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Brains Trust - What do you like about media?

MediaScope's Brains Trust is a series where we regularly pose questions on topical issues to people actively involved in the media industry.

Here we ask MediaScope's Brains Trust to respond to the question...

What do you like about media - and why is the media sector a good career choice?

Scroll down the page or click on these links to see each person's views...

Greg Graham: Business Development & Marketing Officer @ GroupmMediaScope's Brains Trust - Greg Graham

What I love about media is the diversity of opportunities. You can specialize in so many insightful areas e.g. Trading, strategy, digital, content, data analysts, business science, sports sponsorship, events & activations etc.. Plus you form amazing relationships with media partners that can drive real business results for your clients.
The talent that works in the media industry are incredibly passionate, smart and committed people that inspire everyone around them. Many of my early colleagues have become life time buddies and I consider so many people in the industry as true friends.
The media sector is a great career choice due to the incredible training and development available. Both from an industry perspective for example the MFA (Media Federation of Australia) or the various global media networks that invest heavily in there most important resource –their people. If you work for a global media network the chance to work overseas is a real possibility and I was incredibly lucky to work with Mindshare New York for 7 years. The US experience was a career highlight and a brilliant opportunity I will be incredibly grateful for . Good old fashioned hard work, loyalty, passion and commitment is still valued and a career in media can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. After 40 years in media I still love my job and look forward to every day!

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Chris Blok: Director of Buyer Relations APAC @ SpotXchangeMediaScope's Brains Trust - Chris Blok


I don’t recall anyone at school or even university, ever say “I want a career in media sales”.  I don’t think I can say that I consciously chose a career in media, more that the media industry chose me!


I finished my Business Degree and was tossing up between a big European travelling adventure and finding a good brand-marketing role that was going to set me up for a strong marketing career.  I had seen a job at Mindshare working on Bundaberg Rum and the greater Diageo account and the lure of working on such a brand, was too big so I joined Mindshare as a media planner/buyer working across the Diageo brands.  I really like the fast paced and nimble environment of the media industry and wanted to explore the media industry more so decided to try my hand at sales and joined Eyecorp(now part of oOh!) outdoor in a media sales capacity.


I quickly realised that I thrived in a sales environment, building new relationships and helping media planners/buyers execute their strategies; also having a natural interest in all things advertising helped too. As the digital space grew I could see technology was changing our industry creating more opportunity, diversity and specialisation for media professionals. I too wanted to stay ahead of the curve and saw the opportunity digital offered and took a role at News Ltd; essentially to learn more about the digital process and environment. With a strong grounding in my newfound digital skill set, it led me to roles client-side at Optus and a pivot into the world of programmatic at Brandscreen. In my current role as Director of Buyer Relations at SpotXchange; a video only technology platform provider helping digital publishers better sell their video advertising space, it sees me back to the core of what drew me to media – building on relationships, meeting new people and always learning new skills in our fast paced environment.


The media industry doesn’t stand still, always needing to engage their audiences and remain current and relevant.  New understanding, thinking and talent are what has kept me within the media industry and it really is one industry that offers superb opportunities for young digital natives with real flair, understanding and skill.


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Virginia Hyland: Founder & Principal @ HM Communication GroupMediaScope's Brains Trust - Virginia Hyland


I love the fact that tomorrow media may be something totally different from what it is today. It feels like a new frontier in media every day and it will keep feeling this way. No two days are the same and that makes it exciting. Working in media also gives me a great depth of understanding across many different categories in business.


I think that if we were doing the same things in media as it was in the 90’s that wouldn’t be a challenge. The fact that media is the change agent means that we are always learning new ways to communicate with the audience. That audience is now in control of what they want to see and hear, when they want to see and hear it. We can learn so much more about communicating at the right time– not just time of day but also at the right place and when the audience is in the right mindset. People within media who latch onto this concept and have a broad mind as to how they can make the most of connection opportunities for brands will be able to deliver incredibly successful results for their clients.


Even though media is an industry of change, for great media people there will always be a place at the table. Clients now hold media people in higher regard than ever before as media explodes. This is because media people are able to learn very quickly what creative is delivering stronger results as we track it every day. So even within the creative process our advice is more valuable than ever as we see the creative variations that deliver results for a client.


There is a shortage of media professionals, especially within the digital experience. This means that jobs are available whether you have a degree or not and progression is relatively quick.


This industry is not for the faint hearted but it is for you if you have the ambition and want to create impact for a client. You also have to have the desire to understand what makes a consumer tick. This industry is fast paced but is also incredibly fun to be a part of and will forever evolve.


