In feature 014 we had a chat with Jess Fitzpatrick, Senior Media Trader at Buyers & Sellers Media who is the creator responsible for out of home advertising! This includes buying media trading on traditional and digital billboards as well as DigiVans, that you see offline.
Jess shares with us her career throughout marketing and media trading, what makes a strong piece of Out Of Home (OOH) Marketing stand out and advice she’d give to anyone looking to move into the Media industry.
1. Tell us about yourself, what is your current role(s) and what role(s) have you previously had in Marketing/Media Trading?
Gosh you might need to grab a cuppa for this one! So, I’m the Senior Media Trader at Buyers and Sellers Media and I’m a self-confessed OOH Nerd! I’ve had various roles in Marketing & Media over the years but my first job was working for my family business – flower market stalls that then grew into Garden Centres and for a few years we had a firework shop too. My Dad is a great Market Trader and my Mom is a lovely Saleswoman so they’ve played a big part in shaping me into the woman I am today.
After getting a degree in Business Management with Marketing & Entrepreneurship I decided to help run the family business while I tried to figure out how to get into a cool Marketing & Advertising role. I couldn’t get one, so I got a job selling cars at Renault and botox over the phone at Sk:n clinics in the hope that I’d get into the advertising/marketing side of the company, but then I was made redundant at Sk:n so I decided to set up my own Print Magazine company called SCENE Birmingham in 2012. This meant I finally had a cool Media/Marketing role and a platform to shout about all the things I loved about Birmingham, the people, the places, the nightlife etc!
Running the magazine was my first experience in Media, first time selling advertising space, I learnt SO many lessons and had the best time but print of course was declining, and after a few great years I realised I loved doing Marketing Consultancy more and I was good at it, so I went on to work freelance for some amazing people and businesses. My Dad would always want me to work as much as I could at the family business down in Southampton too so for a few years I did and we set up a new Garden Centre in Bournemouth which I loved building as a brand. I was doing the website, the social media, the buying & selling, all of the marketing. Everything was preparing me for now.
Then in 2016 a huge fire burnt down one of our garden centres and the firework shop, we lost everything. After 18 months of hard work building the business back up it was time for me to come back to Birmingham and get the marketing role I so desperately wanted. I got it – a Marketing Manager for a big agency in the Midlands. I hated it, but it gave me incredible insight into agency life! After that I took on a 6 week contract to become a Marketing Manager for a TV Shopping Channel that only sold sewing products! I ended up staying 18 months. That job was absolute chaos every single day, but I had so much fun and learnt loads from the marketing director Liz Taylor – she is an absolute boss of a woman!
When that job was done I was at a crossroads and still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I just knew I was good at sales; loved advertising and media and wanted to be in Birmingham. By chance I bumped into a friend and told her I’d been offered a job at a radio station and because she’d worked at that station and in OOH advertising she convinced me in 5 seconds that I’d enjoy putting people on billboards way more than I ever would doing radio sales.
So I got a job at Clear Channel, I loved it there and learnt so much from the best in the business (thank you Lou, Anita & Kerry), but the Market Trader in me wanted to do better and faster last minute deals with clients because airtime to me is just like flowers… they’re perishable goods and it was then that I met my boss Nick.
Nick and I are very aligned in who we are and what we do. We’re traders and we love making the client happy so when I was asked to join Buyers & Sellers Media and was given the freedom to buy and sell any media from whoever I want, all over the world I immediately said YES!
2. Can you share with us a typical day in the life as a Senior Media Trader for Buyers and Sellers?
Being completely honest it’s none stop from the time I get up to the time I go to sleep. I’ve got clients in China, US, Dubai & Ireland so my phones popping off on WhatsApp at all hours. My morning starts by answering WhatsApps, emails, social DM’s, then when I get into the office I have to write a To Do list on paper, I love ticking stuff off. It’s not the same doing it on a computer.
My days can vary so much, most days I’m in the office on the phone or zooms all day booking space for clients, discussing briefs and finding out about new forms of OOH or new sites across the globe.
Other days I might be out for meetings, or all hands on deck doing a DigiVan job or Experiental OOH job, or out taking pics for clients. Occasionally I get to go to the Mobo Awards, meet people like Anthony Joshua and call it ‘networking’. I’m also good at putting on a good party for clients too – last year I decided to put on an event for 170 people with just 2 weeks notice, taking all my clients to Wireless festival with a big booze filled pre-party before hand and a double decker LED hospitality bus! And I’m very lucky that I get to go visit suppliers in New York and clients in Ireland, that’s always fun!
