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When It Comes To Sourcing Talent, Are You In Or Out?

Remember that pact you made with your partner about cooking at home more? Scaling back all those pricy, restaurant meals and take-out orders in favor of getting back to basics. Peeling the potatoes. Destemming the kale.

“We’ll save money!”
“It’ll be better for us!”
“We’ll make it just the way we like it!”

Then, after some time went by, routine set in. Old habits resurfaced. And Monday’s stir-fry began to taste an awful lot like Sunday’s Cauli-power Casserole. Until one day your guilt-plagued gut started longing for the rhubarb ginger Ghee at that Fusion Food Lab by the train station.

Now what do you do? Stick with the plan and keep the cooking in house? Or, break down and start outsourcing again?

Let the battle begin!


Greater control. Potentially lower cost. Faster (when you’re not at the mercy of an external partner). In-housing sure sounds smart. But in-housing success really hinges on one critical assumption: that you’ll be able to recruit and retain some pretty talented people.

Here’s the cold dose of reality: most talented creative professionals (the really talented ones, anyway) simply don’t want to work in a ‘corporate’ environment, toiling away on one brand, day-in and day-out. No. Creatives thrive on the whiplash-inducing variety and cultural energy of full-service agencies and design studios where they can feed their right-brains a steady diet of new, new, new, and more new.

So if you’re hoping to lure game-changing creative talent away from a fast-paced agency environment, you’ll probably be paying top dollar for a revolving door. And the work you end up getting out of those who do stay isn’t going to set the world on fire. In other words, cooking everything ‘in-house’ may leave you (and your higher-ups) craving something more satisfying…like that rhubarb ginger ghee.


According to recent reports, more than two-thirds of respondents across various industries said they don’t think their in-house agency is adequately staffed.* And more than half of executives said it’s challenging to find creative professionals.**

*2018 IHAF State-of-The-Industry Report
**2017 Report by The Creative Group

How stupid is outsourcing?

No internal staff to manage. Greater variety of thinking. Significantly better work in most cases. Fewer headaches along the way. Handing over the bulk of your marketing duties to an external partner sure can make life a hell of a lot easier, especially if you find the right partner.

But you don’t have to have a finance degree to recognize that the outsourced life is not an economically sustainable one. As the invoices keep rolling in, a ballpark of your budget’s burn rate will leave you scrambling for ways to cut back. And fast.

Use your head! There are plenty of day-to-day marketing functions that you can just-as-capably handle in-house, with junior level people in many cases, and without paying the premium expense of, or suffering through the added drama and delays associated with, managing an outside partner.

Let’s be honest. Outsourcing everything will leave you fat, lazy, and broke. Not the best position to be in when your performance review comes up.

What about freelancers?

Hmm, you mean supplementing your in-house efforts with temporary help? That’s some agile thinking, right there. But even as you read this, the rules of engagement are being rewritten for the Gig Economy. States like California are cracking down on long-term “freelance” relationships as exploitative.

So, after finding a reliable freelance specialist and finally getting them up to speed, you may be forced part ways and start all over again. Never mind the corporate complications of sourcing and securing ‘approval’ for the use of support personnel. You can’t wait weeks to get someone going. Argh!


Look. Some things in life aren’t zero sum propositions. It doesn’t have to be ‘whole hog’ or ‘no hog.’ Because the simple reality is this: The truth recognizes that having to choose isn’t a choice.

Any ‘one or the other’ over-commitment to IN-HOUSING or OUTSOURCING — any hobbling Hobson’s Choice between a revolutionary reset and being shown the door — will, like your kale casserole, ultimately yield less than satisfying results.

A healthier way to think about your options is this: you don’t have to choose between A and B. In fact, if you augment ‘A’ with just the right amount of challenging external input — from ‘B’ — you can overcome the organizational malnutrition of closed-door systems.


Who says you can’t have it all? Why not enjoy the freedom and flexibility that a mix of both in-housing and outsourcing have to offer? In other words, why not start right-sourcing?

By right-sourcing, you can strike that perfect balance between cost-efficient operational practicality and innovative thinking, keeping operational activities ‘in-house’ while outsourcing things like strategy and creative ideation.

All you need is a unicorn: a flexible, multi-capable partner able to deliver specialized expertise on-demand, as you need it, and without the budget-sucking overhead of a retainer relationship. In other words, all you need is a Plan B.


Plan B was built for right-sourcing. We offer an expanded menu of traditional agency services — including a growing set of best-of-breed specialties — all on-site, unbundled, and on-demand.

From CRM to web development to social media marketing, video production and more, our specialists can swiftly supplement your marketing team’s most specific needs, right when you need it most. Meet a few of them here.

Terry Mertens

Group Creative Director

Lauren Schrowang

Account Supervisor/Associate Manager

Erin Pauly

Social Media Marketing Manager

Colin Reilly

Web Developer

Jack Barnette

Producer/Production Manager

Emmons Patzer

VP, Senior Business Analyst/Strategist

Playing well with others

Not to oversimplify things, but we’ve made plugging our specialists into your workflow management platform pretty darn easy. Our meticulous attention to detail and proactive communication helps ensure flawless execution. And because we already use the workflow systems and tools you have in place (like Wrike, BaseCamp, Workzone, and others) we can quickly add our best-of-breed specialists to your lineup, as you need them. Pretty cool, huh?


If you’re looking to create efficiencies by bringing out-of-house resources in-house, Plan B also offers on-site embedding. It’s just like it sounds: we’ll deploy a member of the Plan B account services team (or well-vetted specialist) to work with you on-site, in a full- or part-time capacity. That resource will help streamline communication, improve collaboration, and supercharge the ‘on-demand’ feature of our partnership.

Then, as you enjoy the benefits, we absorb all the overhead, HR management, and associated risks of bringing on full-time staff. It’s like magic, but better!


Let’s face it: keeping your organization’s marketing beast well-fed requires imagination and versatility. That starts by reevaluating your choices. With the right partner, you can shrewdly manage both without sacrificing anything. So stop fighting and let’s get cooking!

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