Many ad agencies and marketing firms like to tout that they do everything “in-house,” and while this is definitely a worthy, appealing goal to strive for, it may not be the most reasonable goal for all agencies — particularly for agencies that are in the process of growing or are more honed in on specific products and services.
Video production specifically can be a slippery slope when you look at all of the factors involved. In today’s marketing climate “content is king,” and a large part of that equation is video. Like with anything, you have to weigh pros, cons, budgets, and lack thereof. Obviously not every budget or situation warrants hiring a professional production company.
So, if you’re asking yourself the question of “to outsource or not to outsource video production,” here are a few factors to consider.
No. 1 – EFFICIENCY
We all know about time. It’s of the essence; it’s the equivalent of money; it keeps on slipping into the future; and all that jazz. We are all about time and how to cram as much stuff into it as possible. And video production companies can do just that because:
- They are way more experienced and, as is true with any other trade, this experience comes with its own healthy dose of speed as a result of having done something over and over again. They can move through the process more efficiently and can even budget for any complications that they know may arise.
- They are already well-staffed for whatever project you may have in store for them. They can take your project, size it up, and throw as many of their guys at it as they need to in order to get the project done in time.
- They are most likely working at the same time that you are. So, instead of having to split time between daily procedures and a new video project, agencies can churn out a product much faster via outsourcing. New revenue streams are always a good thing.
Being that video production companies are well-entrenched in the industry, you can bet that they have access to way more resources than a typical ad agency will. This includes resources in man-power, equipment, locations, talent, and may even include media buying. They’ve got connections that take a long time to establish readily available, so that they can make use of the best people, the best equipment and the best locations without having to think twice.
No. 2 – QUALITY
Speaking of the best equipment, video production companies likely have it. Over time, they acquire a pretty spiffy collection of gear, and they’re constantly updating it. (Video prod people love their gadgets.) This is where most agencies will save a majority of their money. This gear is a hefty investment that most will not be able to acquire in a short amount of time. It also requires a certain level of expertise to operate it (and determine if it’s what you need), so just having it is not enough. If you’ve purchased equipment in the past, you’ve also learned how quickly equipment becomes obsolete. By the time you open the box, the clock starts, and the time to buy the next big thing will be here before you know it.
Quality is the difference between, say, a car commercial produced by a car salesman’s brother-in-law and a car commercial produced for any major car manufacturer, complete with sleek imagery and pithy monologue voice-over. Production companies will definitely yield a better product for the cost that will not only look better, but will last longer. A video of superior quality can be reused for a long time and can be a great sales tool down the road when you want to do bigger and better work. Sure, you might make a few extra bucks keeping it in-house, but will you want to show that to the next client who sits down at your conference table?
Creativity & Expertise
Since production companies are in video-producing mode all the time, they not only have a lot of general expertise to offer, but they are able to pursue ideas that are more creative and bold. They know what will stand out in the industry and what will be forgotten. They’re on top of the latest trends in video marketing and know how to recreate successful models or forge new ones. They can also determine the best “channel” for your video, whether that’s web videos meant for social media or tv spots or both, and they can tailor your video accordingly.
Keep in mind, video production companies can do more than shoot live-action videos. Some can develop 2D or 3D animations, explainer videos, whiteboard animations, animated logos, corporate videos and more. These products tend to be more cost-effective options and can creatively present what might otherwise be considered a mundane or confusing topic. A production company can help you explore your options to make sure you’re using the right medium and taking advantage of your available options.
No. 3 – THE BOTTOM LINE
One of the best reasons to look to a production company is the profit margin. I know what you’re thinking “if I keep the production in-house, I keep the money in-house.” That might be true, but you also might be selling yourself short and working harder in the process. Clients and agencies rarely know the cost of quality production work. You might get a $5,000 commercial and think that’s great because you can make it in a week with that DSLR you bought for a real-estate client last summer. Hiring a production company could help you get that commercial to $20,000, because they understand what is needed to properly execute the deliverables. Your profit margins are now the same or possibly higher, you didn’t have to lift a finger, and the final product impresses not only your client, but future potential clients. If that’s not enough to sway you, imagine the risk involved in getting the production wrong. Reshooting can be a nightmare, but with a production company, they assume the risk (unless of course you’re dealing with the rare, extenuating circumstances).
A good production company will make you a lot of money but with little-to-no work. Sit back, mark the budget up 20 percent or more, and answer the occasional yes-or-no question.
No. 4 – BONUS
The Hollywood Effect
A high profit margin isn’t the only benefit. Let’s be honest, production sets are fun to be on, and overseeing instead of managing is a great tradeoff when you have professionals steering the ship. Just lounge in the Director’s Chair, sip your latte, take some cool selfies and leave it to the production company you hired to make you look super savvy and smart. The best part? Come awards season, you’ll be the one accepting the Addy Awards to impress your clients with some new hardware for their office, which will serve as a handy reminder of why they hired you.
Obviously, hiring a video production company is beneficial in more ways than one. The biggest benefit? Money. Outsourcing, in this instance, is much more cost-effective than devoting the time, manpower and money (so really just money X 3) trying to create a video production without the means — especially when considering the likelihood of receiving a high-caliber product.hiring a production company, why ad agencies should outsource video, working with video production companies