My Media Week: James Bailey

This week, James Bailey, head of Maxus for Business, launches the new B2B specialist division of Maxus, delivering its proposition both internally and to clients and media partners

James Bailey: head of Maxus for Business
James Bailey: head of Maxus for Business

Monday

The week starts with a visit to the office showers, not because I live at Maxus, but because never-ending bathroom renovations at home mean I might as well. 

On the work front, things are a new kind of crazy, I'm launching a new division; Maxus for Business. It’s the first time that Maxus has launched a specialism and there's an opportunity to take what's great about the agency and interpret it for the specialist world of B2B marketing. We now have the expertise in place and a genuine breadth of existing B2B clients, and this week it's finally time to take the proposition to market.

I squeeze in a meeting with our PR agency to discuss the launch. It's strange to be so introspective with another agency, and I’m suddenly very conscious of what I'm saying before I say it (it shouldn’t have taken this long to pick up that skill). 

Then I'm off to Ogilvy to see the latest UPS TV execution and new radio scripts. It’s early in the creative process but it allows us to carry out much more effective media planning.   

Tuesday 

I start the day by filming an introduction to Maxus for Business for the website. It's an out-of-body experience that compares to when I delivered my wedding speech, in that I've no idea whether what I'm saying is clear, and I'm reluctant to watch the evidence to find out. Thankfully there were no disapproving looks from the audience in either instance. 

The rest of the day is spent in client and media partner meetings explaining the Maxus for Business proposition. Everyone is really enthusiastic and offers their perspective on the future of B2B planning with themes such as "the need for more robust data in support of the business case for B2B advertising spend" and "co-ordinating social media to enable sales" being particularly prominent.  

In the evening, I'm lucky enough to be invited to a wine tasting with Will Lyons and The Wall Street Journal. Stories of the murky world of wine forgery are fascinating – it turns out there are plenty making a living selling fake vintage wines to unsuspecting Asian elites, although unsurprisingly, it's a narrowing speciality.   

Wednesday

Again I visit several of our clients for planning sessions and as many of our B2B clients are based in London, this involves three hours of commuting. 

Right now there's a bit of a consistent theme – our B2B clients want genuine insights to support creativity. Clients right now want to stand out, and they're willing to collaborate to get there. 

In the evening, it's off to the IAB for a session on B2B digital marketing structures. It is an interesting debate with Google, EY and agencies all contributing. Particularly insightful is the extent to which digital marketing still needs to be "sold in" to client stakeholders – illustrated through the recent EY global rebranding effort. What's very encouraging is how seriously accountability is taken by the B2B community. 

However, it takes a question from the audience to move the discussion into creativity, which I find surprising given the conversations I had earlier in the day. 

Thursday

It's my first management meeting. Let it go down in history that my opening contribution was a terrible pun about an illuminating visit to the offices of our newest light bulb manufacturing client. Andy Benningfield and John Maloney were in the room, so I knew someone would laugh. 

Today we receive our first pitch opportunity for Maxus for Business, a genuinely exciting chance to work with a client on a new product launch into an unfamiliar category. I didn't expect we would get the chance to test our proposition so quickly and the rest of the day is spent mobilising the team. 

The day draws to a close with something different. Mrs Bailey works for the RHS, so this evening we're off to the annual harvest festival to view a glistening array of oversized vegetables. Who knew shiny three-foot leeks would draw such a large crowd? 

Friday

Today's the internal launch for Maxus for Business and the occasion to explain to the rest of the company why we're different. In true agency fashion, I have taken the brief from Nick Baughan (our MD) and re-interpreted it as part presentation, part rant around common misconceptions around B2B marketing. 

We want to be the agency that cares as much about the relationships with the people that make business decisions, as with organisations themselves. We know that's an easy statement to make and one that has to be founded in real insight. Our focus as planners will be in the development and interpretation of those insights. And that's it, launch complete, relative calm descends and normality resumes.

I'm lucky enough to meet my mother for lunch and I show her my first piece of industry PR (everyone does that right?) – she's very proud. 

That would be a nice end to the story if weren't for the fact that Friday concludes as the week began…the bathroom is still a building site and I'm destined to shower at the office for a few days yet. 

Age: 29
Favourite Media: The FT for something thought provoking, Gogglebox for entertainment
Biggest Inspiration: Anyone whose attitude in tough times is to work harder
Dream job: Architect...or a golf course gardener (summer only)
Not a lot of people know this about me...I used to be a chef, pity the diner

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