Jodie Harris is Head of Content and Digital PR at MediaVision, a London-based integrated digital marketing agency.
We caught up with her to find out about the tools and skills that enable her to get the job done effectively, why brutal honesty is important in performance marketing, and the brand content that has most impressed her lately.
(If you’d like to be featured in our ‘Day in the Life’ column, get in touch).
Hi, Jodie. Please describe your job: What do you do?
Jodie Harris: I head up the Digital PR and Content departments at MediaVision. My biggest role is to make sure that both departments are serving the best strategies we can possibly create with our clients and to ensure they on track and performing well. My job varies from one week to another; one week it could be all new client pitches and the next, focusing on campaign work.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Jodie Harris: We have the CEO and then we have a team of three Heads of Departments (HODs), we have a Head Of Paid Media, Head of SEO and myself. We have a pretty flat structure in our agency. The management team have worked together for so long that we understand each other’s departments really well and respect each other’s thought process, whether it comes from an analytical, technical or a creative perspective. We are a marketing mix within the agency.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Jodie Harris: Woah, that’s a tough one. I think the biggest skills that have played a big part of my career have been an eye for a story. If you have an eye for a story, you can create great content from there. There is nothing worse than doing it the other way round and trying to create a story from existing content.
I think my second skill is being honest. My team and my clients know I am famed for my brutal honesty, but it is needed when we work in performance marketing. How I see it is that you can’t sugarcoat what you do and whether it will work or not when everything you is measured. I need to find the holes in a campaign to determine how watertight it is.
Tell us about a typical working day…
Jodie Harris: Before I get into work, I check my emails to make sure nothing has been set alight overnight. I normally get into work at least an hour before the day officially starts. This gives me a head start on my to do list and helps me make sure I have signed off everything I need to do for that day.
On Mondays I have all my internal meetings and make sure all teams and client teams are on track in terms of strategy and performance. This means the rest of the week I’m either in pitches, client meetings or working on new campaigns. I like to stay on accounts, so there are never any ivory tower decisions made. I will try and have lunch in between, which is an ongoing joke within my teams.
The last thing I do is put together a to do list for the next day ahead.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Jodie Harris: There is a lot I love about my job. I think I am a natural geek when it comes to marketing and especially the division I work in. If we have an undergrad working with us, I want to read their dissertation, I want to talk through a campaign, even if it’s not ours. What I love most is training my teams and honing in on the strategic part of their creativity; there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a campaign thought out better than you could have imagined.
What sucks? That’s a tough one. There never is a consistent aspect to my role I hate. I think on a general one it would be that there are still brands and marketing departments that do not take their online arm as seriously as their traditional arm of marketing- this can mean smaller budgets and a general hesitation to put money into digital.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Jodie Harris: Each client is different. Before we even sign on a client, I want to know what they want from their agency and what their KPIs are in their position. Whether it’s better traffic, a better ROI or more exposure for the brand, we only measure a KPI that make sense to their objectives.
We have our own link measurement tool, but we also measure on the effectiveness of a content campaign on how many times it has been featured in the press, how it has performed through paid media, and how much traffic is driven to the site- either for sales or leads.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Jodie Harris: ASANA. The whole agency lives on ASANA, which is a task-based management system where all our department and client work lives. This means each client can have an overview on what their MediaVision team is working on, and it also means I can see comms moving along nicely with the agency and the teams. Emails can be the devil, so this will always be my favourite tool to work with.
How did you end up at MediaVision, and where might you go from here?
Jodie Harris: By accident! I had previously worked both in-house and agency-side for a number of beauty and fashion brands in a very traditional PR capacity, mostly beauty! I enjoyed what I did and I saw success from my work, but I was done! I knew for my next role, I wanted it to be varied but I also wanted it to be challenging. I need to be challenged otherwise I get bored easily.
I met Louis in 2012 for a broader marketing role when MediaVision was still just a search agency. We spoke about my experience, which I didn’t realise was building natural follow links and looking at the broader picture outside SEO. Ten months later, we had launched a fully integrated digital marketing agency and we was nominated for our first award with Aquascutum. I never got that marketing role!
What brand content has impressed you lately?
Jodie Harris: Recently, it has been Open University’s ’50 words for 50 years’. To celebrate being 50 years old, they worked with a photographer who would release images on their social platforms, encouraging people to write a 50 word flash fiction story on what that image invoked.
The reason why I loved it is because it was effective without the glitz of a micro site, or long hours in development. It was content at its rawest. They let their creative power, and that of their followers, tell the story (QUITE LITERALLY!). It formed a community and really honed in on what the OU is all about: always learning and tapping into that natural passion for something, like writing.
Do you have any advice for marketers as to where to place their bets with content in the next year?
Jodie Harris: I want marketers to focus on the quality of their content more than anything else. Campaigns can come away at any stage, but it’s even harder when strength lies within the quality of a campaign.
If you are agency-side, I want you to walk away from the client and see what you think would be amazing for a content campaign. Your biggest strength is being the outsider looking in — you never want to lose that sight as a marketer. This year, I have heard and seen a lot of content not going anywhere after six months in production, so I would like to see and maybe even predict that content is going to be stripped back to its KPIs and to its brand story whilst turning its back on the lure of big production content.
If you’re going to learn from anyone this year, it will be from the property and the education sector, who are doing amazing things with content lately.