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From the big Smoke to a small barn – the diary of a media planner

Wednesday 20th June

My career in the media industry started in London, but having moved back to my hometown in Solihull my life has been truly flipped upside down. Solihull is about a 15 minute drive south of Birmingham, but it is a lot more rural and green than “the second city”. Having worked in such different environments, I wanted to share my experiences of both.

A typical day at TMC starts with a 5-minute drive to work where I pass horses, sheep and cows on my way in. We start the mornings by huddling around a whiteboard, discussing workload and urgent new briefs. In my current job role, I plan and buy lots of different types of media for small clients, mainly book publishers. Each brief is usually to drive awareness (and in turn, to drive sales) of a new book release or reissue. This involves analysing audience data, using this data to build a recommendation and collating costs, availability and feasibility of an appropriate media solution. Part of my responsibility is to provide the client with a post-campaign analysis which includes critiquing and evaluating how the campaign played out and how we could improve for any future activity.

At lunch we might go out with media owners, but usually we bring lunch from home because the closest shop is about 5 minutes’ drive away. Because we all drive to work, there is a lot less alcohol involved than there was in London! So instead of a happy meal before bed at 1am, I make a healthy home cooked dinner and enjoy a glass of wine over dinner with family before going to bed early.

A typical day in a London Agency started with an hour’s tube commute, followed by joining the team at the whiteboard for the morning huddle. My main responsibility was to plan and buy most of the Out-of-Home media space on behalf of my clients. This media space could range from dynamic and personalised advertisements on huge on digital billboards to thousands of bus-stop posters around the country, planned in locations specifically tailored to the target audience. My daily responsibilities in a specialist agency in terms of receiving a brief, analysing audience data, building recommendations and plans were the same as my responsibilities in my current role at TMC. This consistency has given me a sense of familiarity whilst at the same time learning the ins and outs of lots of media channels and even having to re-learn OOH planning.

In London, if I hadn’t planned a lunch with media owners, there was an amazing choice of food close to the office so I would never bring food from home. I’d rather go to itsu or find some amazing food from a nearby street market. Back to the desk in the afternoon for more emails and meetings. If it happened to be a Thursday evening, there was usually always some kind of event hosted by media owners, so the drinks would start flowing…

Commuting for 2 hours per day to and from central London meant that I left home at 7am and arrived home in the evenings at 7pm, which is really tiring! London life was always extraordinarily busy, but don’t get me wrong, this busy London life meant I was fully immersed in the work itself, in developing my knowledge and in the social aspect of the media industry. For this reason, it’s a great place to build foundations of what it takes to plan sexy mad-men advertising. The move has been a big change over the past 6 months and has taken some getting used to. My experience began in London where I built my foundations and my experience is growing where I am now whilst still living a more relaxed lifestyle.

Article Written by

Katie Christmas

Account Executive, Total Media Connect

My name is Katie Christmas (yes, that really is my name!) and I am Account Executive at TMC. I’ve been here for 6 months now and work on a lot of book publisher clients. I previously worked at Posterscope London as an outdoor media planner/buyer.

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