Switching Channels: You don’t have to spend your entire career selling one medium. In fact, choosing to chop and change may be a wise option, says Harriet Marsh

The barriers between traditionally segregated media are breaking down. On 4 October last year, Martina King joined Yahoo! as managing director, UK and Ireland. The move represents her first position at an internet company.

The barriers between traditionally segregated media are breaking

down. On 4 October last year, Martina King joined Yahoo! as managing

director, UK and Ireland. The move represents her first position at an

internet company.

King is no stranger to moving between different media. She began her

career at The Guardian, where she remained for nine years. King then

spent six years at Capital Radio, rising to managing director. At the

beginning of last year, she signed up as managing director of ITV sales

house TSMS - but four months later was on the move again to Yahoo!.

While large remuneration packages and internet companies seem to go hand

in hand, King justifies her multi-media CV differently. ’I knew lots of

people who worked in agencies and thought, ’If they can make inter-media

decisions, why can’t a sales person learn about different media?’’

While she is certainly one of the most high profile ’multimedia’ players

in the UK, King’s situation is far from unique. A growing number of

media companies operate in more than one field, suggesting multimedia

knowledge is becoming a requirement for anyone with ambitions to reach

the upper echelons.

’I think and hope people have now learned that staying in one medium and

working their way up the pyramid means they will eventually hit a

ceiling, because there is only room for one sales director,’ says Gill

Hollis, managing director of the Davis Company.

Janey Pilkington experienced this ceiling in 1998 when, as a group head

on The Express, a new management layer was put in place above her. ’I

soon realised there wasn’t going to be any career progression,’ she


Pilkington was subsequently headhunted by IPC Connect as ad director on

its weekly women’s titles. She admits that while the switch from

newspapers to magazines might sound routine, it presented some


’To come in as advertisement director was difficult,’ she admits. ’The

flatplan was managed differently, there was loads of contact with

editorial - which in newspapers is like getting a meeting with God - and

the idea of managing people whose job you haven’t done is difficult. The

tack I took was that I knew more about management while they knew more

about the front-line day-to-day business.’

Despite the difficulties, Pilkington admits the fundamental skills

required remained the same. ’The skill set is transferable, the rest of

it is just learning about that medium,’ she explains.

Pat Chaundy was headhunted to join More Group UK in March last year as

head of business development. He had previously spent six years at The

National Magazine Company and, before that, 16 years at The Express.

’When you have worked as long as I had in one area of media, you tend to

develop a myopic viewpoint,’ he says. ’I was lucky in that it was an

amicable parting with The Express and I had a chance to look around and

see what I wanted to do.’

His experience at NatMags and then at More Group has left him wary of

making generalisations about seemingly similar media. ’Magazines and

newspapers may seem alike,’ he says, ’but the ways of trading are more

dissimilar than between the national press and the outdoor


Successful job moves, in Chaundy’s view, are all about attitude. ’If you

come in believing you know it all, you’re not going to make many

friends,’ he says. ’People look for a desire to succeed. Nothing in this

business is rocket science.’

This view is echoed by King, who suggests that often it can be just as

daunting to move to a job within the same company as it is to move

between media. ’For me, 90 per cent of a successful job move is about

your ability to amass new information and your level of self

confidence,’ she says.

’If you have your skill base and know how to sell, then theoretically

you can make the swap.’

Lawson Muncaster, who recently joined CNN International as director of

sales for the UK, Netherlands and Scandinavia, punctuated his career in

broadcast sales with a spell as sales director at Mills & Allen. This

was not because he yearned to get into the outdoor industry, but because

he would have a position on the board and knew that the experience would

be invaluable. ’I thought it would give me an appreciation of how sales

fits into an organisation as a whole, and how other departments regard

the sales role,’ Muncaster reveals.

He had no problem galvanising the sales team, despite his TV


And when he fell victim to the JC Decaux takeover, he was able to move

smoothly back into broadcast, arguably into a more challenging role than

his previous one in the sector, as sales director at Eurosport.

One way to overcome the difficulties associated with moving to a new

medium is to take a step backwards before you move forwards. Phil Guest,

head of advertising development at Capital Interactive, took this route

when he left his job as advertisement manager on Emap titles Slimming

and Here’s Health, to become client sales executive at Capital

Interactive. ’I wasn’t motivated by salary, although I was lucky enough

to avoid taking a decrease. I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to enter

a new sales environment,’ he says.

