3Q Digital, an independent performance and digital marketing agency, announced Tuesday that it will open new offices in Dublin and Singapore, the first physical international locations for the agency.
The expansion positions the company for international growth, expanding the number of offices from 10 to 12.
The agency had already begun working with clients in Dublin and Singapore from the U.S. before expanding into these countries.
David Rodnitzky, CEO at 3Q Digital, said the expansion gives the agency greater capacity to serve its clients where they are located.
He believes the move positions the agency to help grow emerging international disruptive brands, similar to the way it has done for many U.S. brands such as Intuit and Helix, among others, by partnering with Bing, Google, Pinterest, Reddit, Searchmetrics, and more.
The expansion was made possible with financial backing from PSP Capital, and Erie Street Capital, the company announced in May 2019.
“We don’t’ have Dublin or Singapore based clients, yet, but we have all these Silicon Valley clients that are aggressively trying to expand outside of the U.S. and they want feet on the street,” Rodnitzky said.
About 10 of the 325 employees support international operations, with plans to expand to 20 this year and about 35 to 40 in 2020, depending on client needs. Most of the clients are U.S. based, but Forrester Analytics estimates that search advertising spend in Ireland will reach $319 million in 2019.
The demand for media is predominantly search engine marketing, but the company’s beginning to see the need to support paid social and YouTube.
As the company goes internationally, there’s a need for translation and localization, Rodnitzky said.
Some of the challenges point to staying in tune with regulatory issues. And it was easier to open an office in Singapore, whereas Dublin took a bit longer. “There are different laws around hiring and firing people,” he said. “In many countries if you decide to go your separate ways with someone, there could be up to a six month severance period.”
3Q already supports about $1.3 billion in annual digital media spend on behalf of its clients in 165 countries, representing 23 languages.
Not all independent agencies believe they must expand internationally to grow their client base.
“We feel the U.S. offers plenty of opportunity in the mid-market full service digital agency category, so our primary focus remains domestic,” said Kevin Lee, Didit founder. “If a major client wanted us to handle international business with native teams, we'd likely partner with a smaller shop in that country or region. If things went well we would consider an international acquisition rather than grow an international presence organically.”