As marketing clients choose to spend less on external resources, in-house teams need to be prepared to step in and tackle more—more complex issues, more strategic assignments, and higher volumes of work.

Get involved further upstream.

The type of work I’m talking about usually has some sort of planning cycle. In the current marketing economy, those cycles are absolutely compressed, but they still exist. Find a way to get involved with your clients during the early-planning stages, before their ideas becomes full-blown strategies or project requests for your team to execute. Upstream involvement may allow you to shape the work and will allow you to better forecast resources so you can take on more—and do it in a more efficient manner.

Set expectations with your team.

Talk to your team about the idea of taking on more, and help them understand that agility is essential given tight marketing budgets. You may have people within your organization who are incensed at the mention of compressing timelines further or increasing workload without hiring more people. So be prepared for that. The message you want to get across is that every high-performing advertising organization—internal and external, large and small—is finding ways to be more nimble, responsive and competitive. Not doing so would jeopardize jobs and the long-term security of the organization itself.

Partner with your external agency.

Recently the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) published the results of a survey revealing that 43% of companies that have in-house agencies see the external agency as some form of competition. 43%! I mean, I get it—especially with marketing dollars being so closely managed. As an alternative, let me suggest that internal and external agencies find a way to work together as partners. Both have similar interests, talents and resources, so teaming as opposed to being threatened by one another just makes sense. They might have resources you need. You might have creative assets they need. My guess is that both have data the other could use. Share ideas, work, results, and if feasible, people. Find ways to break down the double-yellow line between the two of you and work more collaboratively to optimize the marketing dollars you share.