Feature

Alex Packham, Now TV

Alex Packham, Now TV

Position: social media manager, NOW TV (BSkyB)

Date of Birth: 28/02/1990

View Alex's profile on LinkedIn

With a remit that covers managing Sky’s on-demand TV service, Packham leads the brand’s social-insight programme, implementing big customer-acquisition and brand-awareness campaigns. A seasoned social-media expert, he previously oversaw social-media strategy at Odeon cinemas.

Describes himself as:  Driven, efficient and outgoing.

Q: What are the biggest trends affecting your business?

A: At the moment everyone is looking for an offer. The recession really drove the mentality among people that getting a bargain is something to talk about, and it’s great to share that you got a good deal. For the most part in our industry there’s always an offer on (a month’s free trial of the service). When this offer runs out, consumers are looking for the next one straight away, which means we have to work hard to get consumers to stay, or bring them back to our business if they’ve left.

Q: Are there any trends or new media platforms you believe are overrated?

A: Location-based marketing. It’s talked about a lot, and many refer to it as one of ‘next big things’, but I’ve never actually seen it work successfully in practice. If I walk past a store I would never normally visit, I’m not sure a marketing message delivered via mobile, because of my location, would make me change my mind, as I never had intention to visit it. So I’m yet to be persuaded that location-based marketing will work – but who knows?

Q: What attracted you to marketing as a profession?

A: It’s so varied, which for me is important. I find having different campaigns and priorities for certain periods of time keeps work interesting and challenging. I also like that it’s a commercially focused profession. Marketing is about increasing revenue or awareness or engagement, and I like the fact what I do for a living aims to create a positive outcome for a business that wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t do it.

Q: Describe your typical day.

A: I like to kick-start my mind in the early morning by writing for my blog, which gradually gets me into gear for a day at work.

Once in the office I check my diary for what meetings I have, and try to allow at least five minutes preparation time for each one. For me there’s nothing worse than going into meetings unprepared or with nothing to say. I then shoot off any emails I can answer quickly while catching up on industry headlines online.

From here a typical day varies, from discussions on marketing messaging to meetings or calls on technical projects, campaigns, reviewing creative, writing social-insight reports, briefing and talking to our agencies, as well as all sorts of ad hoc things that crop up. It really depends on what we have going on in the business – and again, the variation is part of the reason I love working in marketing.

Q: What are the biggest marketing challenges you face?

A: A decreasing number of people focus on one thing at a time now. If someone’s watching TV, it’s likely they either have a laptop, phone or tablet with them. They might have Facebook, Twitter, a news site, an ecommerce site or many other things open in different tabs all at the same time.

With a consumers’ focus split across all these activities at a given time, one of the biggest challenges as a marketer is firstly reaching these people across these channels, and secondly to convey a consistent brand. In social we want to be friendly and give snippets of content. A blog or news site could have a digital display ad or advertorial within it. TV could be brand or direct response. It’s not an easy one to address, but if all bases are covered with a strong consistent brand, the impact is powerful.

Q: How are you changing the media channels you use to better reach your consumers?

A: Again, people just don’t focus on one thing at a time any more and businesses need to adapt to this quickly. There’s the emerging trend at the moment that brands need to be on every media channel possible to maximise their reach. This isn’t always viable or beneficial.

To keep their media channels efficient, brands need to evaluate a day in the life of their consumers: What does their typical day look like, from when they wake up to when they go to bed, and what media channels do they use? A person could wake up and check their emails, so email is a key channel in the morning. They could check Twitter or read the paper on the way to work, so these become key channels. They take their lunch break and use an app on their phone to read, so mobile becomes a channel. In the evening they get home and watch TV, so there’s another channel.

There are many variations of this, depending on who your consumer is. Once they have this typical day on paper and all the possible channels they could be using, brands need to work out which of these they can exploit most effectively, based on consumer behaviour, to get the best results.

Q: What are your most admired brands and why?

A: Innocent is one. I think its tone of voice and brand is personified extremely well throughout its marketing. I know who it is and what it’s about, I like it, so I want to buy it. Then of course there’s Apple. Its products are fantastic and the brand is so strong, so I really admire what it has achieved.