How long have you been in working at Tug?

About three and half years. Tug has grown a lot since I started; for example, there was just one person in the programmatic team and now we’re a team of three and expect to expand this further. We also have a large creative team now and the growth of the business and our clients is incredibly exciting.

What’s your typical day-to-day like?

It’s pretty different every day. I do a lot of work in the accounts still so I check in to make sure everything is performing correctly. Sometimes I’ll have client meetings as well as new vendor meetings, brainstorm sessions and doing detailed data analysis. It depends on what we need to do at the time, for instance, with the beginning of the quarter there would be a lot of client meetings and brainstorming but as the quarter progresses we often get to dig deeper into the data to improve our campaigns.

What do you enjoy most about working in performance marketing?

What I enjoy the most is how fast everything has changed. I started off doing PPC and programmatic and now I’m managing programmatic as well as some out-of-home campaigns and looking into audio etc, which is really exciting.

I think that this is what interests me the most about programmatic as it changes so much. Things like video, which when I began three years ago, wasn’t a core channel but now it is. It is also great to see out-of-home and audio being traded programmatically. It’s all changing very quickly and for the better.

What do you think are some of the key trends happening right now in the industry?

The biggest thing we’ve noticed, particularly in the past 6-8 months is that brands, and we as an agency, are taking the user experience a lot more seriously which hasn’t been the case in the past. I think we’re going back to something we’ve spoken about quite a lot, which is going back to having the ‘big idea’ of advertising and actually trying to sell something rather than saying “this is the cool new thing we can do”. It’s putting the customer at the forefront.

And some of the key challenges?

GDPR is definitely a big challenge for us and trying to figure out how exactly it’s going to impact programmatic has been interesting. 

I also think there’s a misconception around programmatic at the moment. There’s been a lot of bad press around it recently, such as the brand safety issues and the Facebook data problems, which have left a bit of a negative and pessimistic feeling amongst marketers and customers alike. It’s not fair to say that the onus is entirely on the tech either. A lot of the problems have been due to bad media buying, which I know is quite a controversial opinion from a media buyer. For example, when marketers are pushed to lower costs, it needs to be communicated that doing so means that inventory quality will fall. There’s also been too much reliance on automation at the expense of the creative and consumer. However, I think there are companies, like Google & Facebook, who now need to take down their walls and rebuild them transparently, so that we can trust them again

What’s been your biggest career highlight so far?

I definitely think it’s our event, Tug Life that we’re going into our fourth year of in June. In my first year at Tug, the agency started an event series which focuses on how digital is impacting real life and we’ve been doing that every year since. I think we reached around 1,000 attendees over the course of the week when we did the event last year which is really exciting to see and something we’re interested in developing further.

Outside of the workspace, what are your interests and hobbies?

I love to cook and try out new recipes. I think I watch a bit too much television. I love TV shows, and you could probably name any TV show and I’d have seen it!

Three words that best describe you?

Extroverted, trustworthy and decisive.

What would be your top tip for newcomers entering the programmatic industry?

I think the biggest ones are to remain open-minded and adaptable. Since I started three years ago, my job remit has changed. You’ve got to be open to new and innovative things and just being adaptable to it as well. I never thought I’d be learning about TV and audio buying in digital marketing but here we are…

Lastly, any exciting things in the pipeline for Tug over the coming months?

We’re extending our creative team quite a lot so there have been some additions to the team. From a media and performance marketing perspective it’s going to be interesting to see how we can push that further alongside creative. We’ve developed a CTO position [Eoin O’Neill] as well, so we have now got a technology team and a creative team that is working more with the media team; it’s going to be really interesting time for myself and the whole agency.