Total Business Magazine

10 Things I Learned in 10 Years Working in the Digital Industry

Georgina Reid, Commercial Manager at Encore Digital Media, looks into 10 important lessons she has picked up over 10 years of working in the digital industry – and what you could learn as well.


  1. Don’t be afraid of the truth 

By this I mean both being truthful and consultative and asking for the same in return. In the early days of my career, I was definitely guilty of wanting to please people. Managing others – particularly in the early stages of a business relationship – is as important as being able to manage yourself.

Be confident in your own remit and understand what you can achieve and what’s realistically beyond your scope. I’ve learnt that over-promising and under-delivering is a sure fire way to set yourself up for failure.

  1. Say yes to saying no

Equally, always being a yes-man (or woman) will only diminish your credibility in the long term. A hard but important lesson to learn is how to say no in a tactful way. Don’t fear the conflict – it’s often the hardest conversations that are the most fruitful.

You will only overwhelm yourself by saying yes to everything. Understand what and how to prioritise. The sooner you learn how to do this, the sooner you will feel more in control of your workload.

  1. Understand infrastructure and relationships

Every business is set up differently. There is no ‘one size fits all’ for an agency, or even for an account within an agency, so you have to really take time to fully understand the setup and develop relationships at all levels within all functions. For example, in our business, although the investment buyers will be the people to book something, this will have gone through many layers of decision makers prior to this point so it is important to have relationships with all of them.

  1. The wheel should never stop spinning

A rookie error a lot of salespeople make is thinking the hard work is securing the business and then taking a back seat once they get everything signed. I’ve learnt that the REAL work starts when you have the client bought in and parting with their money. This is when you must deliver on your promises, build the trust and show them how valuable their business is to you. Aftercare is key to developing a real relationship.

  1. Role models, mentors, values and goals – have them all

My mentor has been a great help when I feel I am lacking direction or just need to remind myself what my goals are and really think about how I am going to get there. A mentor doesn’t have to be someone from the industry, just someone you respect professionally and who encourages you. The definition of ‘success’ is different for everyone, but as you have a mentor who shares the desire to achieve it the journey is so much easier and less lonely too!

  1. Stay current 

Keeping on top of trends, reading industry news and going to events are great ways to stay in the digital loop. Everything is changing at such a fast rate it’s very easy to slip behind very quickly.

Keeping current isn’t just about knowing as much as you can, it’s also about talking about your knowledge and creating discussions and debates. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion on new trends – you never know who will be listening in!

  1. Know the places to go 

Building client relationships won’t happen in meetings and offices. You have to get to know them as people, understand what they are passionate about and use this to chose where you socialise with them. My knowledge of restaurants, bars, beauty salons, pop up events and even sporting events has grown 1000% since starting in the industry!

  1. Tech changes but people and principles don’t

Programmatic media is one of the fastest moving and growing areas of digital, which was a big part of its appeal to me. Keep abreast of the latest tech advances but remember, there’s no merit in blinding people with tech jargon. It’s much more valuable to be able to explain something to someone simply and succinctly than through buzz words.

And while tech changes daily, the relationships we forge and the way we do business with people won’t. There’s always going to be new tech to champion but ensure you don’t lose sight of the principles of building relationships and working well with people – these are the core skills in any job. People buy people, not technology.

  1. Look out for one another

We work in an incredibly exciting profession but it can also be an extremely challenging one. In some offices, there is fantastic pastoral care – make sure you seek out those people to relay your difficulties to and work out a solution that will help you. However, if support isn’t available within your workplace then there are certain organisations, such as NABS, that are fantastic in those times of need. They can offer a variety of services and programmes and anybody in the industry has access to them. I suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder and it took me a long time to open up about this to colleagues or clients and definitely affected my work, having outside support can be such a relief and I highly recommend you reach out if necessary.

  1. Diversity isn’t just a buzz word

Diversity is the key to a thriving business. There’s a reason that organisations that have real diversity drive; it is not just a tick-box exercise, it’s the fusion of people with differences in opinion, personality and thinking.

Coming from different standpoints means tackling tasks in different ways. At Encore Digital Media we are always looking for new and diverse ways to stand out in the industry.

By embracing diversity, businesses can stay fresh and punchy in a competitive environment.

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