Everyone has that coworker (let’s call him Joe) who sulks into work at 9, clocks out at 5, and complains that the coffee in the kitchen is crap. This is usually the same person who thinks client requests – decks revisions, budget reallocations, same day reporting, new tech POV’s, you name it - are unreasonable, every time. Joe’s talented, he just doesn’t love coming to work on the reg. And sure, everyone has their off day, but Joe won’t last forever…and here’s why.
Media careers in the agency world aren’t exactly a breeze. Some may say it’s a cut-throat gig. Especially when you’re green and just starting out, it’s difficult convincing yourself you’ve made the right move when your salary barely pays the bills and you’re at the office late every night. I remember working at a trendy, up and coming shop in San Francisco early in my career where dogs ran around (my pod neighbor was Spike, a bulldog), music was always playing, movie posters comically edited by the creative team were posted on the walls, and exposed brick was illuminated by huge chandeliers…only to dim as the sun went down and we – the media team – were stuck at the office trafficking tags until midnight. That wasn’t a rare occurrence. Although the adrenaline at the office kept me excited and curious, I was constantly tired and quite frankly, I felt inadequate and sub-par.
I don’t recall a time, a place, a situation that “flipped my switch” but ultimately my outlook on media, on my career, my future, all changed. I started to network, to meet people like me, to ask questions, to read articles, to anticipate questions before they were answered, and to understand what it would take to achieve a higher title. My boss stopped holding my hand, allowed me to find confidence in what I previously believed I was not capable of achieving. Coworkers began coming to me for solutions, for answers, and for support. Particularly within digital – a faction of media that has been growing rapidly in the past decade or so – I knew I had to keep up if I wanted to stay competitive. This meant late nights without complaint, taking constructive feedback with grace, finding the confidence to speak up in room of execs, teaching myself pivot tables, v-lookups, and keyboard shortcuts in excel, and dedicating time to learn from my superiors/mentors. But, above all, I learned to love what I do. I was good at it, I had the gumption, and I wanted to excel. Hurdles no longer seemed burdensome, they were opportunities.
So, what does make a great media person? What keeps them coming in early and leaving late, voluntarily, knowing that advertising is taking years off their life? (slight exaggeration but you get it). The answer? Free booze and schwag! Kidding. What makes a media person great is their ability to embrace the chaos, to multi-task like a champ, to ask questions, to challenge strategy, to negotiate with authority (but to also know when not to), to build trust with clients, to write emails with authority and tact, to see opportunities, to think critically and strategically, to be a leader to your team, to find pride in your work, and to understand how the work inside the walls of an agency affects the world outside.
The media team at IMM isn’t just good, we’re great. We’re experts at digital media. We challenge the status quo. We always look to improve process and efficiencies. We are trusted stewards of our clients’ dollars and track ROI with a fine-tooth comb. We are humble; we know there’s more to know and always strive to stay ahead of the curve. At the end of the day, we may not be perfect but we’re darn great at what we do: Driving sales over night to build brands over time.
With an influx of news and regulations surfacing as of late – Cambridge Analytica, Facebook restrictions on Partner Categories, GDPR in the EU, YouTube 3P (third party) tracking restrictions, to name a few – I understand how important it is to not only stay abreast of this information personally but to also share information with my clients and serve as a guide as we begin navigating these new waters together.
Taking a particular look at GDPR. While the new regulations going into effect at the end of May do not legally impact the US in the immediate (however noting that regulations still apply to EU citizens in the US), there are plenty of companies within the states preparing for if and when it does. Breaking down GDPR into something short and digestible, it essentially mandates that companies will not be allowed to target users unless the data they’re using to do so has been acquired via full consent by the user. The provided article further explains implications for Facebook as such: “Although Facebook is sitting on top of a trove of personal data, it will have to start offering a form of ad targeting that does not process these data points, unless it can get explicit consent.” Knowing this, in addition to the news about the removal of Partner Categories within Facebook by October, it’s more important now than ever to build owned audiences and data sets as well as explore a media mix beyond the big players (Facebook and Google), such as programmatic within The Trade Desk, an industry leader in the space. Per The Trade Desk’s official statement, “the key takeaway is that the entire industry will need to adjust the way business is typically done – not a single brand or advertiser or DSP – which means that all companies involved will be working together to ensure that the entire space is compliant.”
The jury is still out on the effect that GDPR will have on scale and performance in the EU with both Facebook and other data companies, however what we as advertisers do know is that providers and brands alike are making moves to be more compliant and transparent with their data.
All of the above being said, you and your partners should be taking data and privacy very seriously. Ask questions, reach out to your partners, and educate yourself so you and your company become ready for the changes to come.