...12 months into my first media role ...by Becca Keenan
I joined Alchemy back in May last year and what an amazing experience it has been so far! I'd worked in creative and full-service agencies since leaving Uni, so media agency life felt like it would be a totally different kettle of fish for me! Well actually, let’s back track on that a little bit.
Whilst at Uni I had to undertake some work placements for 6 weeks, but in addition to this I decided that I wanted to gain a little bit more varied experience. I contacted Amy (one of our Managing Partners) as I’d known her from my work placements and asked if there was any chance I could come in once a week to learn a little bit more about the media planning and buying industry. I was delighted when she agreed to have me, so every Friday for a few months I would head over to Harrogate and spend a day with the Alchemy team. I finished my degree and went on to join a creative agency, armed with the knowledge I'd gained from my work experience.
Fast forward a few years to when Covid first surfaced and we went into lockdown number 1, I found myself out of a job. Not knowing what to do, I became a Click & Collect colleague at Asda. Working the strangest of hours (2am starts were not my friend!) I stuck at it because I thought it was only going to be for a few weeks and then everything would be back to normal. How wrong I was.
As much as I loved Asda and the friends I’d made, I knew my heart belonged in agencies. After 18 months of doing other people’s food shops (alongside my own) I was keen to get back to doing what I loved, in an industry I loved. In a twist of good fortune, Alchemy contacted me and asked if I was interested in applying for a Media Assistant role. After two really positive interviews, I was officially part of the Alchemy Media team!
I remember on my first full day feeling quite overwhelmed - there was so much information to take in and I wondered how I was ever going to cope. I didn’t think my brain would be able to process so much and learn so much. I put a lot of pressure on myself, which looking back now was silly of me!
So, you might be wondering what the differences are between Alchemy and the creative agencies I have worked in.
In creative agencies, we worked on creating ideas & concepts for the brands. At Alchemy, I feel like we really help to bring these brand ideas to life! We identify ways to create standout by placing the messages in front of the right people, in the right places, at the right time. We book media space for our clients across TV, press, radio, out of home, digital channels etc. Constantly searching for ways to get the best value for our clients, looking to see if there is anything different we can do to create standout and helping them to get the best value out their budgets. So the media agency plays a key role in ensuring your brand is seen, and ensures that all the time and effort spent on developing the creative is maximised by putting it in front of the right audience in the most impactful and cost effective way!
One thing I really didn’t realise before I started here was just how much work goes into getting an ad onto TV. In my naivety, I genuinely thought that the media agency would just ring up the likes of ITV and say ‘we’ve got this client who wants to go on tv, can you get us into Corrie and Emmerdale on Friday please? I’ve since learned that there's a huge amount of time and effort which goes into planning and delivering a TV campaign and this in particular is something I’ve really enjoyed getting to grips with over the last 11 months.
So, which do I prefer? Creative agencies or media agencies? Whilst it’s too soon to give a fair response (I was in creative agencies for 2.5 years) I do think my heart lies with media. Every single day is different, whether its checking that TV campaigns are live and in line, making sure digital plans are pacing in line with forecast, ensuring that press ads have been sent and printed into the relevant titles or simply following up on client campaigns with a report, there’s never a dull day and I feel like I’m always learning.