This week I spoke with Wanderlust Travel Media's Commercial Manager about the importance of tactics, stepping back to see the big picture and an unexpected instance of serendipity...
What made you want to work in the magazine industry?
From an early age I wanted to get involved in media, but I was never sure in what capacity. I was forever surrounded by newspapers and magazines from all genres as a kid, so it appeared a natural fit. It’s fascinating to see which publications are now thriving and which have gone. You can never predict it.
Can you chart your journey from when you started out to your current position?
I’m lucky in that I have worked for the same company throughout my career. I’ve had great support around me to ensure I constantly grow into new roles at Think.
I started at Think back in 2006, selling classified – ‘proper classified’ - where I was selling linage adverts - £50 a pop. It was a big learning curve but also a numbers game. I learnt a lot and would recommend it to anyone.
As I gradually moved up into display the deals became bigger and bigger but I was lucky that media was changing rapidly. All of a sudden we had a huge range of ad formats to sell, from digital, new print creatives, events and video. I was fortunate that when I worked at Think I gained invaluable experience selling across both consumer and B2B portfolios. I worked across walking, yachting, photography and lifestyle, to accounting and optics. Getting to know new markets is challenging but satisfying and again, each one is different.
Heading up a small team in the B2B sector was great and I loved the range of sectors I was working in but when Think acquired Wanderlust and I had the opportunity to work on it, it was no-brainer. When I first started in 2006, we used to receive Wanderlust in the office as it was a competitor title. I used to be jealous of whoever was selling on it. The brand has so many opportunities and the future is looking bright for us. What you put into it, you get out and it’s an exciting time to work in the travel sector. Wanderlust’s influence and authenticity really shines through, hence the great success we’ve had over the last 18 months.
Do you have a go-to work outfit?
Jeans / chinos and a shirt. Safe – I try my best not to draw attention to myself anymore!
What do you turn to when you’re on deadline – tea/coffee/snacks?
I feel like I’m always on deadline but I try not to turn to anything. If you don’t take a step back and look at the bigger picture you’ll find yourself in trouble, so I probably don’t have a ‘go to’. If I had to pick one, it would be coffee or a walk. It always feels a lot worse when you are in the office.
What’s the most unusual situation you’ve found yourself in because of your job?
I was in Hamburg at a conference and on the way to dinner I found a phone in a taxi. When I called the number it turned out to be an advertiser I had been trying to contact for ages – we had a few drinks and ended up agreeing a deal.
What would people be surprised to know about your job?
It’s far more strategic and tactical than people think. You really have to think outside the box to even get someone’s attention and then you can’t just sell them anything. If it doesn’t work, you are back to square one. It’s all about long term strategy and making it work for you and the advertiser.
Walk me through your typical day.
Lots of meetings – internal (either reporting up or with the team) or external. There’s never a typical day. You can be called into or called out to a meeting at any stage. The only common thing is the commute, whereby I switch off on the train but read as many newsletters as I can on the bus.
How has being a member of the PPA helped you/added value to your brand?
It provides an incredible source of information. The trade side is so vital and in my role I need to be aware of what is happening and importantly what is available within the world of publishing. The IPN conference was fantastic and it’s great to learn from your peers and also see what is available and what is successful.
If you didn’t have to sleep, how would you use the remaining hours in the day?
Can I flip this and say if I didn’t have anything to do in the day I could just sleep? I have an 11 month old at home! But safe to say I would just spend the time at home with my family.
What is the last photo you took on your phone (at time of interview)? Why?
Daddy Day care!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
It used to be napping. Nothing better than a weekend nap! But now it would be meat. My wife and I have cut it out except on ‘special occasions’, so I’m constantly inventing special occasions.
Whose phone number do you wish you had?
David Cameron’s – I would text him each day asking if there was anything he regretted doing in his time as Prime Minister.
What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
‘Work in recruitment – it will be fun’. Not for me! Also people talk about working hard and the results will come, but if you work hard and have the wrong strategy, there’s no point.
What/where is your happy place?
Lords on the opening day of a Test match. Anticipation, champagne corks opening at 10am, and parents filling their kids’ bags with booze to ensure they get their allotted allowance in.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’ve been told I’m completely different outside of work. I’m really laid back at home, which perhaps jars with the all action work environment…
What would be in your Room 101?
Quite a few things. I hate traffic but in particular on the motorway when the sign says max speed of 40mph, but you’re actually crawling along at 1mph.
Can I say Arsenal fans?
Introvert or extrovert?
Optimist or pessimist?
Film or television? What are you binge-watching at the moment?
TV – no time for the cinema any more. Fleabag and Line of Duty.
Sweet or savoury?
Morning person or night owl?
Tea or coffee?
Emojis – cool or cringey? Which emoji do you use the most?
On text or What’s app - cool - but never on email! If I use one, it’s normally the laughing emoji – usually sent to make sure people know I’m joking and not being serious!