CLASS OF ’99 - Rob Gray meets six young graduates who have just landed their first jobs in advertising sales. In regular six-month updates, Campaign Media Business will chart their highs and lows as they make their way up the career ladder

Every year a new wave of hopeful young graduates pours in to the media sales business. Each newcomer has goals and ambitions but, of course, not all of them have the natural talent and bloody-minded determination required to make it to the top.

Every year a new wave of hopeful young graduates pours in to the

media sales business. Each newcomer has goals and ambitions but, of

course, not all of them have the natural talent and bloody-minded

determination required to make it to the top.



To chart this struggle, we have found six twentysomethings who graduated

this year and only recently landed their first jobs. Bravely, they’ve

agreed to allow us to follow their careers over the coming years. We’ll

chart their highs and lows, successes and frustrations, their growing

responsibilities and changing attitudes as they are moulded by the

commercial world.



The six graduated in a diverse range of subjects, with business,

economics and marketing degrees nestling alongside human resources

management, creative arts and even philosophy. Their interests range

from sports and literature to shopping and that thinly veiled euphemism

for pubbing and clubbing, ’going out’. They see themselves as natural

communicators and have the confidence that’s an essential requirement of

a job in sales.



All the newcomers perceive the sales environment as dynamic and

potentially lucrative, and they expect to climb the career ladder

rapidly. Most want to become heads of their departments or publishers,

although one wants eventually to open a restaurant. Those who have

already started their jobs are reporting tight deadlines and an

unexpected level of responsibility, as well as the satisfaction of

closing their first sale.



Perhaps some of our group’s career paths will reflect wider trends in

the media industry as a whole. But one thing is certain, time will tell

who is best cut out for the career they have chosen. Read on and meet

our class of ’99 - you’ll hear much more about them in the future.





SIMON MORGAN



Job title - UK sales co-ordinator.



Employer - 24/7 Europe.



Date of birth - 8 November 1976.



Degree - MA Hons Philosophy (2:1), Glasgow University.



Background/interests - Morgan comes from Epping, Essex. He played lots

of sport when he was younger - rugby, swimming and mountain biking. He

was sports editor of Glasgow University Student Television, a weekly

two-hour on-campus show.



Why sales? - Not only did Morgan work as a journalist for the student TV

channel, he also sold airtime and found he liked it. ’I enjoyed talking

to people in different sectors and there was the thrill of doing the

deal,’ he says. A work experience stint - selling of photocopiers to

businesses in the rougher parts of Glasgow - was less successful. ’I got

dropped off in the Gorbals and I must have been the only person wearing

a suit in a ten-mile radius. I got mugged by a football team of

12-year-olds.’



How he found out about the job - Through the recruitment agency Media

Contacts.



Details of the job - Trainee position liaising with the sales team and

website-owning clients.



Career expectations - ’I had all the key words in my head like

’fast-paced’ and ’dynamic’. It’s an industry that is changing all the

time.’



How expectations match reality - ’Actually living it is a different

experience. I felt a bit crushed with all the noise at first. I never

expected to get so much responsibility so quickly. In new media, as soon

as you arrive you are expected to pull your weight. The learning curve

is tremendous. But I’ve loved it here so far and got caught up in the

excitement. I feel I’m in the right place at the right time. That’s my

immediate impression of new media.’



Dream media job for the future - Morgan would like to own his own

business and hopes to work abroad at some stage.





MELANIE WESTWOOD



Job title - Recruitment sales executive Employer Professional

Engineering Publishing



Date of birth - 26 November 1976



Degree - BA Economics (2:2), Liverpool John Moores University



Background/interests - Westwood originates from Middlesborough.



Her interests include politics, contemporary fiction, theatre, film,

music, shopping and sport.



Why sales? - ’I thought I’d be good at it. There were other things that

interested me but the ads for media sales positions seemed to want

someone like me. I think I’m a good communicator and a good listener.’

How she found out about the job - Through The Media Exchange recruitment

agency



Details of the job - Selling recruitment advertising space in two

publications: Professional Engineering and Automotive Engineer.



Career expectations - She hopes to develop the skills and experience to

become a magazine publisher.



How expectations match reality - ’I sold my first ad on my fifth day and

it felt fantastic. I’ve enjoyed the training I’ve received and I like

being able to speak to clients. Two weeks after joining the company, I

went up to Birmingham for the Engineering Recruitment Show and stayed in

the same luxury hotel as Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski who we saw playing

in the Davis Cup. That was good.’



Dream media job for the future - Publisher of a business magazine.

Westwood also harbours longer-term ambitions of becoming an MP.





HELEN AITKEN



Job title - Market research assistant, Carlton Sales.



Employer - Carlton Television.



Date of birth - 16 June 1977.



Degree - BSc Hons Business (2:1), Manchester Metropolitan University



Background/interests - Aitken, like Westwood, hails from

Middlesborough.



Her hobbies include theatre, literature and ’going out’.



Why sales? - She worked at market research company GFK Marketing

Services during a year in industry as part of her course. This led to a

’strong interest’ in using market research to support media sales.



