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Acquiring Context on Our Big Announcement

Published: March 20, 2015

Author: Conor McElhaney

Shortly after dinner Sunday night, I received a text from my agency saying:
“We need all 3Q employees to be in the office for a special All-Hands on Monday, 3/16 [note the use of “special” rather than emergency], at 10 AM PDT. A dial-in will be provided for our remote employees.”
Now, being at the agency less than a year, I could only imagine what sort of action would demand this sort of internal communication. But one thought popped into my head when I received it: “Acquisition.”
At a happy hour to wish off one of our beloved coworkers, who was about to become one of the contributing marketers at the ride-sharing app “Uber,” a colleague brought up the possibility of an acquisition. “Look at what happened last year: Covario and RKG got acquired. They were the two biggest independent marketing agencies, but now we’re the biggest, and it’s only a matter of time before we get acquired. I guarantee you it will come soon, at the latest by the end of the year.”
Who would’ve thought that a few days later, we would receive the news that Harte Hanks was acquiring 3Q Digital? In an extensive two-hour presentation from our CEO, David Rodnitzky, as well as our new CEO, Robert Philpott, we got information on topics that were on all of our minds: employee growth, acclimation of office culture, benefits for both sides regarding the opportunity for more sales, the introduction of an external sales team (3Q Digital never implemented a sales team because almost all of our current clients came from word of mouth), the benefit of being part of a company that could offer a one-stop shop marketing solution  (including direct mail, and call centers), and, last but not least, whether or not we were going to be able to keep our unlimited PTO policy (this remains up in the air).
But what Robert showed (to me, at least) was that he was sincerely concerned about preserving the culture that 3Q Digital had created. In so many words, he articulated that Harte Hanks didn’t acquire 3Q Digital to change what they were doing; they acquired us to provide insight into the digital marketing landscape and to help Harte Hanks reach the goal of being the go-to company for client interaction.
So if I could take one thing away from the entire presentation, it’s that (thankfully) my day-to-day won’t change too much at 3Q Digital at first. We’ll still operate as the innovative performance driving marketing agency we’ve always been, but we’ll be working together to provide digital services to all of Harte Hanks’ interested clients and to further relationships that have already stretched across many years.
I want to be one of the first (maybe not the first, since David has already expressed how excited he is) to congratulate everyone in the 3Q Digital organization who has sprinted to the finish line – but instead of a finish line, we now have a marathon of a lifetime ahead of us. Let’s get it.

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