Degree and University: Lancaster University Management School, BA (Hons) Advertising and Marketing Theory and Practice (2003-2006).
Work Title: Senior Planner Buyer at Walker Media, a top 10 Media agency in central London.
What do you actually do? Day to day I plan and buy across press, radio and outdoor on various clients as well as having a greater involvement in the overall planning and development of the media strategies for each client. The role involves dealing with both the client and media owners, negotiating rates, creating plans and managing deadlines, finances and to a certain extent other colleagues in the team.
Why did you decide to go into this sector? Entering the media world seemed like the most natural progression from my degree and the work experience I had undertaken. I was really keen on the idea of reaching the right people with the right message, at the right time.
Would you undertake further training to further your career? Although I would consider further training I don’t think that it is particularly necessary at this stage in my career. We get quite a lot of internal training at present and I wouldn’t mind taking part in an evening class if it was required but it isn’t something I am currently looking at.
What do you like most about what you do and are there any downsides? My job is very sociable, I get to deal with a lot of people and work on a wide variety of different projects, so it never gets boring! One day I’m planning a mono press campaign with a simple retail message and the next I’m in a meeting about sponsoring the World Free Run championships; the two couldn’t be more different! I also get a variety of tasks within each campaign, I really enjoy the planning side where you have to research your audience and how best to reach them but equally love the rush of a good buying negotiation as it’s often fast paced and work which keeps you on your toes!
Sometimes you have to work late, but I’m sure that’s the same for all jobs! Oh and I have to use excel a lot more than I initially would have hoped to!
What do you think are the most important skills/strengths you need to make a success of what you do? People skills are essential, everyday I speak to both strangers and more regular contacts on the phone, face to face and via email and if you can’t get on with that then you’ll never enjoy this job. You also need to have the ability to step back and look at what you are doing, sometimes you can run away with an idea and you need to be able to appraise whether it is the best plan for your objectives and if it will achieve the best result for your client.
Another important factor is attention to detail – plans get updated so many times that it’s really important that you can keep the records up-to-date as clients need to be billed and media owners paid correctly as you are dealing with real money and real accounts.
What are your career aspirations? As yet these are undecided! Along with everyone else I’d like to reach the next stage on the ladder and a few more rungs to boot but eventually I think the agency might run out of Managing Partner roles. At present I’m really enjoying what I do and am really interested in developing into the planning side of things, that said research is becoming more and more interesting to me so time will tell. My job is so varied that there are several directions that it could take me in just within my own industry, but whatever route I choose I’m going to aim high.
What would be the best piece of advice for graduates wishing to come into this sector? Be outgoing and know what you want to achieve. Once you get there don’t sit back on your laurels as you can move far in this industry but you do need to put the work in. Also I think it’s really important to use your background to your advantage, although it isn’t in any way essential to have a relevant degree- you have this on your side so you might as well use it!