Faaez Samadi
Jul 3, 2017

J&J: Agencies still the better option over in-house capability

The brand’s global CMO said while taking work in-house is a regular and significant conversation, employing agencies is still very much her preferred option.

Alison Lewis
Alison Lewis

As the debate over the agency-brand relationship continues, Johnson & Johnson’s global CMO Alison Lewis said she believes agencies are still better executors of marketing and advertising services than in-house teams.

Lewis, who spoke to Campaign Asia-Pacific at Cannes Lions 2017, said the topic was highly relevant in today’s industry, and that J&J continues to go back and forth over it.

“We always have the conversation around should we in-source or outsource, and it’s a very important conversation for companies to have,” she explained. “There can be a business case built for in-sourcing, there’s no question – we’ve looked at business cases around in-sourcing content and analytics.”

However, for Lewis, ultimately the rapid development of the advertising and marketing industry, particularly regarding technology, drives her towards agency partners.

“What I find is that the pace of change is such that you have to be careful about in-sourcing too much,” she said. “You have to be really prepared to have an in-sourcing model that can keep up with that pace of change.”

Lewis said the industry was moving so quickly that now, “new disruptors are disrupting the [original] disruptors”.

“How do you keep up with that [as a brand]?” she asked. “So maybe it’s better to let the entrepreneurs out there keep that model going, because I can always buy their services.”

Critically, Lewis added, it is about knowing your core business values and strengths, and J&J’s don’t lie in marketing and advertising services.

“Our core business is not content, or analytics, or primary marketing research,” she said. “So you sit there and you ask ‘is it better to in-source or outsource?”

Lewis also spoke to Campaign about the brand's plans for Asia and its two priority markets for growth. See the video below.

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