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Pros and Cons of Decoupled Production in Video Marketing

Posted by Ashley Brook on September 29, 2022

Digital marketing powered by high-quality video content is everywhere today. Companies of all kinds, in every industry, are choosing professional video as their medium of choice to speak with customers, prospects and general audiences. This aggressive push to make more content has brought about some changes in the way those videos are getting made.

The all-in-one creative agency model is losing its power. Businesses that may have once turned their video campaigns over to agencies, from initial concept through production and on to distribution, are rethinking their approach. They’ve realized there are strategies that can only be accomplished via decoupled production.

What Decoupling Means for Production Decisions

What is decoupled production? In short, this means breaking away from the model in which the entire asset creation pipeline was under a single roof. The agency’s role as sole creative force, production house and distribution power is being decoupled, with each part of production handled separately.

New concept ideation can still come from a creative agency under decoupled production — or it can be handled by an internal team, a consulting firm or any other source. The actual video production work tends to come from a single source. That might be a trusted third-party production house or an internal video department.

This model breaks the video production pipeline out from the sometimes-opaque agency model. It’s different from the old approach — but is it better? This is the question each company will have to answer for itself.

Pros and Cons of Decoupled Production for Video

Since no two businesses have the exact same video marketing requirements, the decision of whether to choose decoupled production is an individual matter. Some businesses will thrive by embracing the new possibilities of this decoupled pipeline model. For others, the loss of an agency’s simplicity may be too big a trade-off.

It’s useful for video marketing leaders to consider the benefits and drawbacks companies have seen so far as they’ve embraced decoupled production. With this knowledge in hand, they can decide whether decoupling makes sense for them.

Potential Benefits of Decoupled Production

There are plenty of ways in which businesses can improve their overall approach to video marketing by decoupling production. Seizing on these benefits can prove especially important today, because the demand for high-quality, well-produced video content — and lots of it — has never been greater. These advantages include:

  • Nuanced, varied content ideation: One of the drawbacks of the agency model is that all content ideas are generated by a single creative team. This is especially problematic when companies have operations around the world. On a decoupled model, these diverse teams can take the lead on generating nuanced concepts that accurately reflect the realities in their local markets.
  • Savings on fees: All-in-one creative agencies tend to be high-margin businesses, and working with them on video content can put a strain on companies’ marketing spend. As Incite Marketing noted, businesses that decouple their production can save up to 20% on their marketing budgets by eliminating agency fees and gaining more financial transparency.
  • Consistency in deliverables: Decoupled production and ideation create what the Spectra blog calls a “garden and factory” model. Agencies become the gardens, which generate ideas. The actual production work, however, takes place at so-called factories. Whether in-house or run by partners, these consistent video producers create consistent work that meets branding standards, no matter which garden created the concepts.
  • Quality oversight: Having more visibility into the inner workings of content production allows companies to become more deliberate and focused on quality, as producing company Mike noted in a blog post. This may prove especially true if a business creates an in-house studio and video production team, and helps organizations create finished video content that will meet viewer demand for highly polished, professional-looking finished products.

The benefits of decoupling have already enticed many businesses. In a landscape where businesses are constantly feeling demand and pressure to make more high-quality video on tighter margins, it’s easy to see the cumulative appeal of these advantages.

Potential Hazards of Decoupled Production

While businesses are being drawn in en masse by the advantages of production decoupling, there are pitfalls they should be aware of. The fact is, decoupled production is very different from the single-agency model, and unpicking this long-standing relationship can be challenging. Issues to watch out for include:

  • Increased complexity: Along with the freedom of decoupled production comes an added dose of complication. After all, dealing with an all-in-one advertising agency means having a single point of contact and receiving deliverables that have gone through every step from ideation to distribution. Decoupling the garden from the factory means managing both separately.
  • A need to create new structures: Organizations need to have a strong plan in place for their post-decoupling creative operations. If they intend to build out internal video production teams, that means building physical spaces, purchasing equipment and hiring talent behind and in front of the camera. In other cases, it will entail finding a third-party production house that can meet the business’s exacting standards.

Some organizations will review the challenges associated with decoupling and realize that they’re not quite ready to make the leap. Others may find that an all-in-one creative agency partnership suits them and stay permanently. In any case, a clear-eyed view of the potential difficulties is critical for success.

Delivering Great Video Content with Decoupled Production

Once a business has embraced video content production decoupling, that company has to find a new way to achieve the central goal of video marketing: to create content that will excite and draw in the target audience.

When working with a single advertising agency, these businesses had to ensure that one partner was working up to its potential. On a decoupled model, the process of quality control for finished products becomes more nuanced to go along with the greater control available.

First, businesses need to ensure they have a strong pipeline of ideas for content. These can still originate with creative agencies, or come from internal marketing teams. In fact, any part of the company or its network of content production company partners can generate concepts and ideate on them.

The best ideas generated by this newly expanded roster of contributors can then be streamed to a single production unit, whether internal or external. This is the “factory” of the garden and factory model, and it’s where the creative consistency comes in.

The chosen video creators should bring experience, technique, production expertise and creative consistency, producing content that suits an organization’s unique brand identity. The content these professionals produce will become part of a consistent library of content.

Working with Video Production Experts

How can Crews Control help businesses enter the era of decoupling production? Every company will have its own ideal outcomes, and our video experts can get involved in the planning stages to make sure an individual company finds its best possible outcome.

The Crews Control consulting team can put video production expertise to good use, guiding organizations as they build out in-house production infrastructure or build new production company relationships in the decoupled creative landscape. 

To learn more about agency decoupling and the ideal outcomes for businesses, download our ebook. To find out how your own company’s path into a decoupled future, reach out to our consultants today.


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