In 2022, more than 75% of digital agencies worldwide have experienced at least one situation where they had to outsource digital help to timely deliver the competition of their projects to their clients. At face value, many clients feel cheated in the moment when learning about such practices.
However, the reality is that for a lot of these agencies their business model is not sustainable when it is based only on in-house development and programming. The reason for that is that the demand for services such as web-design, server maintenance, web-management, online advertising and so forth, has increased rapidly while the costs simply do not cover in-house resources, especially when dealing with multiple tasks and projects that need to be delivered on a deadline.
The major issues most of the digital agencies are facing today are industry/ audience knowledge (28%), where clients are becoming increasingly specific and also use various and diverse platforms that require custom works in order to function properly, managing client expectations (24%), which implies clients have also increased expectations from professionals, and simply not having enough resources (20%) where the in-house employees are overwhelmed with the amount of requests and deadlines imposed by the clients, and the costs of increasing the in-house capacity are just not sustainable above 10 employees on average.
When it comes to outsourcing additional help, most agencies will mostly look for industry-specific content and development (49%) as well as satisfying their client in a timely matter (29%). This is why in-house work teams are twice as likely to use freelancers over collaborating with other agencies, and 35% work exclusively with freelancers, detaching themselves from the concept of in-house working almost completely. While there are issues that may arise when outsourcing additional help, the benefits for any in-house agency are just simply too large to be ignored and almost essential for their business to thrive and prosper.
What clients need to understand in this case is that they don’t get the shorter end of a stick when this happens. When a professional agency looks to outsource additional help, as mentioned before in the article, it is only done to either provide work that is very specific and needs the attention of someone that has increased expertise in that specific area, or to timely deliver the requests because their entire staff is currently overwhelmed. If anything, clients need to be reassured that this is the best-case scenario for them as agencies have all the interest in the world to keep them close.
A question many clients would have would be, “well, why wouldn’t I address a freelancer directly?”. And they are completely right. However, there are certain elements that many clients don’t think about when being skeptical of the involvement of freelancers when they have already paid for the services of an agency. First would be that they would have to filter the best freelancing options themselves. Which still requires a grade of technical understanding of the task or project at hand. Another one would be that the agency is always looking to outsource their projects in a financially viable way. Meaning agencies can get certain deals done at a better cost than a customer would on its own. And this can be easily tested by simply browsing any freelancing website and searching up trust-worthy developers that can take on your project. You will quickly see a variety of prices and recommendations that it would become extremely difficult to know which is the best option for you. And finally, security. When an agency outsources additional help, you are secure that nothing can happen with your website or with your adverts because at the end of the day, the agency is still responsible for the security of your digital assets, therefore they cannot engage in unsecure methods of outsourcing work to third parties. Everything is done in a secure environment, by the book, with at least a project manager always overseeing the work that’s being done by this freelancer.
As a digital agency ourselves, especially one that deals with both server and website management, collaborating with knowledgeable freelancers has been both necessary and incredibly rewarding as we have had the opportunity to work our and deliver some specific and sometimes incredibly difficult tasks in a timely manner where our clients have been satisfied with both the results and the associated costs.
For a lot of freelancers this is a huge opportunity and for a lot of in-house agencies, this is both the present and the future, as there is no other sustainable way of surviving in this business if you want to keep competitive costs and not lose your clients to your competition.