of building our plans. We used shared planning and structured workshops to get us there. We helped create teams with the required skills and organizational structure, made hires, trained the employees and worked side-by-side to launch and sustain programs. 

Working with the association, we created new go-to-market messaging that positioned its value and gave it permission to market new and emerging offerings. We created and launched an automated marketing and content strategy and increased engagement of the individual professional community and sales of current products and services.. We built new relationships with senior healthcare executives, introduced new corporate products and established a thought leadership footprint inclusive of a CEO visibility program and media relations. We also successfully marketed a professional conference and leadership summit. At a time when marketing budgets were being hit hard, services were being funneled in house and organizations were looking for cost optimization plans, we helped this association scale and build its resources to gain competitively.

A Global Medical Device Manufacturer Augments its In-House Agency 

For a global medical device manufacturer, we helped the internal team build a content engine to increase the volume and quality of content to amplify their new positioning and messaging strategy. We served as an extension of a large team across the Americas, developing and quickly turning around publishable content, as colleagues brought story leads forward based on a system and framework that we created.

Neither one of these relationships would have been possible without Hippos’ fluency in healthcare. This subject matter expertise combined with our collaborative and efficient approach in building and managing virtual teams globally, makes Hippos’ support of internal agencies productive and quick to needed results.

In-house agencies are the most important partner for producing new creative assets during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to 55 percent of respondents to an Association of National Advertisers members’ survey, while 42 percent cited other forms of internal teams. Data from IHAF, however, indicates that many in-house teams struggle to reach their full potential, with over half of respondents to a 2020 survey saying they aren't adequately funded and 79% saying that they need to hire talent in increasingly critical areas of marketing like video, digital, social media and analytics. The pandemic isn’t making this possible. Hiring freezes are expected to have a long tail.  So while the numbers show that organizations are likely to increase their reliance on internal marketing and communications solutions going forward, they also show that these internal teams of marketing and communications professionals will need strong, committed  and efficient partners to support their transition and help them sustain the momentum of their in-house agencies’ growth and success.


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