How a hybrid in-house/agency model works for 3M


3M, the owner of brands like Post-it notes, Scotch tape and Scotch-Brite cleaning products, has found success with a hybrid agency/in-house model that may be useful for other clients taking ownership of certain media duties.

Chris Luna, engagement leader at 3M Corp.’s Consumer Business Brand Center, the company’s in-house marketing arm, discussed this topic on a recent webinar held by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

“The conversation about in-house media teams has become even more important in current times,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How a hybrid agency/in-house model serves 3M’s need for accountability.)

“The [COVID-19] pandemic has created the need for more efficiency and more control in our industry … There’s a lot more accountability on media channels.”

Luna created 3M’s first fully in-house digital-media team, he explained, to streamline planning and implementation, while also reducing the layers between 3M and its media partners.

But one of those “layers” – the Minneapolis-based agency of record (and 3M neighbour) Colle McVoy – remains very much a part of the marketing mix for the 3M Consumer Business Brand Center.

Among the advantages of strengthening 3M’s in-house capabilities is the fact that it now has a growing amount of marketing knowledge within its own four walls.

“Our brand teams are now learning more at an accelerated rate. Because they were learning more, it enabled us to be able to bring recommendations that really pushed the limits,” Luna said.

But Colle McVoy has also offered powerful thinking that delivers effective, innovative strategies – to the extent it has been honoured as a 3M “Supplier of the Year Award” from a pool of over 100,000 firms.

Steve Knapp, Colle McVoy’s executive director of media, said the agency brings “our external knowledge of broader industry perspectives” so “one team doesn’t feel overburdened with the need to own everything themselves.”

Such knowledge delivers not just on cultural oversight but on operational expertise. A case in point: “With COVID-19, we’ve had to shift schedules from sporting events that have been cancelled for some of the 3M brands,” Knapp said.

And with its massive web of contacts and connections, the Colle McVoy media chief continued, “We’ve obviously had to work with networks and other media partners to push to relax some of their tried-and-true financial-flexibility roles.”

Sourced from WARC

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