My Media Week: Neilson Hall
This week, Neilson Hall, head of owned media at iProspect, prepares new business strategy and clocks 85 miles in the running bank; par for the course for a semi-professional runner working in media.
Neilson Hall: head of owned media at Aegis
It's 6.30am, freezing, wet and with the most brutal wind whistling around West London. Nonetheless, I rather begrudgingly jump out of bed and head off on my 10-mile run along the Thames. It's challenging trying to combine being a semi-professional runner and working in media – but I seem to be able to just about manage the two, despite my penchant for the odd gin and tonic.
Arriving at iProspect, coffee in hand, it's straight into the Monday morning exec meeting to discuss amongst other things, the insane number of new business pitches that are currently at different stages of development.
Then it's straight on to the owned media team meeting, where my channel heads keep me abreast of the latest developments within digital. It's genuinely astounding to see the pace at which the industry is changing and the giant strides forward that have been made in previously niche channels such as conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and content.
Then I spend the afternoon with one of our largest finance clients, working on how we can evolve the current global structure and better empower some of the local markets to be able to work more autonomously. Obviously tools, technology and liquid talent were key topics of conversation.
Following a slightly less brutal 10 miles along the Thames, it's straight into work where I'll be spending the morning working in Vizeum, one of our agency partners located on the floor just above us. There, alongside MD Richard Morris and head of performance Ben Sutherland, we work out a full-service strategy for an upcoming new business pitch.
It's brilliant to see the operating model going from strength to strength and I relish the opportunity to collaborate and learn from the other network brands.
Lunch is spent with Mark Mitchell from Brightedge, talking about how we can get the most out of the platform and more importantly how to scale. From the sanctuary of Charlotte Street, it's then straight to an afternoon of back-to-back client meetings, all of which work in the retail space. It’s coming up to the busiest time of the year for them, and with such high volumes of traffic tiny increases in site conversion can have a colossal impact on overall sales.
I arrive home at 7pm and hotfoot it to the local athletics track, where I meet up with the rest of my training group and we nail a session of 18 x 400m. I get home at 9.45pm and collapse in front of the latest episode of 'Breaking Bad' – an addiction I'm finding very hard to discontinue.
Wednesday starts with breakfast with Mark Fagan, my boss. We digress from the subject of digital and ponder everything from rugby all the way through to 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'. However ,we do eventually sort out the agencies' most pressing issues, including detailing a road map for the launch of some cutting-edge media integration tools.
Lunch is spent running around Regent's Park with the more adventurous members of the iProspect team. Today's session involves multiple reps up Primrose Hill against the beautiful backdrop of West London.
Following a rather hurried shower, it's a quick catch-up with iProspect's resident strategy genius John Barlow to go through some cutting-edge attribution pieces we have started to roll out for a pure-play client.
Wednesday evening and the wife and I are lucky enough to be invited to the opening of a new portrait exhibition in West London – it turns out to be a very late night.
A hideously early morning client meeting up North means today's run kicks off at 5.30am and as I head along the canal somewhat bleary eyed, it validates all that I love about living in London. Breath-taking winter sunshine and a crisp frost on the ground makes for a thoroughly enjoyable run to start the day.
Following a productive meeting I'm back to the office to meet with Nick Wilsdon, who is joining us as head of content. It's great to have Nick join the team – content is becoming an increasingly important part of the media mix. It is very much the glue that joins performance media with OOH and having Nick to drive this forward is incredibly exciting for us.
Friday arrives and with 85 miles in the bank and another great week in performance, it's nice to finish with a slightly less hectic day. Things kick off with an EMEA content council meeting. We hold regular catch-ups to ensure consistency in approaches across markets and it also helps to facilitate innovation within the group. I then head on to the CRO team meeting, where Carl Fernandes is busy showing the team the strides we have made when it comes to attributing on- and offline data.
Then it's off to Mill Hill to represent iProspect in The Prince's Trust Million Makers Campaign – alongside Google we are organising a five-a-side tournament to try and raise money for this worthy cause. Despite our best efforts, we finish third having been knocked out by Twitter, but the event is a massive success and we exceed our targets.
After a quick dusting down, it's back to the office where we finish the day with some exciting news – following a competitive pitch process, MoreTh>n awarded their full media planning and buying account to Vizeum.
My biggest inspiration: A combination of Steve Jobs, Steve Prefontaine and Winston Churchill – people that have dreamed big and done something that has changed the world in which we live always leaves me awestruck.
Dream job: Topiary specialist
Not a lot of people know this about me ... As a youngster competing for England, I turned into the finishing straight in first place and ahead of Mo Farah, until a fall caused me to limp home in third. What a scalp that would have been!
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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