How she found out about the job - Through the recruitment agency The

Stevens Company



Details of the job - Market research in support of media sales. Liaising

with the media sales teams, supplying them with the data they need when

pitching for business. ’Providing a very sound argument for why a brand

or agency should spend lots of money advertising with Carlton. We are

the people in the basement with all the knowledge,’ Aitken says.



Career expectations - She wants eventually to move in to a senior role

supporting the sales team.



How expectations match reality - ’It’s been hard work. I’ve had to

adjust a little from my pure market research background because

everything I do now has a sales dimension to it in terms of promoting

Carlton,’ she says.



’Things change a lot. The job is very dynamic, which makes it exciting

and interesting. What perhaps I don’t like is that I never spend enough

time on a project to become incredibly familiar with it.’



Dream media job for the future - ’Realistically, I’d like to head the

research unit for sales at Carlton. Less realistically, I’d like to

co-present This Morning with Richard Madeley.’





EMMA LIDDEATT



Job title - Graduate trainee.



Employer - Classic FM.



Date of birth - 25 May 1978.



Degree - BA Hons, Advertising and Marketing Communications (2:2),

Bournemouth University.



Background/interests - Liddeatt grew up in Kingsclere near Newbury, and

Basingstoke. She enjoys roller-blading, art and photography.



Why sales? - ’I wanted to use my degree. I was pretty focused on

advertising and marketing,’ she says.



A six-week placement with the ad sales team for IPC’s young women’s

group - in which she found out how the media sales business worked in

relation to publications such as 19 and Mizz - helped to whet her

appetite.



’I accompanied the team on visits to agencies and I found it exciting

and dynamic. I really wanted a job like that in London - I liked the

buzz.’ Liddeatt confesses to being ’smitten’ by the wording of media

sales recruitment ads.



How she found out about the job - Through the recruitment agency Fox

Haynes.



Details of the job - Trainee learning about airtime sales and

marketing.



Career expectations - ’I expect it to be hectic, quite dynamic and

hopefully fun. I think I’ll enjoy it - I’ve had a bit of an insight into

media sales from my placement at IPC - but I’m expecting there to be

pressure.



It will be quite challenging. I’d like to dabble in different kinds of

media but I’m really happy to be starting off in radio.’



How expectations match reality - Liddeatt had yet to start her job when

she was interviewed for this piece.



Dream media job for the future - Publisher of Elle.





ROB SCROGGS



Job title - Classified advertisement executive.



Employer - Centaur Communications.



Date of birth - 25 April 1975.



Degree - BA Hons Human Resource Management (2:2), Southampton

Institute.



Background/interests - Scroggs grew up near Oxford and went to school in

Bicester. He played tennis for the county but never played with or

against his contemporary Tim Henman. ’He was too good, although Henman’s

father is my father’s solicitor,’ he says.



Why sales? - To support himself at college, Scroggs worked part-time in

telesales for Eagle Star Direct. ’I loved the sales environment and made

quite a lot of money out of it at the same time,’ he says.



He even considered going into car sales and admits that there is

’something of the Arthur Daley’ in his nature.



How he found out about the job - Through the recruitment agency The

Media Exchange.



Details of the job - Selling classified space in Creative Review.



Career expectations - ’Some people tried to put me off media sales,

saying the basic salary wasn’t much good and they weren’t making much

money.



But I thought I could do it. I believed in myself.’



How expectations match reality - ’To be honest, I feel I’ve done quite

well so far. After three weeks of training, I was itching to get on the

phone. It took me two weeks to sell my first ad and that was a result of

chasing my own leads.’



Dream media job for the future - Magazine publisher. Outside of that,

Scroggs would like to own a restaurant/bar on the south coast.



’In a way that would be selling as well. You’ve got to communicate with

the public and try to get them to buy the expensive items like Dom

Perignon.’





SILVANO GRIFFITH



Job title - Classified sales executive.



Employer - The National Magazine Company.



Date of birth - 18 March 1977.



Degree - BA in Creative Arts (2:1), Manchester Metropolitan

University.



Background/interests - Griffith grew up in Oldham and Barbados. Her

hobbies include writing fiction, travel and shopping. In her year out

before university she picked up 11 months’ sales experience working for

telesales outfit European Business Support. The job involved

cold-calling local companies to offer help in securing them grants in

return for a fee. ’I liked closing the deal, it gave me a buzz.



But I didn’t like picking up Yellow Pages and cold-calling Joe

Bloggs.’



Why sales? - The buzz and the challenge.



How she found out about the job - Through The Media Exchange.



Details of the job - Trainee classified sales position, working across

all NatMags’ titles. But a focus on the home interest market means

Griffith works predominantly on House Beautiful, Country Living and Good

Housekeeping.



Career expectations - She would like to move out of classified and into

display. ’This is a large company and lots of people have started on

classified and moved on to other things.’



How expectations match reality - ’I did expect the selling to be more

difficult but having your own client base helps. However, with the

magazines coming out each month, the deadlines are tighter than I’ve

been used to, which is tougher.’ Griffith says closing a large booking

still triggers a surge of excitement.



Dream media job for the future - Advertising sales director on Good

Housekeeping.



Topics