Transforming the meaning of work, one meaningful relationship at a time.
In the beginning...
In 2003, EM Founder Ken Chen suffered a health crisis which led to spinal cord surgery. The experience changed his life. He had spent his young adult years obsessing over work. Now he wanted a new challenge, and time to pursue other passions, and he started a marketing consulting practice that same year.
He chose the name EM Marketing, with EM standing for Earth Monkey, his Chinese horoscope animal, as it reflected many of the characteristics that make a good consultant:
“These Monkeys are pretty by-the-book. They are diligent, motivated individuals, honest and trustworthy. They are calm and collected, genuinely concerned for the betterment of others. They are serious about their occupations and their friendships and are more dependable than most. Earth Monkeys devote themselves completely to causes and people they love and believe in. They don’t have much of an ego because they are such genuine human beings. They demand respect and can pitch a fit if not shown what they believe they deserve.”
Well, maybe not that last part ;)
Ken quickly found success as an independent consultant. But, his entrepreneurial side kept wondering how he could grow the business. He also found himself wondering, “Am I the only person who’s found happiness through work-life balance? There must be others.” He had always been a team-first person, and missed that interaction. He started reaching out to consultants, marketers, startups—anyone referred by a trusted source—and soon found he was as successful selling other consultants’ services as his own. That led to a light bulb moment: There was a business matching up independent consultants with clients, and part of that involved supporting people to make the transition from FTE to consultant.
A community was forming, one made up of seasoned marketers who took their work very seriously, and also wanted the flexibility of being an independent. EM began to be known not just as the “get stuff done” resource for in-house marketers, but also as a firm that helped people transition into consulting, fulfilling Ken’s personal mission of helping other people achieve work life balance.
Growing the pie
After a few several years, he reached the limits of his own network and began hiring account leads—independent marketing consultants he knew and trusted, who were well connected and could network inside marketing departments, build relationships and find opportunities. Today, EM has account leads working inside major firms all over Silicon Valley, offering marketing leaders the ability to tap our community to quickly fill gaps in their teams and scale up and down as needed for specific projects.
Over the years, EM consultants worked on many projects with the PR, advertising and marketing agencies hired by our clients, sometimes collaborating with them, but often project managing their work. Time and again, we observed a disconnect between agency pricing and the quality of work delivered. We felt there was room in the market for a different kind of agency offering—one without typical agency overhead and inflexible teams, and two years ago we added Practice Area Leads to bring this new offering to the market. Our agency division wins business that would have gone to traditional agencies because we can reach deep into our bench to assemble all-star teams with the right domain and industry experience for any given project.
The all-star bench
How do we find those all-stars? Unlike staffing firms who source candidates en masse only when they receive a job req, we meet with people all the time, whether we have a req or not, because we believe that in order for a relationship to work, you have to be open to possibilities. Where other firms have a transactional mindset, focused on aggressive pricing and quantity, we focus on long term relationships and quality.
Following that philosophy over the last 15 years, we’ve assembled a community of over 1,200 marketers, over 500 of whom have worked with us. They’re supported by operations and finance teams who work with clients to meet their many requirements, and to give consultants the EM experience we want to deliver -- personal, relationship-driven, supportive, and nice.
Because we’re marketers ourselves, we know a product manager from a product marketer, and a copywriter from a white paper writer and can assess their skill level more accurately than a sourcer who’s a generalist.
And we know an EM Consultant when we meet one. They’re not that easy to find, so we are constantly meeting people, so that when opportunity knocks, we’ll know just the right people for the job.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In the wake of recent social events, EM Marketing realized we can do more to create an environment that values diversity equity and inclusion.
Helping people find fulfillment in their careers runs through our veins, and we need to do a better job providing access to opportunities to everyone.
We want everyone at EM Marketing to have a sense of belonging, be respected, and feel valued so they are free to bring their full selves to work.
We commit to celebrating our diverse community and being a leader and role model for change for our consultants and ask our clients & partners to join us as allies.