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Kate Cadet: Partnership & Sales Manager @ The New DailyMediaScope's Brains Trust - Kate Cadet

As a young graduate working for Singleton Ogilvy & Mather in the “glory days” of advertising, I quickly learnt that all the creative ideas in the world generated while sitting at my Mac would be wasted in client pitches if I was unable to inform and influence the client’s decision making process.


Fast forward to the current, dynamic digital age. Now, traditional advertising and media silos are being redefined to enable sharing of creativity and industry knowledge, which is attracting a new wave of talent to the industry.


My advice to people who are considering becoming part of the journey would be:

  • While being tech, digital and multimedia savvy will get you far in this industry, having an innate understanding of the complete media landscape (or the genuine burning desire to unpack every element of it) and being actively conversant throughout your career will separate you from the pack. 
  • Commit to knowing the current trends, together with the multi-platform communication elements of media, that have the power to not only connect en-masse, but to also individualise and be hyper personal. 
  • Be solutions-centric. No matter which sector of media you land in, be that print, digital, content or social, be reverent to ALL online and offline media options and honestly consider the power they collectivity play to influence the consumer journey. 
  • Never stop learning, analysing, engaging and connecting. Our industry is an exciting (and competitive) space where engaged and innovative minds can thrive.  

Aim to become your own invaluable media brand that clients, suppliers and social network followers want to experience and/or do business with!

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Mark Chesterfield: Advertising Strategy Director @ Pacific MagazinesMediaScope's Brains Trust - Mark Chesterfield


I’ve had the privilege to work across a number of industry sectors during my career – many years in the media agency business; several years consulting; a couple in research and most latterly on the media side. Each sector has its pros and cons, highs and lows, joys and frustrations but in the end they’ve all provided an amazing ride and if you’re lucky enough to be in this industry and having fun then you’re very lucky indeed.


My years in the media sector have given me an interesting perspective on the incredible hard work, creativity and camaraderie that exists on this side. This is especially important these days when there is so much reliance on the ability of the media to create holistic, 360 degree solutions for advertisers.


In the publishing business, for instance, the ‘old’ specialists who were once siloed into individual channels have given way to multi-skilled individuals with a rich knowledge of integration, cross-channel business solutions and a powerful understanding of the role each channel plays in the communication process.


It’s this amazing, challenging set of skills that’s so attractive here – working with teams of great people in sales, research, marketing, editorial, production and so on to create cross-channel campaigns that live on pages, online, in social, as video, in events, digital editions, etc… In fact, it’s all about finding ways to engage with audiences whenever, wherever, and however they choose and finding the solution that’s just right for each advertiser.


On the media side you’re at the ‘coal-face’ – talking directly to the consumer, creating content that you hope they’ll love (be it editorial or advertising), and actually seeing the results of your hard work in real time. Pitching, winning, losing, learning and creating across a plethora of clients and agencies – it’s a roller coaster ride every day and despite all the hard work it can be an incredible high.


Working in the media is, well, just fun…!


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Martin Cowie: People & Development Director @ OmnicomMediaScope's Brains Trust - Martin Cowie


I’ve been in media a fair few years now and I think now is the most exciting time that I can remember.


When I was a boy (alongside Adam) the brain power required was enough to take the advertising agencies creative and decide how you split your clients budget across television, print, radio and outdoor to get either the highest coverage or the most frequency. If you worked hard and fast in the morning you could have a leisurely lunch as reward.


As for the effectiveness of your advertising well sales usually saw some sort of uplift so it must have worked!


And then came along the internet and the game changed.


Starting as traditional display media units digital has transformed the communication landscape enabling clients to become media owners themselves through their owned channels and build communities and communicate with their customers in individually contextually relevant real time ways via earned social channels.

Media’s role is no longer just to display advertising but to build a powerful sales building channels that are now as accountable and as important to the CEO as the CMO.


Another good test of media as a career choice is when you compare it to the working lives of other industries. In media the majority of people are fun loving under 30’s, most companies invest in training and building a positive culture and you don’t have to buy your own beer very often! Now most of my friends work outside the media industry and they consider media glamorous and can’t believe how many perks of the job there are.


Maybe it’s time for us to appreciate that where we are standing the grass maybe is greener.  


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Peter Cornelius: Principal @ Kinesis MediaMediaScope's Brains Trust - Peter Cornelius


What do I like about media – what is there not to like? Where else can you work in an industry that is forever changing and you get to work and interact with some amazing talented people that in the main are passionate and committed to what they do. Sure, like any industry and life itself, you do have to deal with some people that would not be your preferred choice, but they are in the minority and in the end you just learn to move on. 


