Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, adtech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.
This week we speak to Alpha Digital CEO Sam Wood.
Time in current role/time at the company:
One year in role, nine years at the agency.
How would you describe what the company does?
Alpha Digital is an independent marketing agency, with a team of 50+ who deliver digitally-led experiences, creative thinking, and media solutions that empower some of Australia's most-loved brands.
What do you do day-to-day?
My days differ pretty significantly depending on where I am. If I’m working in the office, it’ll be lots of face-to-face meetings with our team, clients, suppliers etc. Video calls are great for flexibility, but it’s still hard to beat those chance in-person conversations. When I’m working from home that’s when I’ll try and get my individual-focused work done - typically these are the bigger-picture items that require uninterrupted time.
Define your job in one word:
I got into marketing because:
I love how quickly and how often it all changes. You can’t get complacent!
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Finding the time and mental space to focus on the long-term. There’s always something more urgent vying for your attention.
What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
One challenge I really want to see tackled is around our people. COVID has meant a really tight labour market and we’re finding it increasingly difficult (and expensive) to hire great people. Given we’ll be dealing with the reality of limited immigration and increased demand for all things marketing for a while yet, I’m seeing this challenge existing for the foreseeable future. Hopefully across the industry it will mean more accelerated programs for those totally new to the craft and more opportunities for university grads - I think this is the only way we better insulate ourselves from these challenges long-term.
Who is/has been a great mentor to you and why?
I’m super fortunate to have my dad to turn to for general questions around running a business - he’s had a lot more experience than me. More recently, Bec Tos has been someone I’ve been grateful I can turn to for advice particularly on the ‘agency stuff’.
Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours:
Deep specialisations are important, but for a role like this one you almost also need to be interested in everything. Obviously, there’s the work the agency actually produces, but then there’s the commercials, operations, strategy, HR, finance, etc. All of which you need to have an understanding of. Read/watch/listen broadly and think about how it all fits together. Be curious for the sake of being curious.
If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
I’d like to open a hotel ...
My mantra / philosophy is:
If you’re going to do something, you might as well put in the work to do it properly.
My favourite advert is:
I genuinely get excited about and look forward to the Spotify Wrapped campaigns each year. There aren’t many campaigns that have me scouring the internet to see as much of them as possible!
Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
I live about an hour and half away from the office, so my podcast and Audible subscriptions are lifesavers (and mean I actually value that time commuting). For TV, despite paying for a bunch of different services I often find myself watching ABC iView instead.
Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
We’ve recently played that game at work, so we’re going to have to go pretty obscure. I went to whatever the regional level is for shot put in high school … and if I didn’t come last, I was very, very close to it.
In five years' time I'll be:
Unable to surf, and still making excuses like it’s too cold/windy/big/small/sunny/hot to go out.
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