I started my media career in 2008 working for a small boutique agency where I learnt the ropes of digital marketing, ecommerce and communications planning before joining the Omnicom family in 2011. I spent three years honing my planning skills across on a range of FMCG, retail and entertainment businesses.
My passion for digital marketing and data took me on a path to join Omnicom’s Programmatic specialist team in 2014, starting as an Activation Director looking after a small team. The team, our programmatic capabilities, and my own career have had exponential growth since then. Five years on, I am now Head of Activation and responsible for Omnicom Media Group UK’s programmatic activation across all channels (display, mobile, video, audio and emerging programmatic channels). My role is to support the programmatic teams across the agencies, advise on best practice and educate on how to effectively buy programmatically and use different technologies to deliver marketing objectives.
Working across a large team that spans across four agencies, I use the start of the week to communicate important updates and information. This includes updating our leadership team of latest strategic business development, team management, performance and activation test results, and separately hosting status meetings for the agency teams to facilitate knowledge sharing and talk about the latest technology changes. The beauty of working in the programmatic team is that the industry is constantly changing, evolving and innovating – so there is always lots to keep up to date with.
No day is really a typical day. As the new week begins, there will be opportunities to work on a diverse range of subjects, including tools for understanding audiences and online behaviour, analysing data to devise a strategy for optimising a campaign against a goal, evaluating new opportunities with technology, working with publishers to assess the best and most efficient route to their inventory, or working to support the other central operation teams to deliver successful projects.
Part of my role is to work closely with market leading ad tech companies to develop Omnicom’s programmatic offering and expertise. I spend time alongside our Head of Technology and Operations Directors to feed into product development, feature requests and help communicate the needs of our clients to the technology owners.
At our Bankside office, we have a lovely rooftop terrace and canteen, which is a great place to have lunch. I aim to spend at least two days a week having lunch with people across the team to take a step back, share and catch up on life outside of media. People who work in media and advertising tend to be very passionate about the industry, so often the conversation will turn back towards the latest media news.
In digital media, there is always ongoing testing for new formats, publishers, vendors, and features of Demand Side Platforms. Part of testing is to ensure there are clear hypotheses and frameworks to work within, which I help create. Another part of testing is troubleshooting to find solutions for operations, which is like trying to solve a puzzle using lots of different elements.
Part of the fun working in the media industry is the social nature of the people. We often go out to various restaurants, bars and sporting events as a team, and Thursday tends to be the night for that!
Working with a range of different technology partners, it is part of my responsibility to ensure talent in the team is nurtured and developed. In the mornings, as the day tends to be a bit quieter for ad hoc requests, we use this time to host training for the team with technology vendors or publishers. As we head into the weekend, the activation team will be finalising new set ups and ensuring campaigns are on track for pacing and performance.
Who has been the biggest inspiration in your career?
Where I started my career, they taught me that I had the potential to do anything if I put the work in and pushed through boundaries. Now, I am inspired almost every day by the stories I hear and the people I meet.
What advice would you give to someone starting a career in the industry?
Question things, take an interest, form an opinion, and never shy away from the opportunity to learn something new.
By Melinda Clow, Head of Programmatic Activation, OMG UK Programmatic