One Marketer’s Quest To Find The Perfect Agency

Goldilocks And The Three Firms

author: Erin Anderson

Written by: Erin Anderson

VP, Project Management


  • Culture

One Marketer’s Quest To Find The Perfect Agency

When I walked into my first company-wide meeting at Large Agency X, I almost dropped the complimentary beer I’d just picked up at the bar. I’d been with the agency for almost a year but—due to the timing of my hiring—this was my first all-agency event. I had spent the last 10 months walking the corridors of the five floors we occupied in the tower off of Michigan Avenue in Chicago. None of that prepared me for the sheer volume of people packed into the hotel ballroom in front of me. I’m an extrovert, and it still took me a while to find a single person I knew! It was so overwhelming.

I had already had some frustrations during my tenure. It took forever to move work through the agency’s system, and it seemed like we were constantly letting our clients down by having to tell them no. I felt like I was at war with our internal teams to get even a simple client request pushed through the system. My clients were frustrated with us. I was frustrated too … it was a constant loop of frustration.

I felt like Goldilocks: One agency is too big; the next agency is too small. Would I ever find a home that was just right?

A few years later, life circumstances took me from Chicago and Large Agency X to the Philadelphia area and Small Agency Y. The agency’s 10 staffers were crammed into a relatively small office suite. We had one conference room we shared with another company. Everyone could hear every conversation you had, thanks to the short cubicle walls and the lack of private spaces. Part of my job was new business development, and we had managed to secure meetings with some pretty large consumer packaged goods companies on the East Coast before I joined the team. I was excited to pitch our capabilities and hopefully win some assignments. In the first pitch meeting—just a few weeks after I started—it quickly became clear that we were in over our heads. Turns out that we were not the full-service agency I thought I was joining. Our small team meant that we outsourced a lot of work, and working with a network of freelancers meant that we were at their mercy. There was a stunning lack of control over timelines, and the results suffered.

I felt like Goldilocks: One agency is too big; the next agency is too small. Would I ever find a home that was just right?

Then I Walked Through The Doors Of EPIC Creative.

Size matters. It’s not just about the number of people, it’s about the skills and talents of those people, the processes in place, the leadership, the layers of bureaucracy (or the delightful lack thereof), the culture…I could go on and on. Instead, let’s boil it down to my top three reasons why EPIC is the right size:

1. We’re large enough to handle any client request.
We’re a full-service agency, which means we truly do everything—soup to nuts—and can handle virtually any client request (within reason, of course). We have helped so many of our clients look like rockstars over the years by providing strategically sound, beautiful creative to meet their needs—even for that last-minute presentation.

2. We’re small enough to stay nimble.
I found that when working at larger agencies it was like trying to turn the Titanic to get anything done quickly … It was a slow, drawn-out process. Not at EPIC. We are used to shifting priorities, deadlines, and deliverables—and we‘re used to navigating those changes with ease. There’s a reason “scrappy” is one of our core values. We live it every day, with each new challenge.

3. We’re invested in each other.
Recently, as part of our Employee Appreciation Month activities (yeah … we don’t just celebrate a day; we celebrated the entire month of March), we asked employees to share stories about a coworker that supported them through a rough period. The stories shared—about how we’ve mentored each other, pitched in to help out, and supported each other through births, deaths, marriages, divorces, illnesses—illustrated that we’re a community of people invested in each others’ lives and dedicated to creating some of the best work on the planet for our clients. That EPIC culture is so special that it is truly unlike anything I’ve experienced at any other place I’ve worked. We’re here to support each other, help each other grow, and work together to reach our common goals. I like to say (ad nauseum) that we’re all in the same boat, rowing towards the same shore.

That EPIC culture is so special that it is truly unlike anything I’ve experienced at any other place I’ve worked.

Those Goldilocks feelings are gone. I’ve found the “just right” agency for me, and I’m so happy to call EPIC home. I think the EPIC porridge—great work blended with flexibility and a caring environment—would taste pretty good to a lot of other people too.

Work Hard and Be Nice to People


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