My Media Week: Cameran Harman
This week, Cameran Harman, managing director UK of AD2ONE, plots eBay opportunities, commutes with Morrissey and flies the flag for Northern agencies.
Monday starts with black coffee while watching 'Shake It Up' on The Disney Channel with my girls (aged nine and six). It’s 6.30am and they are dual screening on the laptop and the DS. I have to explain why it's bad for them to start their day this way – I'm jealous.
After a brisk cycle to the station, followed by a train journey with a podcast of Morrissey on 'Desert Island Discs', I take my usual walk along the South Bank to our Westminster Bridge office and brace myself for an intense morning of team meetings.
Internet display advertising has what can feel like an endless cycle of work with ever-slipping deadlines and it's good to blow out the cobwebs and get into a good early rhythm. Having some structure to our week is really important.
We had a good week last week and the mood is optimistic about finishing off the quarter strongly. With such a strong brand portfolio, there is always something fresh to bring to advertisers.
This morning we are trying to find the balance between being proactive, working on innovative, high-value pitches that really showcase our publishers, while also trying to grab some short-term revenue. With agencies putting an increasing amount of spend through their desks, we are seeing less capacity from them to take advantage of short-term opportunities.
For the rest of the day, I'm jumping in and out of meetings and a high point comes when we have a great interview from a promising candidate for a new role on our dedicated eBay team.
The latest series of [Disney Channel comedy] 'Austin and Ally' is a big improvement and I'm a bit later leaving the house than I should have been.
I spend some of the morning with Grant Allaway and Julian Miall who are the joint group MDs. We've been working out how our agency trading agreements are balanced so that they can provide good value to our clients.
On my way to a very informative meeting with Carat, I take advantage of the Wi-Fi on the Tube to catch up on Twitter. It's my primary news source these days, but I'm quickly distracted by the antics of some of the comedians I follow.
I've been working through an extensive archive of Richard Herring podcasts on iTunes that is making my fellow commuters think of me as "the odd bloke who keeps laughing to himself".
I start the day with an induction for our new sales recruits on the history of online advertising. This is quite a useful way to contextualise why performance attribution, inventory safeguards, and differentiating your value by more than just your ability to reach an audience, is so important.
Today is full of meetings related to some of our strategic projects. Having recently taken on the non-travel advertising piece of Thomas Cook, we meet with their head of media solutions, Stuart Adamson.
We discuss how to best enable brands to access an audience that are going on holiday with Thomas Cook, looking at the offline and online aspect of every holidaymaker's experience, as well as the bespoke placement of ads on the site. We are working on an idea for a major retailer to be able to augment the experience of holidaymakers before they fly, to optimize social engagement with the brand.
Later in the afternoon I discuss a couple of ideas with Charlie McGee, media innovation and digital trading director at Carat. AD2ONE is exploring ways to deliver traditional campaigns that complement the activity that a programmatic buyer might have.
The sales team are delighted to make it in extra early for a training session I'm running on priority based questioning. I believe that what separates a good sales person from a great sales person is technique. It's not about tricks, but about asking the right questions and having a framework that helps you make the most of your contact with a client.
Ten years ago it was easy to just pick up the phone to a buyer, have a chat and get some business done. Now, with agencies under so much demand from clients and media owners, and an even greater emphasis on data, accountability, procurement, auditing and process, it is essential that we make the most of their time.
To this end, we do a lot of training that relies on in-house talent and experience, little and often with lots of role plays.
Today we're pleased to have a visit from Andy Harrison, our regional head of sales. He's based in Manchester where the market seems to be polarised between performance-focused activity and innovative brand-led work.
Being a Northerner, perhaps I'm biased, but our experience is that sometimes the agencies in the North have a better understanding of their clients' objectives than agencies in London.
Andy is here because we have the final crunch meeting with a terrific VoD publisher who we are hoping to work with on a regional basis. This very exciting opportunity will enable them to continue to build on the success of their London team, while knowing they are fully exploiting the opportunity from the North.
I get a brief moment to check the running total of emails I haven't opened before we head off to our company meeting. Today it is at The Horse near Lambeth North station. They always make us feel welcome and their room upstairs, which hosts open mic nights, can draw out the performer in each member of staff who presents. It is a very informal opportunity for us to showcase some of our achievements and flag some of the challenges.
After a couple of sociable drinks at the bar with some of our newest recruits, I head in to town to catch up with a few old buddies. AD2ONE have recently started working with SquareMeal, which points us in the direction of Roti Chai Dining Room. Wow, that Hakka Chilli Paneer was hot.
On the train, I research a good recipe for some food I intend to cook tonight. Allrecipes is one of our favourite publishers to work with, and also have a great selection of recipes for people like myself, whose ambition and creativity in the kitchen is not matched by much in the way of talent or experience.
First up today is an internationally focused meeting with Aegis. Having a good multinational offering relies upon scale and something that adds value beyond display. We have an ideas-filled discussion about the way that eBay enables brands to talk to consumers, within an environment where they like to shop.
Given how much power the consumer has at their fingertips, we are finding that brands are keen to partner with some of the major retailers who now have dedicated eBay outlets. We also talk about how PlayStation offers some extraordinarily engaging options for cross-market campaigns, and with the PS4 launching soon(ish), we are anticipating that a lot of brands will want to understand how this can work for them.
After a progress-filled week, I'm finally heading home where I look forward to watching some TV for grown-ups.
Age: 40, with a mental age of 14 (according to my staff)
Favourite media: BBC iPlayer for the radio comedy
My biggest inspiration: My Dad
Dream job: Rock star
Not a lot of people know this about me... I used to be in a band called Sexual Disneyland.
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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