When Rick Donaldson left his corporate marketing job in the 90’s, he had no idea what the next few decades would hold. All he knew was that, too often, advertisers prioritized profits over their clients’ best interests.

In 1998, Rick officially opened the doors to his own marketing agency with a distinct focus on creating lasting client relationships built on trust and results. Fast forward to today – Mass Media Marketing, now known as M3 Agency, is celebrating its 25th year in business this November.

Over the last 25 years, M3 has grown from a tiny operation to an impressive team of 30+ marketing and creative experts.

“Our first office was absolutely tiny. We only had a handful of employees but we had to put desks in the hallway.” Rick said with a laugh. “Two of our employees sat back to back in the hall and if someone needed to get by, they’d have to get up from their desks.”

Even in its early days, M3 stood apart from its competitors by being a full-service agency. Its core focus has always been keeping client costs down, delivering results, and providing excellent customer service above all else.

“We understood that the more dollars allocated towards reach, frequency, and delivering a relevant message, the better the chance of success,” Rick said. “Many agencies make their money on the creative development side, which in many cases leaves the client with little-to-no budget towards delivering their message, ultimately leading to a failed campaign.”

M3 was able to quickly make a name for itself with big name clients such as Zaxby’s and the Taylor Auto Group. The Taylor Auto Group is still a loyal M3 client today.

“One of the things I am most proud of is not only our long term client retention track record, but also our employee retention,” Rick said. “We have clients that have been with us for more than 20 years. In the advertising world, that’s really unheard of.”

“We also have a core team of people who have been part of the M3 family for 10, 15, and 25 years,” Rick continued. “We’ve had a whole generation of employees who had babies that essentially grew up in our office. Now they’re in college. We really have become one big, extended family. I think that says a lot about our values and how we treat our clients and employees.”

While clients and employees have remained a constant, M3 is no stranger to change. The agency has survived all the highs and lows that have come along in its 25 year history. From a national recession to a global pandemic, flexibility has been crucial to M3’s longevity.

“The key is having the flexibility to pivot and grow when necessary,” Rick said. “We can ride the waves and adjust as needed, and that is something to be proud of. We were able to not just survive, but actually grow stronger during the difficult times and build a well-rounded, diverse portfolio in spite of it all.”

Today, M3 boasts state-of-the-art creative suites and equipment, a team of trained and certified digital analysts, and world class account managers. As media consumption and the marketing world continue to change faster than ever, M3 remains pliable and eager to learn.

As for the next 25 years, Rick has a plan.

“We have to continue to adapt, train, and execute as we always have,” Rick said. “We are still growing after all this time and we learn something new and challenge ourselves every day.”

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