Around this time last year, I left 3Q Digital. I had spent the previous four years with a combination of two digital marketing agencies – one year with 3Q and three years with iSearch Media, which was acquired by 3Q earlier in 2014 – and I was ready for a change. Less than one year later, I am back with 3Q, and happier than ever.
My initial decision to leave came down to a common question/consideration in the digital marketing space – in-house versus agency: single account versus a variety, deep involvement with a company versus more high-level exposure, no client services work versus lots of it. Though for some marketers the right fit is clear, for others – like myself – it is not, and I wanted to test the other side.
Moving in-house was great at first – Fewer meetings! Full access to the back-end database! A direct line to the tech team! – but I quickly found that I missed many of the things that the agency world, and 3Q Digital in particular, offered.
First and foremost, I missed the fast-moving, challenging work environment at 3Q. With clients of all sizes and shapes across every different industry, 3Q provides an opportunity to work on some really challenging accounts – multi-channel, multi-device, online-offline – and that was something I really desired. This was the type of work that kept me on my toes every day, constantly learning and trying new things.
I also missed the opportunity for growth that 3Q provided. 3Q is not a huge agency or corporation with layers and layers of hierarchy and unwieldy bureaucracy. At 3Q, employees are provided opportunities and exposure that elsewhere would not be possible. A primary strategist and point of contact on a major account does not need 10 years of experience at 3Q, as you might find at other large agencies; he/she just needs to be capable of doing the work. So I knew that I wouldn’t be shielded from opportunities to grow if I was ready for them; I would be encouraged to take on those opportunities and ultimately would be able to grow in my career more quickly, and at my own pace. At 3Q, success truly is awarded. There are no predefined timelines for advancement, no holding back people just because of their age or years of experience. That’s the kind of company I wanted to work for.
And of course, I missed 3Q’s culture. After spending a few years at a company, it’s easy to take for granted the culture, and I mistakenly assumed that I’d find a similar culture anywhere I went. Of course 3Q promotes fun in many ways, from happy hours and office parties to external events such as baseball games and bowling, all of which are appealing to me. But what I missed most goes beyond the fun office or company social events: it’s the “culture” that permeates the whole company: one of collaboration, support, and flexibility. There is no petty competition among people at 3Q; everyone is on the same team and is willing to help each other out, regardless of the situation. This teamwork is visible in every office.
It’s clear that 3Q really cares about its employees – listening to and actually taking action based on employee feedback, promoting a healthy work-life balance with unlimited PTO and a flexible work-from-home policy, offering internal and supporting external training, and providing opportunities for community service, to give a few examples. 3Q Digital seems to me to be as much, if not more, about its employees as its clients, something I value above almost all else.
Though my experience in-house truly was rewarding and taught me a lot, with 3Q I know that I will have the opportunity to guide my career exactly where I want it to go, and that 3Q will provide me all the support I need to get there. Ultimately, I felt that 3Q offered the perfect combination of big agency clients and small agency hands-on work and growth opportunities, with a great culture to boot. And for me, given where I want my career to go, 3Q was really the perfect choice.