Adam McMeeking – Client Associate @ Carat Australia

1. Before we dive into your role at Carat Australia, what has your career journey looked like so far?

I have had an interesting journey on my way to Carat, Australia. 

1) Starting in psychology and modelling

When I left high school I did not know in which direction my passions lay for work. In my efforts to figure it out I developed a love for psychology and what internal mechanisms in the mind make us tick. I enrolled into a counselling diploma and then after that, a Bachelors in Psychology.

I worked in the field but it did not resonate with me as I hoped, while at the same time I managed a start up. To add to what I was already doing, I was working in the modelling/acting industry, which exposed me to media on the talent side. It was during that time I saw my passion for psychology intertwine with marketing and a consumer mindset. I then took an internship with a fashion agency in marketing and it all just clicked perfectly. 

2) Transitioning to the world of business

From that point I enrolled at University of Sydney in a Masters of Commerce majoring in both Marketing and International Business. I was privileged to consult with international clients such as Ingram Micro assisting with customer experience (CX), company strategy and branded ecosystems. 

I continued to work in consulting and running my start up, but realised my future was in working for a global marketing/media firm. This was due to feeling I missed certain fundamentals going straight into consulting for higher management. In my efforts to learn the broader media ecosystem, I applied for a Client Associate position at Carat with a fast tracked program to become an executive. 

That is my little unique journey thus far!

2. Transitioning into work, what the heck does a Client Associate @ Carat Australia do?

What is Carat?

Carat was the world’s first independent media agency since 1968, with over 12,000 experts in over 100 countries. In addition, Carat is also a part of the powerhouse Dentsu company, a global communications network. 

More specifically, Carat utilises a person centric approach and capability to unlock real human understanding, and connect people and brands through powerful and engaging media experiences. We have a great range of clients such as Woolworths, Microsoft, BWS etc, with dedicated teams. Those teams can address a myriad of aspects such as strategy, performance, CXM, media buying, insights and so much more.

What do Client Associates do?

A standard client associate role will have you build foundational knowledge, and gain a solid understanding of the fundamentals of media planning and buying. 

It is an administrative support role to a core team. That core team would consist of:

  • Client directors
  • Leads
  • Executives
  • Investment officers and 
  • Programmatic experts

Depending on where your passions lay, a great deal of mentoring would take place in that area which you would be uplifted to as an executive.

What does your role entail?

What is most fun about my client associate role, I get to do the standard duties I mentioned, and also more that aligns with my passions. 

As of right now I am learning on a digital based team working for Microsoft. The more interesting work (if you are a psyc nerd like me) has been around strategy, consumer brand studies and working with social media partners. 

This would involve digging into data, working with various client partners and managing social campaigns. I should also mention you get to build key relationships with media partners from a ground level which can be quite rewarding, and pivotal to foster career growth. 

Furthermore, a unique aspect to my role is being taken through the Dentsu Basecamp program. I get hands-on training from the best minds at the agency in their field (strategy, digital, PR, performance, etc.). This takes place in the form of intensive sprints in tandem with my client work. All of Basecamp culminates in an executive position after an 8 month time frame.

3. What’s a campaign you’ve worked with on in your currently role and how have you helped bring them to life?

Given my current role is fairly new, I haven’t yet brought a project to fruition. However, I can give a great example from my previous USYD consulting role.

Campaign Name: “Ingram Micro: The Best Online Platform for Technology”

What was it?

The campaign aimed to cement Ingram Micro Online as the best online platform for B2B technology resellers to purchase from. In addition, we also wanted to showcase the warm and great relationship that comes from partnering with Ingram Micro. This all stemmed from providing recommendations for an omni channel supply chain.

Featured was the process of real Ingram employees being interviewed and highlighting their joy at having relationships with B2B clients. In showcasing this, they talked about new streamlined procedures being put in place to proactively address customers’ needs starting at the webpage. In tandem with this message was also the fact that Ingram Online were the tech experts. This was supported to be experientially marketed from all existing clients and new onboarding clients via AWS cloud. 

This resulted in a new CRM/CEM branded ecosystem being established once the new supply chain system began.

What was your role?

I had dual roles during this project

The first was being the overall team liaison for Business, Retail and Vendor E-commerce teams. This primarily was to ensure keeping the client relationship strong, while providing teams with pivotal information to meet client needs. 

The second role was on the Business E-commerce customer marketing solutions. I created both long term and shorter term customer journeys and experiences, detailing strengths and improvements. Taking a customer centric viewpoint would then dictate my promotional content and solutions to market new customers and strengthen relationships with existing ones.

4. What do the entry level pathways into a media agency look like?

There really is no one defined pathway I have found into marketing and media agencies. There are fantastic graduate opportunities such as the basecamp program at Dentsu that I highly recommend. You are paired with a mentor throughout 8 month training sprints in tandem with client work. 

Other entry pathways can come by way of networking early, reaching out to figures in agencies can go a long way to showing initiative and being considered. Furthering that point, don’t be afraid to apply for job postings that are not entry level or graduate in nature. I have seen many positions amended for a graduate or entry level employee due to interviewing very well. 

Above all however, if you are proactive, show passion and initiative in how you apply to an entry level role, it goes far. 

What about Client Associate roles?

Client associate roles are a fantastic entry level opportunity, or to re focus and shift your marketing and media work in a new area. The unique thing with Client associate roles is that they also allow you to apply for them with an added interest. 

For example, client associate roles may be advertised as working with a tech client, or specifically in creative and partnerships. As such, if you had a specific starting interest in tech or creative, client associate roles grant you immediate exposure for when you start

5. What’s one thing you recommend someone who wants to work in a media agency do right now?

Relationships and learning are pivotal, and should always be a focus. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others to learn what you don’t know by forming relationships with people. A lot of the skills that we need to be successful in media and marketing largely come from on the job. 

Therefore, the relationships you form with people that can teach you become very important. The more diverse relationships you form and learn from, the more diverse you become and set yourself apart from the crowd. Another factor is that many people move around in this industry in both roles and companies. Should they have a good working connection with you, relationships passively work for you in that regard on another level. 

With all that in mind I have to really suggest working on those key interpersonal skills to form those relationships. Networking is a great place to start now for that, or in internships strike up a natural conversation with your clients if you can. Additionally, learning courses or resources such as google careers offer a fantastic network of people to familiarise yourself with. As if you can always think in how to set apart from the crowd interpersonally and professionally, it will serve you well for the longest time.

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