Our ‘Profile: A Day in the Life of’ feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working across performance marketing. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry. This week we head to London’s Southbank to speak to the managing director, Europe, at Mediaocean. 


Sarah Lawson Johnston

Job title and company:

Managing director, Europe, Mediaocean.

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

We are a software platform empowering agencies and brands across the globe, to manage and coordinate their entire advertising workflow efficiently and flexibly – from planning and buying, to analysing and optimising, to invoicing and payments through our traditional and digital media platforms.

What are the company’s unique selling points?

Media is in our DNA. Originally founded in 1967 as Donovan Data Systems our heritage, combined with our experience, gives us a unique understanding of the ever-changing agency landscape. Mediaocean is actively committed to the advertising industry and – in a world where the role of the media agency has developed significantly – our innovative platforms enable and encourage media agencies to continue to move forward.

Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?

A key highlight of 2014 was being selected to work in partnership with The NPA and Newsworks to develop the new publisher advertising transaction system (PATS). In the modern media landscape, PATS will make it easier to transact across publisher print and digital audiences in a way that facilitates the demands of the industry in these changing times.

For the rest of this year we are focused on launching Prisma, our cross-channel digital management product, in two further European countries. We are looking forward to officially announcing this soon.

Duration in current role:

I’ve been managing director for Europe since April. Prior to that, I was managing director for the UK for two years.    

Where are you based?

Southbank, London

Previous performance marketing-related companies you have worked at:

Since joining Mediaocean, my experience has evolved by working with the best agencies in the world and being closely involved in how to tackle the marketing challenges faced today and in the future.

What are your main job responsibilities?

As managing director my responsibilities are wide-ranging. A large part of my role involves liaising with our clients and the wider industry to better understand how we can provide relevant solutions in a complex and variable environment.  Having a great team is key, so I see it as my role to ensure our staff are challenged, motivated, and happy. 

Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday: 

That’s one thing I love about this job – there is no typical day! But an average Monday will always include a client meeting, an update from an internal team, and a discussion about our priorities and future plans. Most weeks, I participate on an industry panel, join a discussion group or write an article such as this!

What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?

  • Econsultancy
  • Media Week
  • Brand Republic

What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?

  1. Take time to develop a deep understanding of your industry. It’s not enough to just know what you need to sell your business – go beyond.
  2. Surround yourself with a great, uplifting team. 
  3. Have ambition for both yourself and the company as a whole.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years’ time?

In three years time, I see myself leading our global expansion into new markets. And as we grow into more regions, I expect to see the company flourish and the teams develop.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

Having worked with a lot of the Mediaocean team for a long time, there isn’t much my colleagues don’t know about me! Although, as it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to do it, they might not know about my love for scuba diving.