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Our Humans of 3Q series continues this week with Tom Leonard, 3Q’s YouTube Subject Matter Expert, out of our Chicago office! Get to know Tom below:

Explain your role at 3Q in 3 sentences or less.

As our YouTube Subject Matter Expert, my job is to work closely with our great client services teams to ensure we’re effectively leveraging YouTube to drive growth for our clients, whether that’s through DR campaigns or awareness initiatives. More than working with individual teams, though, I think the most important part of my job is taking learnings from one client or team and applying those learnings to other clients. At the end of the day, that’s the real benefit of working with an agency like 3Q.

What’s one marketing lesson you wished you had learned earlier?

That creative really, really matters. I come from a search background where the bulk of our efforts are focused on account structure, bidding, etc., and creative can be more of an afterthought. I’ve seen many people, including myself, try to apply this mindset in channels like social and YouTube, but you’ll get crushed, especially as more of our traditional levers get automated.

What sets 3Q apart from other agencies in the industry?

I can’t really speak to other agencies as virtually my entire career has been with 3Q, but I imagine most other agencies don’t seek to partner as deeply with clients as we do. The way we challenge our clients (and accept them challenging us), incorporate strategy projects that often have nothing to do directly with media buying but in turn will drive stronger performance across all acquisition channels, and just our overall seat at the decision-making table I think are all really unique and allow us to have a deep relationship with our clients and their success. How’s that for a run-on sentence?

What’s something that makes your office cooler than the other 3Q offices?

The winter. Get it? Bad joke. The fact that we’re so centrally located you can get pretty much anywhere in the city easily. There are so many places to go check out in Chicago and from where our office is, you can get there by jumping on the L.

When coworkers from other offices come to visit, what’s one thing they absolutely have to do in your city?

This is going to really depend on the season. But, since no one would come visit in the winter, let’s assume it’s summer or early fall. I’d have to say either biking along the lakefront just to see hordes of people enjoying the sunshine or a street fest in one of Chicago’s many neighborhoods. I would avoid Taste of Chicago, but if you love food and wine, I highly suggest Chicago Gourmet to everyone. You can scalp a one-day ticket or get on Black Friday since tickets at face value are pretty $$$.

What 3Q initiative outside of your job description are you most proud of being a part of?

I’m a big fan of 3Q3%. I’m on the Young Professional Board of an amazing organization called Breakthrough that serves the community of East Garfield Park on the East Side of Chicago. We had about a dozen 3Q employees come to set up their Fresh Market, a free grocery store for those in need. We ended up going right before Thanksgiving, when Breakthrough provides a turkey and all the fixin’s for every family in the neighborhood. We moved 325 frozen turkeys in preparation!

What’s been the coolest thing you’ve done with your unlimited PTO?

I think I have to say getting married…but even if I didn’t have to I think this would be it. My wife is from Southern California, so we got married out there last summer. We were able to have a whole week of activities the week leading up to the wedding with our families and all our closest friends, and it was just really great. I think the best part of our unlimited PTO policy is being able to make all these great memories and not have to worry about counting days.

How do you spend your free time?

When I’m sharing my free time with my wife, we love getting out of the city and going camping/hiking – the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is close enough for a weekend trip and is B-E-A-utiful. I also love to golf. I can’t seem to get any better, but for some reason I keep playing.

What do you think has been the most interesting change in the marketing industry or in your channel this year?

Automation. That seems like a cop-out answer, but hear me out. I think the level of automation we’re seeing across all our typical advertising channels really levels the playing field and average marketers/agencies will get left behind. As day-to-day optimization gets outsourced to the machines, things like customer understanding and creative become more important than ever.

If you were given an unlimited amount of money to invest into one upcoming or exciting marketing technology, what would it be?

Multi-touch attribution.

If you could choose any TV show or movie world to live in, what would it be?

Prison Break. I’ve always wanted to plot an escape from jail but really don’t want to go to jail, so this hypothetical is perfect.

What is the last thing that you read?

Shoe Dog: A Memoir of the Creator of Nike. I think I called it the best book I’ve ever read. Maybe that’s recency bias, but I couldn’t put it down. I’m a huge fan of the podcast “How I Built This,” and this was like a 10x longer version and I couldn’t get enough.

What is your next adventure?

We’re taking our honeymoon on May 1st! We’re spending about two weeks in Thailand. We’ll do a couple days in Bangkok, about a week in Chiang Mai, and close it out with a few days on the beach in Ko Samui.

What’s your favorite GIF?

Get to know more of our 3Qers in our Humans of 3Q series. Interested in joining the ranks? Check out our Careers page.