Industry Profile: MediaCom GM Ben McCallum

By AdNews | 20 March 2018

Our Industry Insights Profile takes a weekly look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

Previoulsy we spoke to OVO CEO Matt Jones. Today we meet MediaCom general manager Ben McCallum.

Time in current role/time at the company:

Six months and three years at MediaCom.

How would you describe what the company does?

We help build the careers of our people and deliver first class business solutions for our clients.

What do you do day-to-day?

I am here to lead the MediaCom Sydney business, to inspire and support our people, and to also ensure we deliver first class business solutions for our clients.

Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?

2017 was an extremely successful year for MediaCom. Over the past six months, we have gone through a business transformation by aligning our offering and team under four key departments; Client Leadership, Strategy & Planning, Marketplace and MediaCom Beyond Advertising, which has ensured we are true to our operating philosophy of working in ‘systems not silos’.

We secured an array of new clients which resulted in a 76% conversion rate amongst other continuous improvements in key metrics such as staff retention.

Most recently, we hosted our media partners at our inaugural MediaCom Unplugged; An event created to provide our partners with a deeper understanding of what MediaCom stands for, our client offerings & opportunities, our structure and our business challenges – it was an incredible success and is currently being assessed to roll out to other MediaCom offices globally.

Define your job in one word:


I got into advertising/ad tech/marketing etc. because:

I completed a degree in marketing at Manchester University and applied to 86 different media/marketing/advertising companies but only received five interviews. From the five interviews, I was offered one job at an ad agency and I took it and I’ve never looked back since

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Each day we have to adapt to the circumstances presented to us, leading a solutions business such as MediaCom means that you face new challenges each and every day. Some you’ve never experienced before and some you’ll never experience again. That’s the exciting part of the role but equally the most challenging as you have to be nimble to navigate and lead the team.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?

For me it’s simple. We spend more time on innovation and tech than we do developing our people. This leads to running before we can walk, as an industry we are still guilty of not developing talent to the standards that we could. When you look at other industries from banking, telecommunications and entertainment, we struggle to develop at the same pace.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:

ZenithOptimedia, MEC and Media Vest.

Who is/has been a great mentor to you and why?

A combination of people: my mother first and foremost who gave me a very solid foundation upon which to build, Josie Saville (Wavemaker Manchester) taught me to be organised back in 2005 and most recently Gretchen Darling who coaches me today.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?

Don’t be afraid to do something you have never done before by taking on the things that scare you. There isn’t a playbook to follow, you just have to do what feels right.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:

I would have to be involved in sport in some capacity. I am a very keen tennis player, golfer, footballer and runner, so something along those lines.

My mantra / philosophy is:

Don’t worry about it, no matter how gargantuan the problem seems, there will be a solution.

My favourite advert is:

1998 Guinness “swimblack” ad directed by Jonathan Glazer. I love a story, it captures the attention and increases retention and engagement. Clearly the case with this ad from 19 years ago.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?

Being from the North West of England music is a real passion of mine. I travel to Glastonbury every year and have been a Spotify user since 2009. I pay my premium subscription each month as my contribution back to the music industry. I also brought Netflix with me when I arrived in 2013 from the UK. My wife, two daughters and I use Netflix, Stan, Hayu and Foxtel at various points throughout the week, mainly via the PlayStation4.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

I can speak fluent Spanish.

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