Excerpts from Henry Stewart Seminar with Vanessa Vollum Edwards

Welcome to Part 3 of the Hybrid Agency Tango! As a quick reminder, the 1st blog post focused on an introduction to the Hybrid Pyramid and half of the “Frenemy” layer of the pyramid (Full-Service AOR).  We followed up with our 2nd blog, which covered the remaining half of the Frenemy layer (Lead AOR + Niche Agencies), plus the first layer of the Hybrid pyramid, the Agency Led Alliance. If you are just joining us, below is a visual representation of the Hybrid Agency Pyramid, and a brief description of the evolution of IHA from 1.0 to Hybrid.

  • 1.0 focused on cost, speed, control and media unbundling
  • 2.0 focused on multi-channel complexity, MarTech, data security and 360° analytics
  • Hybrid focused on evolving beyond “Frenemies” into Alliance, Integration & Co-location

Wrapping up the Agency Led Track

In this 3rd blog, we will be wrapping up the Agency Led track (left side) by focusing on the Agency Led Integration model.

Agency Led Integration

The next tier in the Agency Led track is the Agency Led Integration model.  So, why do I call this integration? Because integration is defined as the “blending of things into a functioning and unified whole” which is exactly what this tier should be.  I consider this one of the most ideal working relationships for Agencies and Brands on the Agency Led track.

This model is a natural evolution from the Agency Led Alliance model, where the Brand now takes on ownership of the Research and Consumer knowledge needed to fuel their marketing insights, as well as their Analytics and Reporting.  This allows Agencies to do what they do best while allowing Brands to focus on the customer journey and the lifetime value of their clients.

Now, let’s talk about the benefits of this model – of which there are many.  While the Brand still has all the great benefits of the previous Alliance model, they now have the additional visibility and control over full circle analytics and reporting. They can now link marketing campaign metrics to their other in-house data sources to measure the full customer journey and determine marketing cost per acquisition.  This holistic view into the customer insights + journey allows Brands to be agile in their priority channels and optimize quickly.

However, this model only makes sense at a certain level of marketing spend and complexity. In order to make this work, Brands now have to hire and manage a multitude of experts in-house, even if they don’t consistently have enough work for all that headcount. In addition, only Brands and Agencies with strong project management disciplines will be able to efficiently navigate these waters of increased integration.


  • BRAND owns Marketing Objectives + Insights
  • BRAND owns Research and Consumer Knowledge
  • AGENCY owns Mar/Comm Strategy and Planning
  • AGENCY owns Campaign Strategy and Planning
  • AGENCY owns Big Idea and Creative Concepting
  • AGENCY/BRAND own Creative Dev for specific channels
  • AGENCY/BRAND own specific Channel Strategy and Execution
  • BRAND owns Analytics and Reporting


  • Access to full circle analytics + reporting for optimization
  • Brands gain full visibility into Customer Journey
  • Better alignment of the brand within additional channels
  • Better balance of advertising, content + channel execution
  • Decreased turnaround times + costs for creative development
  • Marketing responsibility + accountability not all dependent upon agencies
  • Brands gain access to a multitude of experts without hiring
  • Brands gain outside perspectives + cutting edge knowledge


  • Brands must hire + manage multitude of experts in-house
  • Split channel strategy/execution = more differing opinions
  • More difficult to project manage integrated campaigns
  • Agency loses control of quality + responsibility
  • Brands spend lots of time managing + training agencies


That’s a Wrap – For Now

Thank you for reading the 3rd post in a larger series that focuses on the evolution from in-house to Hybrid!  The next blog post in the series will transition to the Brand Led track, and will focus on the Full-Service In-House Agency and/or Marketing Department + Studio models.

At the end of the series, we will be discussing the Hybrid Magic Quadrant, which should provide some practical orientation for where you are today and where you may want to be in the future.

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