A view from the bottom
A view from Aimee Clarke

A view from the bottom

What every grad needs to know before they set foot in the world of media is that first, you have to master the art of making a decent coffee. It's the lifeblood of every agency, so you'd better figure it out fast.

Having worked in media for just over a year, I’ve come to realise that all the preconceptions of how things will be – glamorous, bouncing from party to party like an international woman of mystery – fall by the wayside almost instantly and you start dealing with all these very normal, yet likeable people on a daily basis. Let’s face it, that’s probably less exhaustinag, anyway. (We’re part of Group M and our headquarters are in Munich, with offices all over Europe, including France, Italy, Turkey, Russia and further abroad in Dubai, too, so the international part isn’t so far from the truth.)

On an average day, I’ll spend my time laughing at the differences in German and English phrasing, making the coffee run, deciphering and translating tech-speak, and troubleshooting. We work with our sister agencies to deliver data-driven campaigns for telecoms, automotive, FMCG and retail clients, and have just launched a lead-generation platform and mobile performance offering. One of my projects has been to help migrate our accounts over to the new tools, learning along the way what makes for the best DR campaign and what makes a customer tick (or click).

The technology side of our business is baffling to some and fascinating to others, and I’m definitely on the fence. Being a geography graduate means that science and tech were a distant school memory, but automated media buys (and the jargon that comes with it) is fast becoming the norm for a lot of agencies, brands and publishers. As well as getting my head around algorithms, CPMs [cost per mille] and customer-purchase journeys, a huge part of the past year’s learning curve has been figuring out how to best handle accounts, ensure that the media buy happens smoothly and that everyone gets the best results. Not too much pressure then!

One of the highlights of my year has been travelling to Munich to meet all of the international teams at our summer party. During the day we heard talks on programmatic trading, audience buying, performance and more from various companies in our sector including Xaxis, AppNexus, Facebook and Google. That evening, we let our hair down with a "wild wild west" do – and the Bavarians definitely know how to party in style. The rumours are true that copious amounts of meat and beer makes most media types go a bit loopy.

After the final bottle of wine too many, it was all I could muster to get up in time for the 7am flight back to London the next day. But the feeling of being a bit of an international media type after all – plus the memory of seeing my MD in a cowboy hat and boots – definitely made the pain worthwhile.

Aimee Clarke is a campaign executive at Group M’s performance marketing agency QUISMA