Employees got to work at Accelerated Digital Media, an aptly named performance marketing agency headquartered in Chicago that is rapidly expanding its national reach.
Especially in recent years, as the company’s team has spread more geographically amid pandemic-precipitated remote recruiting, ADM’s growth has been driven from the ground up, with new hires bringing new ideas on the table – sometimes in their first few weeks.
For Isabella Yates, Senior SEM Manager, running successful search engine marketing campaigns requires a lot of creativity. But equally vital is the streamlining of core digital strategies that cut across several of ADM’s portfolio clients, particularly in its specialist areas of direct-to-consumer e-commerce and digital health.
“When I started,” Yates said, “I wanted to automate and write instructions for all of our basic strategies, so there wasn’t a lot of difference from person to person or one customer to another.”
Yates knew this would ease the onboarding process for future employees while providing ADM with a valuable internal resource to improve efficiency and quality assurance. Additionally, many of the company’s customers required certain maintenance tasks to be performed on a weekly or monthly cadence – although time-consuming in the short term, wouldn’t creating instructional guides for such processes ultimately be a winning scenario? -winner?
Yates quickly brought up the subject during a team meeting. To his delight, the superiors welcomed the idea with open arms. Far from pushing an administrative boulder up on her own, Yates instead felt a snowball effect, as her colleagues pitched in and the process of creating such guides gathered momentum and s is widespread in all departments. “As we started to come together more collaboratively at the senior executive and director level, it became a larger project that everyone was able to tackle together,” she said. “Now that can impact account managers, analysts, and anyone who works on those core strategies.”
Yates’ experience is not unusual at ADM, which has thrived on cultivating a culture of open communication. As a performance marketing company focused on facilitating real human connections in digital spaces, fostering a work environment that empowers employees to have their voices heard has been a constant imperative company-wide. the company.
Prior to reuniting with ADM, Yates worked with Elizabeth Nelligan, associate director of programmatic marketing channel-focused strategy, at a previous agency. Both agree that the culture of mutual respect and support they have experienced in their current roles is what makes ADM such a special place to work.
“Everyone is so welcoming,” Nelligan said. “It’s definitely one of the only agencies I’ve worked at where everyone immediately felt like family.”
Each of you have joined Accelerated Digital Media over the past year. What was it like joining a new agency that uses a hybrid work model?
Associate Director of Media Strategy, Programmatic Elizabeth Nelligan: ADM doesn’t dictate a camera-on policy, but everyone just has their camera on. It’s nice to have that face-to-face interaction, because you lose that if everyone is working from home or only certain people are in the office.
Isabella Yates, Senior SEM Manager: Being a Chicago resident, I was able to embark in person, although I eventually moved to a more remote location after having a puppy. I appreciate that ADM has been so flexible with work from home offers and not mandating in-person work, with news from other companies now requiring employees to return to the office if they can. ADM always allows us to work in the way that suits us. The company offers incentives to come to the office, such as a $100 monthly travel allowance for locals, as well as paid lunches daily. They motivate us in the right way, instead of just forcing employees to come whether they like it or not.
Business Development Manager Jake Meline: I’m leaving for Minnesota this afternoon. I’m not coming back for three weeks, so I’ll work from there. I don’t have to worry about using my vacation because I’m just visiting family and I’m not busy all the time. The hybrid setup gives me the opportunity to work a full day and spend time with my family in a different state, without worrying about going back to the office.
ADM’s website describes its work environment as “open, dynamic and productive.” Has this been your experience with the company?
Nelligan: ADM empowers people to voice their opinions and ask thought-provoking questions. We have a Google survey sheet for idea submissions; if you think there’s a tool or process we don’t have that would help you do your job more efficiently, or something the agency overall lacks, you can grab that idea and send it to the ‘management team. There is no idea too small, no idea too big. Everything is addressed.
Meline: One day I realized that we refer to our team as a “customer services” team, which sounds like “customer success”. We’re actually trying to help customers grow, so I suggested we call it the “Customer Growth” team. The leadership wasn’t just like, “Oh, cool, whatever.” It has actually been changed. Even though I am a junior employee, they had a conversation and decided to make a change. Whatever kind of idea I have, it may not be implemented, but I know I will be heard.
Yats: Our CEO, Tellef Lundevall, is genuine. I’m sure we could all name former CEOs who said their doors were open, but were actually distant. This is the first agency where I experienced the opposite: Tellef wants to hear ideas and encourages everyone to contribute.
Maintaining this level of open communication can be difficult on a large scale. As ADM grows, how would you describe the atmosphere in your workplace?
Yats: We have become more efficient and impactful in our processes as more people have joined the team. For example, we sat down and revamped the way we welcome new employees because we believe it’s important not only from a cultural perspective, but also to prepare new employees to succeed. We have also implemented new internal meetings with director-level employees and senior management employees who have a more intermediate perspective on operations and processes. We meet approximately every three weeks to discuss what can be improved. It’s also a setting where we can escalate ideas from one-on-one meetings we may have with members of our team or discuss things we witness during day-to-day operations.
Nelligan: At ADM, we have the advantage of being smaller but growing. As such, we have the autonomy to build the teams in the way that is most beneficial to us as a department and agency. I’ve had the benefit of working at several different agencies and I’ve seen what works well and what doesn’t. My manager was very open to me saying, “That’s how I see this department. And it’s unlike any other department within ADM. I have the green light to do so.
Isabella Yates on tools for coping with a hybrid work environment
- Slack: “My team mainly communicates through Slack. For communication with customers, we have a Slack channel with customers, so we can chat on the fly. »
- monday.com: “We use it for our project management dashboard, which allows us to easily communicate updates and questions on specific tasks as needed. It’s useful to have everything there for record keeping.
- Google Meet: “We use it to work collaboratively and hold meetings.”
Jake, ADM is a leading digital health agency. Tell me about your efforts as a business development manager to highlight this.
Meline: We’ve worked with our biggest digital health client for four years, and now we’re pivoting to showcase it. All of our frontline materials focus on digital health because we believe we have the upper hand there. No other agency in this space markets itself as a digital health agency. It gives us a way to stand out. The more digital health clients we onboard, the more we will be able to test [strategies] and learn from them. It’s a booming industry.
When you discuss ADM with your friends and family, what are you most proud of?
Yats: ADM adapts to people who chart their own career path. I’ve seen people pivot their existing paths and move on to something more suited to what they want and need. We interviewed someone for an SEM role, who talked about having experience in copywriting; we ended up hiring him as an editor. I feel like this is the first agency I’ve worked in where I’ve really seen people who are able to take charge of their future and shape it the way they want. The company is really open, receptive and encouraging.
Nelligan: This is also what I am most proud of working at ADM. It’s not necessarily the job or the great things I’ve done, or any new clients. It’s the camaraderie we have within the company.
Meline: With a remote workforce, you don’t always meet with your colleagues, but we do have two or three meetings a year. Having great benefits and a hybrid work policy are two strong points. Everyone is equally convinced of the company’s goals, which gives them the impression that we are all moving forward.