If you are like me and go through life with a healthy (read: exorbitant) level of skepticism, you may follow Advance B2B on Instagram or Twitter, and think this is a place that looks too good to be true.
While I was in the recruitment process last year, I too shared these kinds of thoughts. I was trying to find out what the catch was.
Everyone I met, from the first contact with my future team lead, to the team I’d be working with, was making me more worried about what I wasn’t seeing.
And this blog post might seem like just more of the same. Some raving, great company, Malmi this Malmi that jadidada.
When you change jobs, there's often that pattern. First, the new place seems great. But then there’s the ugly wake up, and you see that all that glitters ain’t gold. 💩
Spoiler alert: in fact not all that glitters is gold.
And while there are many great things about working at Advance B2B, there are also some challenging things that aren't that awesome.
Let’s have an honest look at it, shall we?
I could almost skip over the good parts because they are so visible, but let’s recap anyway.
Caring about each other
The first thing I noticed is that people care about each other. I felt welcome and people were checking in with me about how I was doing throughout the first weeks. And whenever I had a question, I found someone who took the time to help me.
I also noticed how seamless (buzzword alert) it felt to join this company. Thanks to Slack (not an affiliate link) I could immediately join in the discussion, and to be honest: for a recluse like me, it almost felt nicer to meet all those new people with a bit of a safe distance.
Working with people who share your love for good marketing
This is something I noticed from the start. I have been used to being one of the few or even the only marketer around, and depending on whom you talk to (cheers to my former colleagues in product development 👋), you need to add a lot of context to what you are doing and suggesting.
At Advance B2B, you work with experts in their field, and you can learn so much from your colleagues which in turn allows you to develop professionally.
On that note, learning is actually a central part of growth marketing and we use this in our everyday life. We share fuckups and learnings openly. In my first months, I messed up quite a bit by sending an infamous ‘ghost email’ out. You may have seen it? It was a slightly lunatic-sounding email with a ghost emoji? 👻
This caused a bit of confusion but I felt safe to share the mistake, and own up to it. There are still workplaces in 2021 where it’s impossible to make mistakes.
Speaking of learning, this is another great thing. Every one of us has a certain amount of time reserved for learning, and we even have a budget we can spend on learning and developing ourselves with no questions asked.
But on top of that, you have colleagues that you learn from, and various customers who of course hire us to work with them, but also have their ways and approaches to marketing.
I always wished to work at a place where I can work whenever and however much I want, and not just between Monday and Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. And I feel I really found this place. In the end, what matters is that the work for the customers is done.
And so far it looks like as long as you take care of that and of course, do your work thoroughly, it doesn’t really matter how long it took you or if you wrote out that growth marketing strategy on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
For me, this is actually one of the most important things at work. I always find it funny how companies demand all sorts of flexibility from employees, but in turn, are extremely inflexible with rigid and arbitrary schedules and rules.
This is another thing I need to highlight. The freedom goes beyond when and where you work but you basically have the freedom to take responsibility and ownership of things you care for.
I wouldn’t work in marketing if I wouldn’t qualify the bad as challenges but it really is just that: challenges. I wanted to list some things that I found particularly challenging when starting at Advance B2B.
And since I’ve not worked on the agency side of things before, those are things I noticed, particularly coming from an in-house role as well.
Customers are great, but not having worked in a customer-facing role before, I have to admit working with customers has been a bit (a lot!!) terrifying.
We send a weekly update to our customers each Friday. It’s just a short text with the main things we worked on during the week.
And I remember I was so afraid of sending this.
Come to think of it, I was actually afraid of talking to customers altogether because I thought they will think I am stupid and immediately terminate our contracts.
Luckily that hasn’t happened yet and after the first two weeks, I also dared to speak with my customers. 👻
This also led to my first experience with this imposter syndrome. Which is something I suffered quite a bit from in the first month.
I joined this company and feared people would see how I have no idea of what I am doing. I guess it was somewhat related to my worry about what our customers would think of me, and I felt that the customers must surely be disappointed working with me when there are so many smarter people in the company.
I am not sure where that came from even. I didn’t have that feeling in previous jobs. Luckily that too went over.
But I think the main difference here is that customers didn’t hire you specifically, whereas when you start in an in-house marketing role, you have been hired by the people you’ll be working with. At least for me, that may have been the difference.
This can be quite challenging if you are not used to having set times when you need to deliver something. When you are an in-house marketer, most likely you set your own schedule, or work it out with a team, and while of course there can be delays also in an agile sprint model, it still is a bit different.
We agree with our customers on what we will be working on in the next four weeks, and in the last week review the deliverables.
That can create a certain level of pressure.
The good news is though, it’s quite easy to get used to it and it also provides you with some sort of planning security for the months ahead.
Onboarding yourself to several companies at a time
When you switch jobs it’s usually so that you need to figure out the ways of working in your new place. Which processes they have in place and how to do what.
But joining Advance B2B actually meant that I had to figure out our way of working, AND how to deal with administrative things, BUT at the same time, getting to know my customers, understand their business, challenges, and internal workings.
In the beginning that can be somewhat overwhelming but it gets better over time.
Malmi, yes we love to embrace our heritage but Malmi really ain’t pretty. Don’t believe me? Here is a picture of the infamous Malmin Tori.
And here are some recent news from the Malmi area 😱
The office is pretty though. But you know what the office isn’t?
It isn’t well insulated.
On my first day, it was freezing cold and when I checked back in mid-June the air was somewhat heavy.
What’s the verdict
As Apulanta (what can I say, I have a thing for Finnish early 2000s alternative music) so aptly put it ‘Rohkeus on voima’ – To dare is power and I think that really describes what it’s like to work here.
You need to leave your comfort zone, try new things, and have the possibility to really test out different things.
Failure is ok and encouraged because that's the way you learn.
The image you see of the company is also just that: the result of hard work and consistently daring to be different and just shaping out the edge that makes our brand.