Why the media sector is such a good career choice is there are endless opportunities for those people willing to work hard and to give their all. Different roles require particular attributes so therefore people have the ability to focus on those areas that suit their skillsets and personality type for everyone is different. I’ve always worked to the mantra of ‘you get back what you put in’ and in my experience it applies really well to the media sector. Conversely, if you don’t demonstrate diligence and a willingness to work hard in all that you do and if you think you can coast then you’ll be found out pretty quickly and won’t survive so the media sector is not for you.


My comments however come with some degree of caution. The traditional entry points for newbies starting out in the media sector are in media agencies and media owners. The industry has always had churn and it remains too high, but whilst this creates opportunity for entry and junior level positions, it also means people are often being promoted well before they are ready. Being “thrown in at the deep end” can be a good thing and can create a faster career path but it also means many media people lack real practical experience and a solid foundation in the basics. Combining this with the rate of change and the pressure on deadlines means it can be a recipe for disaster for those that are too inexperienced. Companies must manage and support their people that are learning the trade by having practical training programs and committed senior mentors in place.  Most companies say they do this but in my experience many give it lip service and don’t walk the talk.


Any media company’s primary asset is their people so managing them should always be their top priority. In working with industry stakeholders their number one area of concern is always based around deteriorating business relationships and this relates directly back to people – high staff turnover, quality and expertise of the people they deal with and tardiness in response times. So the media sector is great to work in but being a service industry the expectations are high so if you are not up to it you will not survive. If you are up to speed, consistently deliver and are committed as they say “the world is your oyster.”


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Luke Sullivan: National Head of Agency Sales @ SalmatMediaScope's Brains Trust - Luke Sullivan


I believe the media industry offers one of the most exciting career opportunities out there. It provides an array of different disciplines to accommodate any kind of skill set, from art and creative through to sales and data analysis – and everything in between. Another big factor that makes the industry so attractive to work is the people. The media industry is shaped by the sheer diversity and quality of people, and this ultimately creates a motivating and fun culture. 


Working in the advertising side of media opens a number of doors to job satisfaction. For me, top of that list is the feeling of accomplishment when you deliver a winning advertising solution to an agency or client. Then there is the continuous ability to up-skill. The advertising world is constantly changing, so you can never stop learning about different platforms and technologies, and how they work within the media and marketing landscape. Also, the diversity and competitive pressures within categories means there is never a dull day. And whilst you work hard, it’s an industry that acknowledges and rewards that with excellent career progression and even travel. 


Finally, of course, it all comes down to the people. Media people know how to come together, socialise and celebrate. And there’s no doubting that this is a big reason why so many people stay in the industry or, if they’ve left, try and come back. 


You can have medicine and law. I will take media any day.


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Mark Fairhurst:  General Manager - Sales @ APN OutdoorMediaScope's Brains Trust - Mark Fairhurst


I’ve often thought about why I chose Media or as most of us would say, why Media chose me? Apart from the fact that my first career as a Lawn Mowing Entrepreneur and Rock Star didn’t quite work out.


After 17 years of pondering, I think I’ve distilled it down to 3 core attributes of the media industry that are attractive and that I have found very hard to replicate in other professions.


1.   Relevance – by its very nature, media must remain relevant to its audience or die. This is true for both the Content it delivers and the method of delivery itself. Therefore, good media companies are always current and at the forefront of technology and emerging consumer trends. Understanding and embracing those changes keeps me relevant as well.

2.   Competition – Whether its competition for audience attention or competition for advertising revenue, Media keeps you on your toes and challenges you to be better. It drags you out of your comfort zone and ultimately reinforces the first point (relevance). The industry attracts great people who force you to get better or get out.

3.   “Money can’t buy” experiences - As a function of what I do, I have been fortunate to experience what life might have been like if career number one had actually worked out. Working across Publishing, Outdoor, TV and Online, I have had VIP access to Olympic Games, International Cricket, FIFA World Cup, Rock Stars, TV Stars, 5 Stars, Celebrity Chefs & Racing Cars. Not to mention the satisfaction of planning, developing, selling and launching the program, product or event that provided the opportunity in the first place.


I have found media to be an extremely rewarding career choice. Its competitive, constantly changing and tough, but does come with all kinds of bells and whistles for those prepared to commit and get involved.


Looking for a role in media?



Further Resources

  • Brains Trust: Future of Media Sales - we've asked the MediaScope network 'How do you see media sales developing over the next 5 years and what should media sales specialists do to prepare?'
  • Buyers Centre - relevant articles, information, guides, profiles and practical tips for marketers and agencies
  • Sellers Centre - relevant articles, information, guides, profiles and practical tips on developing advertising and media sales strategies


Other Pages of Interest

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