One thing about my role I love is that every Sunday night I had absolutely no idea how crazy (in a good way) the following week will be.
I’ve sent a message out to a client once at 4pm saying fancy sending 3 Digivans to Downing Street now? And I’ve been driving a DigiVan down to London myself 20 mins later. Yesterday I was sat on the floor on the roundabout at Trafalgar Square getting the best angle for an Instagram video for a DigiVan campaign for Missguided.
3. You are also a Podcast Host for The OOH Podcast! What is the podcast about and what was the inspiration to start a podcast?
My colleague Ben was one part of the inspiration behind it I guess. He set up his own podcast during lockdown interviewing really interesting people. When he came to Buyers and Sellers I said the only podcast I’ve listened to that I love is Tim Rowe’s OOH insider, who’s podcast I was fortunate enough to go on too.
Tim’s podcast is great and really brings together the UK & USA OOH community and talks to so many different people within the industry. When Ben and I decided to start ours we wanted to make sure that although it’s called the OOH podcast it touches on all sorts of topics around OOH, marketing, advertising, running a business and building a brand, and again it does something that I love doing – giving people a platform to share their brand & their story.
My father wasn’t very well before Christmas so we took a break from the podcast while I couldn’t commit to filming, but we should hopefully be bringing out some new episodes soon!
4. You work in out-of-home (OOH) advertising everyday. What are your thoughts on OOH advertising and what makes a strong OOH piece of marketing stand out?
I LOVE IT! There’s an OOH ad for every business! I work with people and brands & artists of ALL sizes and make it work for them.
My favourite OOH ads are the ones that you send to your mates and see get shared on social media. A strong OOH piece for me are the ones that you feel a connection to straight away, they might have great copy that makes you smile or laugh, or an awesome creative that you love, or there’s a story behind the campaign that just resonates with you.
When I was growing up I watched a documentary in my Media class on the FCUK and Wonderbra campaigns that Trevor Beattie did. Those campaigns turned heads and got people talking, and made those brands famous. We all still recall these campaigns years later. I love OOH campaigns that do that!
I loved the Fendi & Tiffany Times Square takeovers in New York (IMAGINE being there when it happened, what a moment!). I also loved what the Super Nintendo film did in Paris recently because the kid in me loves Nintendo, and the OOH nerd in me loves the French OOH architecture, so combining the two in my eyes is cool as fcuk!
I think the new wave of OOH advertisers that include upcoming Music Artists, and new clothing brands are doing a great job at producing strong OOH content – they’re looking at OOH as a 360 campaign that works alongside Social. Big Brands I LOVE that get how good OOH and Social can work together – Paddy Power, Gymshark, Atlantic Records are prime examples of this too, check out some of the campaigns we’ve done with them in the past on my insta!
5. Do you face any challenges as a media buyer and how did you overcome them?
Yes. Let me be the first to say it… most markets in the world whatever the commodity have some sort of ‘Mafia’ trying to run the show. The Media industry is no different, and that’s not just in OOH, it’s everywhere!
The biggest challenge I had when we first started was convincing suppliers that there is another way to sell, and clients that there is a better way to buy. We overcome this pretty quickly and I think that’s genuinely down to the fact that people buy off people and we’re good people who love what we do and love keeping the customer happy.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start a career in Marketing and/or media trading?
It took me years to find my ‘Ikigai’, but every role before this one helped me get here in a different way. I only got into OOH advertising 4 years ago but some of the friends I made in previous roles or people I interviewed back in 2012 for my magazine are now regular clients of mine that had never thought about spending money on OOH advertising until they saw I was doing it.
Learn something from everyone! If you have the opportunity to work on a Market Stall do it – I learnt everything I know in trading from a Market Stall. Do some free work experience if you can and be prepared to consume SO much information from everything you see and hear to get you where you want to be, you need to be clued up on everything!
7. Where can our community follow and engage with yourself and Buyers and Sellers on Social Media?
You can find me on Instagram, Twitter & TikTok – @oohwithjess
OOH Podcast – Instagram, Twitter & TikTok – @oohpodcast