What you do: I run the insights division for New Zealand at isentia.
What that really means is that I manage a team of (phenomenal) media analysts, and work with the Account Management and sales team to find opportunities, diagnose client problems and help determine how the insights team can help. One of the fun things about isentia is that we have amazing insights teams across Asia Pacific, I love being involved in product development and initiatives that are about moving our whole business forward. I’m annoyingly passionate about research and measurement, so I also spend time speaking to students and the industry about measurement and how it makes a difference.
How did you get started in measurement and evaluation?
Accidentally! I was fairly convinced that I was going to keep teaching media studies at university and start my PhD. While I was finishing my masters I picked up some contract work for media analysis company – I had no idea this kind of work existed and I was endlessly fascinated. I love to deconstruct everything, and I’m always interested in how and why people behave a particular way, and this type of analysis really exercised that part of my brain. A job at isentia (then media monitors) came up for their first analyst in New Zealand the week after I submitted my thesis – so it was fate!
Looking ahead at the next 12 months, what most excites you about our industry?
I think this is a time of heightened evolution for our industry, and for research in general. It feels as though we’re in a time now that will have more innovation in the immediate future than I’ve seen in my whole career to this point. That is fundamentally exciting. The role of technology, automation and data fatigue will be the core issues that will impact the type of work we do in the next 12 months. There is such an interesting crossroads looming between automation and insights and we need to make sure that the foundation of good measurement and meaningful data doesn’t get lost in a veneer of convenience. It is time to reinvent how we do what we do, and I’m excited to be involved in that.
What has been your proudest career moment so far?
I’ve had a lot of proud moments, as an analyst I was successful at finding really interesting projects to work on, the range of different types of questions I’ve helped answer through research is a constant source of pride. But as I’ve progressed in my career my proudest moments are more about the team around me, when my analysts produce their first major project, a business directors first successful pitch, or when the team or a client wins an award. Having other people understand, replicate and spread your passion is the most rewarding part of what I do.
Where do you see the industry, and yourself, in the next five years?
I’m not sure I can predict what the next five years will look like. I know that I want create better research, answer more diverse and interesting questions, build better teams and help our industry evolve. I believe that the role of communications will be very different, but will be more pervasive across organisations as they way that people interact with each other becomes more fractured. I think this industry will move further into business intelligence, but also that communications, reputation and engagement will have a stronger role in how an organisation understands their performance and how they can improve what they do.
What do you love most about AMEC?
Sometimes my job is really hard to explain at parties, and it’s nice to be in the company of people who understand what you do! Seriously though, in all my experiences with AMEC I have only ever come across people that are passionate about what we do and how we can all be better. It’s one of the few industry organisations that I’ve come across that is genuinely focused on how we make our industry, and the wider communications industry better.
Where can we find you (e.g. social media, secret M&E hangouts, etc.)?