The fallacy of the in-house vs. agency debate
Ultimately the industry conversation surrounding the rise of in-house creative teams is needlessly binary, casting brand and agency in unnecessarily oppositional roles. It’s an approach which obscures the fluid nature and relationships between agencies and in-house creative teams and the unavoidable fact that they need to work together. “The binary debate is unhelpful,” agrees Horry, who describes TUI’s approach as a “hybrid model” where in-house teams and agencies are both core to the brand’s marketing approach.
Alongside savings in production costs and economies of scale, the in-house model can offer significant benefits to brands, according to Horry. “Tesco and TUI are quite big and complex organisations. Understanding the multiple points of sale and being able to access people in house can be extremely helpful,” he explains.
The death of declaring ‘the death of’
In the midst of a marketing ecosystem where the death of one advertising medium is often mistaken for the automatic downfall of another, Horry’s view of his most hated marketing buzzword is refreshing. He says, “I would like to see an end to the constant notion that any given medium is dead; TV is dead, digital is dead, it is endless. The truth is marketing evolves and we are seeing a lot of different platforms work. The key is being smart and having a good strategic plan.”
For Horry, this approach extends to suggesting that marketers starting out in their careers don’t neglect studying the great advertising of the past. He explains, “I’m always wary when people want to scrap everything they have done in the past in search of the latest thing. We can still learn from great advertising from the seventies, for example.”
This focus on long-term strategy makes Horry a natural advocate of the IPA’s Effectiveness research and awards, which he believes is vital in underlining the importance of good strategic marketing. “Fundamentally marketing still goes back to having a good spread of media and solid strategic thinking. You need media spend to grow brands, and TV and radio are still some of the best channels for brand building,” he adds.
Amid a fast-changing marketplace, Horry urges marketers and agency leaders alike to ensure the right metrics are in place to demonstrate meaningful success. “Influencer marketing, for example, can get very tactical very quickly,” he explains. “When the paper doesn’t make an attempt to prove marketing effectiveness beyond likes and reach you know there is a problem.” He believes if you took such metrics to a board their response would likely be along the lines of, “So what?”
This focus on the importance of strategic marketing is one of the reasons Horry declares himself to be a big fan of Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson - he is also a graduate of Ritson and Marketing Week’s Mini MBA programme and he reads his columns avidly. “He focuses on the importance of objectives and measurements which all too often get forgotten,” Horry adds.
Being proactive about getting beyond the London advertising bubble is crucial to Horry’s outlook. He explains, “If you only ever experience your own business, if you only ever concentrate on yourself and your direct competition, then you need to get a fresh perspective.”