Industry Profile: MiQ ANZ managing director John Danby

3 September 2019

Our Industry Profile takes a 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.

This week we speak to MiQ ANZ managing director John Danby.

Time at the company:
Eight years on the 4th of July this year.

How would you describe what the company does?
MiQ delivers marketing intelligence to decode the consumer and what drives their decisions, through kickass media, dynamic analytics and technology solutions to agencies and clients across the globe.

What do you do day-to-day?
I head the Australian business with an executive leadership team that oversees trading, analytics, client services, sales and marketing. I’m regularly at meetings with current and prospective clients, and actively engage in pitching new business to fellow industry leaders and peers. I’m also the local executive sponsor for our expansion into China, which I am incredibly excited about.

Define your job in one word:

I got into advertising because:
I realized that selling deregulated gas and electricity door-to-door on a commission-only basis wasn’t going to be a long-term solution. If you’ve ever watched White Gold on Netflix, that was basically my life.

Mad jobs aside, a major reason for wanting to get into advertising was that I could see it was fast-paced, fun, with lots of new things to learn and be exposed to.

In my first ever advertising job, we launched a magazine from scratch. My role included building out a completely new database of clients (on paper!), filling the magazine with ads, all the way to me being in the design studio waxing the black and white ads onto the A4 boards that were to be sent to the printers. I loved it.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
As someone who started out in magazine and national press media sales, after my stint in selling gas and electric, I had to acquire a fair bit of technical knowledge. At MiQ, we don’t just sell media solutions, but also work heavily with AI-driven campaigns. That requires having a solid understanding of our data science capabilities, the mechanics of programmatic and how it benefits our clients, so keeping on top of things in this market is absolutely vital. It’s both rewarding and challenging at the same time.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
On a macro level, I’m fully on board with the MFA (Media Federation of Australia) initiative taking place in Australia this October to shut down and send their teams to an Effectiveness Expo. I would love to see the skill shortage in Australia’s advertising sector solved.

On a micro level, I would say the overall lack of transparency around what is driving performance when it comes to retargeting and prospecting is frustrating. At MiQ, we agree that the industry needs to move away from pure media metrics and back to business outcomes – this approach isn’t new, it’s how we all talked before a click, like or share defined the success of a campaign.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
Unanimis Consulting Ltd. in the UK. They were a smaller ad network with an incredible group of people who punched far above their weight. Many of them are now in major roles for huge companies all over the globe, and we are lucky enough to have a decent number of them with us at MiQ now.

Notable ads/campaigns you have worked on:
One notable campaign we worked on was the launch of the iPhone 7 in the UK a few years ago. MiQ worked very closely with media agency MEC and Vodafone’s Team Red. It was the most successful iPhone launch ever at the time, and MiQ played a major part in the campaign.

Who is a great mentor to you and why?
Lee Puri and Gurman Hundal. As MiQ’s co-founders, they have been fantastic mentors for me. I’ve worked with Lee for nearly 14 years now and have known Gurman for the same amount of time. What they’ve done is incredible and I learn so much from each of them. It’s been eight years and counting at MiQ, and we’re all enjoying every single day more than the last.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Make sure you really want the responsibility and not just the title. More importantly, make sure you enjoy what you do but also do what you enjoy, and although some days will be tough, most will be great.

If I wasn’t doing this for a living, I’d be:
A stockbroker at the London stock exchange.

My mantra is:
All good things come to those who want and work bloody hard for it.

My favourite advert is:
I’m an old man and here’s where it shows. My favourite ads are over two decades old but they are also some of the most iconic. The first is a Rab C. Nesbitt, Hamlets Cigars advert from the 1980’s called, ‘Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet’ and the other is the ‘You know when you’ve been tangoed’ ad from the 90’s by Tango Orangeman.

What services do you subscribe to?
YouTube Music, as well as Stan, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Foxtel for TV.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I was in the Junior School Choir chosen to sing to the Queen during the reopening of Liverpool Street Station in London.

In five years’, time I’ll be:
On a beach with my wife, cocktail in hand.

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