Why Aren’t We Doing a Better Job of Marketing Media?

woman with thought bubble on chalk board

if we want to recruit the best creative, innovative and strategic minds on offer, we are going to have to start selling ourselves as a viable, fulfilling and exciting career option to graduates, writes carat’s tess Murphy.

“So, where exactly are the ads made?”

It was an innocent enough question, levelled at me recently during an office walk-around with a new intern, who was eagerly trying to scope out at what stage in the tour they could expect to be shown where the creative magic happened.

As I delivered the short answer (shorter than walking them around the corner to Whybin\TBWA), that a media agency is not (directly) responsible for the creation of the ads themselves, our enthusiastic intern’s face dropped like Dorothy’s in The Wizard of Oz when the curtain is pulled back to reveal nothing but an old man with a megaphone.

Honestly though, I’m not sure who was more disappointed, them or me.

All too often, I hear new arrivals to the media industry describe themselves as having ‘fallen’ into their role, either through referral from a friend or even complete misunderstanding of a job description. Many advertising and marketing students finish university without ever having even broached the topic of media as a concept, despite the fact that both disciplines – whether creative or client side – will likely necessitate a close working relationship with us in the future.

As an industry, I think it’s time we took a long hard look at the way that media is being marketed at a grassroots level to school-leavers and university students.

We are being consistently overlooked as a career option by the best up-and-coming young talent due to a profound lack of understanding about the role of a media agency within the broader advertising landscape. Among those few who do graduate with an awareness of our existence, we find ourselves suffering from an ‘image problem’.

While the days of media agencies being nothing more than a buying house – a functional necessity to deliver great ads to the masses – are (mostly) over, we are still facing the misconception that the most important skill for a media professional is proficiency in Microsoft Excel. In other words, creative minds need not apply.

In reality, the offering of a modern media agency goes far beyond planning, and the scope for creativity and innovation has never been greater. Across the board, we have worked incredibly hard to prove to clients and creatives alike that we deserve a bigger role in the comms planning process. What we seem to have forgotten, however, is to update the next generation of clever, creative minds.

As it is, media is coming across a little too Home & Away and not enough Hollywood. By that, I mean a launching pad or way into something more exciting for the stars of tomorrow, rather than a long term career option in itself.

Put simply, the best and brightest don’t stay in Summer Bay.

Now, aside from its startling crime rate and concerning prevalence of natural disasters, I happen to think Summer Bay would be a great place to put down roots, as would the media industry. It’s up to us, however, to start marketing ourselves that way.  I would like to see us take a more active role in educating students, within our industry and related fields, as to what exactly is on offer within the four walls of a media agency.

Here at Carat, we are currently working in conjunction with the nation’s top universities to help educate the next generation of would-be media moguls about the opportunities available to them within our industry.

After all, we pitch enthusiastically for the best new clients; we should be doing the same for the best new talent.

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