Planning. A move to Australia.

I’d spoken to a lot of search people so far – we’re often told that that’s where the demand is. But what of the media planner? Is there a demand for them out in Australia?

There was only one way to find out. I was meeting Sam Russell, now Digital Director at Mediacom Sydney to talk about his experience of moving from the UK.

Sam Russell

In search, the media owners (engines) are pretty much universal (with the possible exception of Yandex and Baidu before you say it). In display this is not the case, the markets are completely different. If half of a planner buyer’s role is in knowing the mediascape, (a) what value do they have in moving to another market and (b) is there an appetite to bring people over from the UK?

Well, according to Sam:

(a)    Significant – knowing the media owners is just one aspect of the of the overall role and this bit can be picked up quickly, using tools like Nielsen and Roy Morgan. The value is in process – how to respond to a brief, how to brief creative, knowledge of technologies, how to manage clients and internal stakeholders and ultimately to deliver results

(b)   Yes.

There are four main media owners in Australia, but this isn’t seen as a limitation – for Sam, it made getting to know the market easier and at briefing stage it means that he can cover a decent part of the market by having four conversations. It’s better for trading leverage too.

Sam had a strong background before coming over to Australia – his role before coming here was as Digital Account Manager on Vodafone at Carat in London. Like Grant, Sam had never set foot on Australian soil before moving here, and tried to come here with very little in the way of preconceptions.

According to Sam, the limitations are down to consumer behaviour rather than the sophistication of the marketing techniques or access to technology. He added that Australia proudly boasts one of the highest smart phone penetrations in the world, and is considered one of the most progressive markets for mobile as a result.

“I can honestly say that I’m working with some of the best people I’ve ever worked with – in terms of training, strategy and client management”.  He puts part of this down to “Unapologetically high standards of recruitment” at Mediacom and the relative longevity of the management team, most of who have been in the company for four years or more.

“The environment feels more supportive” adds Sam, “There’s a lot less one-upmanship than in UK I think, more commonality and a desire to work together to just do great work.”

Sam closed by saying that people from the UK market have been instrumental in capitalising on market opportunities and paving the way in the Australian market.

Well said Sam, well said.