How to Excel in a Media Company

For those of you wondering how the people I meet manage to find me despite having no idea what I look like, here’s a clue:

Hi Phil

I was meeting Phil from OMD International (a media agency) and needless to say he found me.

Phil has spent his professional life so far working in all-round media agencies rather than purely digital agencies but the truth of the matter is that working life is not much different. Part of the reason for this is that despite OMD International working across multi-channel media the company is still digitally focussed. Internally Phil works for Resolution Media which is essentially a digital agency within the company.

Phil explained why this made sense. Everything in the digital market moves so quickly there is the need to specialise in order to move with market forces and technical developments. It is still important to keep abreast of the company as a whole and for this they have ‘build’ meetings (essentially a cross-agency catch up meeting) but it suits Phil to specialise in digital. Resolution Media works on hard KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) when managing campaigns, which has the major benefit of being measurable and quantifiable. Essentially you have the reassurance of knowing when you are performing well which is much harder to be certain of in other sectors within the company.

In the digital environment it is all about trackable data. That being the case there is a lot of data to process and this is where our old friend Excel comes to the rescue. I asked Phil for his three favourite features of Excel:

  • Macros – programming a series of commands to follow (using these Phil recently reduced a 6 hour job to 15 minutes).
  • Pivot Tables – dividing large pools of data into manageable groups.
  • Moving Graphs – displaying large graphs in smaller segments that move across the screen.

We all know by now that a knowledge of Excel is going to stand you in great stead for interviews so these three features are well worth looking into.

So despite working for a media agency Phil is still very much a digital man, Excelling, planning and analysing to his heart’s content.

Fish ‘n’ Chips with a Search Analyst

What does a Senior Search Analyst eat when you take him out for lunch? Fish ‘n’ chips of course.


I had prised Jonathan away from his desk at VCCP Media for a spot of lunch to see if I could gain a clearer picture of the type of person who works in search.

Outside the restaurant I was waiting for a man in a suit but instead an amiable gent sauntered up in jeans and a jumper who had me laughing from the handshake.

As a Senior Search Analyst it is Jon’s job to speak to clients about what they really want for their business, understand their industry and how they would define success and produce a pertinent digital strategy to match their objectives. (At this point I decided to catapult my knife halfway across the room. Not quite House of Flying Daggers but I did get mustard on my linen jacket. Unperturbed, we continued.)

Jon explained that if a client wants to be more digitally visible, one of the most popular methods is through paid search marketing or pay per click (PPC), chiefly because it’s unique in that the user seeks the product (and not the other way around).

I wanted to know what sort of person worked in PPC, and when asked for some of his passions, Jon cited: music, writing and technology or in his words “nerdiness”. Interestingly, as well as his own writing projects he is a massive fan of PG Wodehouse (“known for his consummate skill at the detailed construction and development of his plots” if you’re wondering). Sounds like Jon has a healthy mix of creativity with attention to detail and problem-solving.

It was very much a case that digital chose him rather than the other way round. Without really having a strong idea of what he wanted from his career he started as a Comms Planner in a media agency that dealt with the ‘whole shebang’, online and off. In Jonathan’s words, “When it came to shebangs, we didn’t do things by halves”. He moved on, gradually drifting into the digital market but it was when he found Excel that he fell “in love almost immediately”.

It seems that Excel is a cornerstone of PPC and I asked him about the importance of Excel for graduates. His response was encouraging because he placed less emphasis on being an Excel genius and more on the ability to be self-sufficient, technically minded and people who have a sense of responsibility. He then let me in on a VCCP mantra: “Unpreciousness is the fastest way of learning”; be open and willing to learn. Saying that, you can learn some of the basics in this handy post.

With all the new developments and updates in the digital market (for example Google’s Panda and Penguin updates) I asked whether it was hard to stay ahead of the game. As well as a couple of blogs, Black Cat PPC and SEM Geek he highlighted the importance of keeping an on the news feed on LinkedIn’s homepage.

We shook hands and departed, me having learned much more than just what a Senior Search Analyst at VCCP Media eats for lunch and he having learned nothing whatsoever (other than that I reminded him of his friend Theo).