Our Infectious Media ‘Career Pathways’ series of interviews aims to highlight working life, as well as the the career options available to our staff. Here, James Coulson, Strategy Director, in our London office, tells us about his journey at Infectious Media.
What did you do before you began working for Infectious Media?
I’ve been at Media Agencies for my whole career. I started in the Advertising Operations team at Vizeum in 2008, moved to iProspect working in the Digital Display team and then moved to Havas in 2011. At Havas I was Head of Performance Display then became a Digital Director on Camelot, responsible for all the Digital Media on that Account. Around 2013, I was looking to move agencies and as programmatic was growing at lighting pace, I realised I needed to immerse myself in it as soon as possible or I was going to be left behind.
Tell us about your Infectious Media career journey - where did it begin, and how did you make your way to Strategy director?
I had heard of Infectious Media and knew they were respected in the programmatic space, but I didn’t know much more than that. Those in the industry I trusted endorsed Infectious Media and it seemed to tick the boxes of what I was after: A small agency that specialised in Programmatic. Luckily, they had an Account Director position open, which I applied for and was accepted. All my previous job moves had been from one agency to another, so I pretty much knew what the new role was going to entail, but joining IM was something completely new. In some respects, we are light years ahead of what I was doing previously, but the small agency / start up aspects were a bit of a shock to the system. One of the most jarring (and quite intimidating) changes, was that big agency groups tend to have a blend of very good and, ahem, not so good, people working for them. Whereas, at Infectious Media, everyone seemed to be very good at what they did and there are a lot of very intelligent people here. I really felt that I needed to up my game!
After a couple of years, I was promoted to Business Director and while in this role I identified a new opportunity, which became my current Strategy Director role. I pulled together a proposition outlining why this role was needed, why it would benefit the business and why I should do it, and after presenting this to the Senior Management team, they agreed, and the role was formed.
Strategy & Partnerships team social at The Crystal Maze
Describe a typical working day.
It’s quite trite to say, ‘there is no such thing as a typical working day’, but it’s true. We are a relatively small business with under 100 people, so everyone is exposed to the ebbs and flows of workload and company objectives. We have clients across retail, telecoms, finance and travel, so at different times of the year clients are scaling up, or will be focusing on measurement, planning for next year, reviewing their technology stack or needing support on a specific challenge, such as a 1st party data usage strategy. Add in the extra variable of pitches going on, one day can look very different to the next.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering into a career in digital?
I would say, don’t look for a career in ‘digital’. Every part of the industry has a digital element to it to some extent, so the term digital is outdated. It’s a diverse industry so there will be an area of expertise to suit your skills and interest, the challenge is finding it. So, do your research. Read up about what these areas are, how they fit together and who specialises in it.
Strategy & Partnerships team social at Flight Club
Finally, what do you like best about working at Infectious Media?
The people. The industry is vibrant and constantly evolving, we are at the forefront of it as a business, but I wouldn’t have been around for as long if I couldn’t learn from, and just enjoy the company of my colleagues. Great people make a great culture, and that’s the intangible ‘X Factor’ that make a business a great place to work.