Libby Robinson, EMEA managing director, M&C Saatchi Mobile

It may feel like it has been the 'year of mobile' in marketing circles since the dawn of time (or since the last century, at least); but Libby Robinson has made her name translating the hype surrounding the platform into tangible results for marketers.

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Having worked with brands including Amazon, Microsoft, John Lewis and The Economist, Robinson is a leading figure in the evolution of mobile advertising, in an intensely male-dominated sector.

Getting women into senior positions involves embrac-ing flexibility

This fact doesn’t faze the Australian, who moved to London to get more experience of global brands after working at digital marketing agency Limelight Digital in her home country. "I quite like being the odd one out," she says. "I can use it to my advantage. It is still a male-dominated industry, but I haven’t found that limiting."

Robinson now identifies herself as a Londoner and has adopted the capital’s innate restlessness and disdain for dawdling; the pace is too slow in her native Australia, she says. At home in the fast-paced environment of Soho, Robinson cites London as being at the cutting edge of mobile marketing. 

Despite the speed at which the industry is moving, and the fact that the M&C Saatchi agency network benefits from a wealth of women in senior positions, Robinson believes the industry overall still faces a gender-bias problem. 

"Women wouldn’t necessarily think of a career in mobile; they don’t gravitate toward the data and technology side, but these traditional opinions need to shift," she argues. 

I quite like being the odd one out. I can use it to my advantage. It is still a male-dominated industry, but I haven’t found that limiting

Looking to the next generation of talent, she advises that studying mathematics and focusing on more than just creativity is key to getting ahead in an intensely competitive market.

The mobile sector is dominated by millennials; a generation that has grown up alongside the smartphone. "Anyone with any experience is massively sought-after, so the key for young people starting out is to get as many opportunities to learn as possible," says Robinson.

Embrace the power of confidence

She also believes that having the confidence to promote not just your own work, but also your own talents, is key to success. "When I look back over my career so far, I always felt that I wasn’t ready to take the next step. Women often feel they have to be better before they take the next step up – when, in reality, you just need to back yourself."

This advice is particularly apt in her fast-moving sector. "Mobile marketing can feel very numbers-focused when you start, but, once you get that experience, you can grow your career quickly. But at a graduate level, it is men taking these roles," she warns.

Robinson credits her success to the culture of M&C Saatchi, adding: "Getting women into senior positions involves embracing flexibility, and when you see women in senior roles, achiev-ing that, it filters down through the whole organisation. I have been incredibly lucky to have great role models across all disciplines." 

This experience has gone some way to making Robinson into the fantastic role model and Digital Maverick she is today.

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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).

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