Since his move in January 1998, Guest has risen swiftly through the

ranks, becoming deputy sales manager and then sales manager by the end

of the first year. In October he was made head of business development.

’The opportunities for people who want to carve a career for themselves

in this market are enormous,’ he says.

Another problem presented by moving to a different medium is having to

adapt to a very different workplace culture. ’Newspaper people are very

upfront and speak their minds. In magazines there is less confrontation.

Discussions take place behind closed doors, it is more genteel,’ says


The new-media gold rush looks set to continue, yet there is more to

consider than mere financial gain when you are moving between media.

King has moved from Capital Radio to TSMS and then Yahoo! within the

space of a year, but she believes this was possible because she had

proved her ability to stick with a job in the early years of her


’It is incredibly important, particularly in sales, to be seen to be

loyal to the brand and product you’re representing,’ says King. ’You

have to be convincing, believe in it and make sure you can retain that

commitment and credibility when you move to a new area.’


’Passion, energy, openness, the ability to change, to listen and work

with new people,’ lists Tom Toumazis, director of consumer advertising

UK at Emap. He is talking about the attributes you’ll need when

switching between media. And Toumazis should know.

Toumazis started his career at an advertising agency, then spent 11

years in the UK TV market and three years in its European equivalent

before moving to radio as managing director of Emap On Air. He is now in

the new role of UK consumer advertising sales director at Emap, with

responsibility for selling across all Emap brands. He admits the job

presents the biggest challenge of his career. ’I’m doing something that

nobody else has done before in the group or in the UK. I’ve got a chance

to change the way people work and the way we shape our business.’

Yet he admits his most intense learning experience was his three years

as managing director of Eurosport. ’I moved from an industry where there

was a heavy emphasis on negotiation to one where we focused on selling.

It was a great learning curve and taught me a lot about brand selling,

creative selling and reaching the decision maker.’

Toumazis admits it was the desire to learn about a different media

environment that drove him to take the job at Eurosport - and which

continues to motivate him today.

’The requirement is wanting to learn, the desire to go and find out

about something new,’ he says.

Given all this, you might expect Toumazis to be a fan of multi-media

CVs, but he remains cautious. ’Saying you need to be multimedia is too

easy,’ he warns. ’I look for people who are excited about change and who

are positive and possess energy or enthusiasm. These characteristics are

essential to get on in the commercial side of media. You can have none

and have worked in four media or you could have all of them and have

worked in only one.’

1983 Sales assistant, Royds

1983 Sales assistant, LWT

1992 Head of sales, TVMM

1994 Deputy managing director, Merlin Broadcast Sales

1994 Managing director, Eurosport UK

1997 Managing director, Emap On Air

1999 Consumer advertising sales director UK, Emap


’If you can sell the trade press you can sell anything,’ says Fru

Hazlitt, sales director at Capital Radio. ’It is an incredibly tough

sell, especially if you are working on a launch title, but one that is

incredibly good grounding for anything else in media.’

Hazlitt speaks from experience, having begun her career as a display

sales executive at Centaur, before moving to become agency sales

executive at The Guardian.

’Back then in the national press you were not required to sell the

product in the same way you had to on the trade press. You were selling

to people who were in the market to buy, so your job was to give them a

point of difference between your brand and The Times or The


Hazlitt’s subsequent move to Capital Radio as head of agency sales

reinforced her belief in the value of her trade press experience. ’When

I joined the radio industry it was the skills from trade magazines that

proved most transferable,’ she says.

’Six years ago we were selling the concept of sound - people still had

no idea how to get across the values of their product without visual

prompts. If you’ve worked in a medium where you’ve had to sell both

medium and media owner, moving to a new area is not so difficult. If you

haven’t, it can be tough.’

Hazlitt hopes her experience will hold her in good stead when she takes

up her next job - as European sales director at Yahoo! ’I know that when

Yahoo! were looking, they set out to find someone who could sell the

medium,’ she says. ’These days, in order to sell one medium you need to

understand two or three others so that you can sell against them. The

fact I had worked in press helped my sell for radio. I hope the same

will apply for the internet.’

1987 Display sales executive, Centaur

1988 Group advertising manager, Centaur

1991 Agency sales executive, The Guardian

1993 Head of client sales, Capital Radio

1997 Sales director, Capital Sales and Marketing

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