ANALYSIS: How to sell to ... Ed Ling - I-level’s account director is a snowboarding techno freak, Lexie Goddard finds

The first time I spy Ed Ling, he’s kitted out in baggy trousers and trainers and kicking a football around I-level’s open-plan office while listening to some nice ambient techno.

The first time I spy Ed Ling, he’s kitted out in baggy trousers and

trainers and kicking a football around I-level’s open-plan office while

listening to some nice ambient techno.



OK, so it’s 6.30pm on a Friday, but this also suggests that I-level is

not your old-school media agency. It’s one of the new breed of dedicated

internet planning/buying companies where suits are a no-no and most of

the buyers are not a day over 25.



At the grand old age of 26, Ling has just been promoted from account

director on Motley Fool, Peoplesound, Yell and Smile, to media manager,

where he’ll oversee the output of 21 planners and buyers and delve into

other platforms for clients, such as WAP and digital TV.



It’s a long way from his first job, spot buying for MediaVest’s client

Procter & Gamble. The job was deadly boring but come 5.30pm Ling was

off, distributing flyers for the jazz funk club he was running.



The big break came when Ling, a keen snowboarder, suggested to the

planning director of Scottish Courage that Foster’s Ice should sponsor a

boarding contest in Covent Garden. The director loved the idea and took

Ling under his wing.



Two years ago he joined I-level as the agency’s first employee and has

witnessed online media budgets soar and working hours lengthen. ’I’ve

never worked so hard in my life,’ he complains.



If the 8.30am to 8.30pm wasn’t enough, Ling also has a new-media

girlfriend (although he won’t reveal her identity), and shares a flat in

sunny Dalston with MediaVest’s head of new media Richard Townsend.



The pair frequently fight about internet industry issues over a Friday

night curry.



But when Ling gets thoroughly sick of click-through rates and page

impressions, he flings on one of his 700 Detroit techno records and

pisses off the neighbours, or grabs his board and hits the slopes.



He and Townsend even looked into doing something totally off the

new-media track: opening a Japanese noodle bar in Leeds.



It would take Ling one step closer to his dream of becoming the ginger

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (posh TV chef), but the pair decided it was

too pricey, ’although the plans are still there,’ he says with a gleam

in his eye.





LIKES



Detroit techno



Good after-sales service



Snowboarding





DISLIKES



Arrogance without substance



Reps who promise too much



Sloanes.



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).