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ARMLife Interview with Media Planner Buyer Anne Pearce

ARMLife provides an inside look at the talented people who work at All Response Media. In this interview, we spoke with Canadian-born Media Planner Buyer, Anne Pearce to explore how her years of travelling had an impact on her life and how it eventually led her to London and ARM.

Bobby Ghayouri : Tell us a bit about yourself?

Anne Pearce: I am originally from Canada, but as an avid traveller, I consider a few places home. Before I lived in London, I taught English for 3 years in Hong Kong, which is also where I met my now-husband. I studied Marketing at Trinity Western University in Vancouver and all of my family still live there (including my adorable niece and nephew!).

I have been in London for 2 years now and love it. Although Hong Kong and London are big cities, they both have very different personalities, so naturally, it has taken some time to get used to the busy London life. We left Hong Kong to not only be closer to family, but also because I was ready to pursue a Marketing career. In Hong Kong, it was hard to move into a more business-oriented role as they required fluency in Cantonese and Mandarin.

BG: How was living in Hong Kong? What was your most memorable moment?

AP: It was amazing! There is a great ex-pat community in Hong Kong, which makes it a great place to move to. For me, it was surprising how quickly it became home and didn’t feel like a foreign country, especially one where English isn’t necessarily the first language. It has its own identity and is full of kind, lovely people.

My most memorable moment was when I had just moved in and went to IKEA (as you do) and bought way too much (as you do) and was walking back to my flat as it started to rain. So here I am in a foreign country, with lots of heavy bags in a sudden downpour. Much to my surprise, an older lady came up to me and held an umbrella over our heads and walked with me to avoid getting rain all over me and my new purchases.

A similar thing happened years later where I was again stuck without an umbrella in a sudden downpour (you think I would learn my lesson!). Once again, a stranger shared their umbrella with me and even gave it to me in the end as they had reached their destination and I was still heading on.

BG: How did get into media and how long have you been at ARM?

AP: When I moved to London 2 years ago, I was focussed on finding a marketing role. Though it was difficult as I did not have any specific experience, I had a lot of transferable skills from working in retail management and teaching.

I started speaking to recruiters and eventually was invited in for a grad day to interview at ARM. Though I was not your typical new grad having left University in 2010, I was offered the role as a Media Executive. ARM assured me that there was potential for me to move quite quickly from this entry level position with hard work and the ability to pick up things quickly, which definitely happened. I immediately got stuck in and worked hard to develop my media knowledge and skills. As a result, I was promoted to Senior Media Executive after 9 months and then after another 9 months to Planner Buyer, which I am now. In July, it will have been 2 years since I first joined.

BG: A lot has changed in two years. How has that experience been?

AP: It has been challenging in a good way to explore a new industry and city at the same time. It means a lot that ARM recognised my potential from the beginning and trusted that with the right training, I would grow quickly. They do not place strict time based limits on promotions and value hard work above all.

Having had no prior media experience, I had a ton of media terminology and knowledge to learn. My organisational skills definitely helped me get up to speed quickly. I also found my time teaching English in front of groups of people made it easier for me to be confident when presenting in client meetings at ARM.

BG: You have lived quite the adventurous life! Any advice to people who may want to move to a different country or try a completely new job like you did?

AP: I always encourage everyone to live somewhere else at least once in their life. You will undoubtedly make friendships that last a lifetime and learn things that you will take with you forever. There is so much of the world to see, so take advantage of it and get out there.

That being said, you do not always have to leave the country to have similar experiences! London especially is very multicultural and there are a lot of opportunities to step out of your comfort zone. Hang out with new people, join groups you might not have considered – you never know where it may lead.

In terms of new jobs, I believe that it is never too late to start a new career. What is most important is that you do what is right for you. For me I went into media in a ‘mature age’ compared to new grads that were 5-6 years younger than me. I have been lucky to join a company that did not hold me back based on the time I have been here and as a result, I am progressing within the company and industry.

BG: What are your main responsibilities as a Planner Buyer?

AP: Simply said, I plan and buy the advertising space for our clients. As a partner to the client, we plan the best offline media mix and then negotiate and plan the best rates for it. The media ranges from TV, radio, outdoor and inserts.

Although from an outsider’s POV my day may look a bit hectic, I always know what needs to be done. It may start out with client calls and catch ups or presentations at our office. To prepare for these, we spend a lot of time analysing results, compiling data and recommending ways to improve future campaigns. Data analysis plays a huge role in what we do and everything we recommend has a reason, strategy and rationale behind it.

BG: What is the biggest challenge working in the media industry?

AP: It is very busy! You have to be able to multi task and wear many hats. Often, you will be working on one thing and you will get an urgent email pulling you onto a completely different project. At the same time it is a thrill to be able to at the end of the day look at all that was accomplished. It is a fast paced, yet rewarding environment.

BG: What makes All Response Media unique?

AP: The people who work here. They are not just talented, but they are the types of people who you want to be around day in and day out. ARM also has a clear sense of community and they plan BBQs, away days and nights at the pub to bring everyone together. This was my first job in the UK and the welcoming environment made all the difference.

BG: What is one fact that no one knows about you?

AP: One of my life goals is to hit 30 countries before I turn 30. I am at 29 (after going to the Maldives on my honeymoon!). I wonder what the last one will be…

BG: What is your favourite media type?

AP: I am biased towards TV because as a consumer I am very drawn to it. This passion means I can appreciate that different stations have different personalities and that we have to align station to brand to find the right mix of stations for what the client is trying to sell.

It has been especially interesting discovering things about TV that I never knew before. With a wider understand of viewing habits and TV measurement, I now always think twice when watching a TV ad. I often find myself questioning why that ad was placed on that station and programme.

BG: What word that best describes you?

AP: Homebody! Sounds strange after expressing my love of travel but I love going home at the end of the day to curl up in front of the TV or read a book. The home I have created for myself in whatever country I live in is my favourite place.