Industry Profile: Val Morgan Outdoor VIC sales director Michael Prendergast

11 May 2021

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 Val Morgan Outdoor (VMO) VIC sales director Michael Prendergast.

Time in current role:
Two-plus years.

How would you describe what the company does?
VMO specialises in digital OOH advertising across retail, health clubs and petrol and convenience networks. The VMO network is underpinned by our leading audience measurement platform, DART, which provides unparalleled OOH data and insights for brands.

What do you do day-to-day?
My role is to lead the Melbourne sales team as we strategically work with our agency partners to bring advertising campaigns to life. Relationships, data and solution led thinking are the core focus areas of what we pride our work on.

Define your job in one word:

I got into OOH because:
I have always loved how digital continuously evolves and that you are always learning from new challenges. Having worked in the digital space for over four years now, it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come, specifically in terms of the ability for our business and our clients to react to real-time data. This provides the type of campaign flexibility that other media owners are still developing.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
The speed of which digital OOH moves is both challenging and exciting. As a leader, I am always aiming to provide team support and strategic direction to tackle the different scenarios we face. I am lucky to have an extremely talented team but ensuring the right level of support is provided is something I do put a lot of thought into.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
2020 was a tough year for everyone in Australia (and in particular my home state of Melbourne), so I do think it highlighted the importance of checking in with friends and family to provide any form of mental support. I think as an industry there are still steps to take in driving the work-life balance that sometimes can feel elusive due to the daily pressure and demands we put on ourselves.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
I’d be a short stocky forward pocket for my beloved Collingwood and would have supporters calling for my retirement.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
I began my media career with Nine Entertainment Co, before heading overseas for 12 months of travel and work. Upon returning to Australia, I worked in the sports sales team at MCN, before taking up the sales manager role at ESPN Digital.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
My dad has always been a great mentor for me. He has no background in media or sales but I do enjoy our discussions on how to tackle the world of sales and business. He has provided clarity and direction on many discussions that he can be impartial too. It is funny how simple an answer can be to a complex question!

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Understanding the business you are working in both from a personnel and commercial perspective is very important. Believing in your company’s strategic direction promotes alignment on multiple levels and it the personnel will help you get there. If you love working in a team, then you will not find many better industries than media sales to get the best out of you.

How do you build a good team culture?
I believe it is very important to consider the type of culture you want to build and encourage your team to work within. We have concentrated on taking our time when finding the right talent to contribute to our culture and this was a great mantra passed down to me by Deb Trela, our GM of Sales at Val Morgan Group. I am proud to say we have a highly motivated and determined team and this approach has brought in excellent people to the business.

My mantra is:
I feel like quoting the movie ‘Remember The Titans’ isn’t quite the same as quoting George Washington, but I have always loved “Attitude reflects leadership”. I find can be applied to many situations.

My favourite advert is:
Reebok: Terry Tate – Super Bowl XXXVII (2003). I think more workplaces could do with a Terry Tate.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
My music taste is very simple. It is either The Killers or Mumford and Sons on continuous shuffle via Spotify. I have just began watching ‘Better Call Saul’ on Stan and I am loving the prequal to Breaking Bad.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
There’s not a lot that my colleagues and I don’t know about each other, but whilst living overseas I had a job reading patent’s out loud (including verbalising all punctuation) with one other person for hours at a time. If you are interested in mobile phone patent’s, I can still assist out of hours.

In five years' time I'll be:
A tough question considering the changes that 2020 alone had on the media landscape. I love leading a team presently and I can’t see that changing in five years' time. I look forward to continuing to develop my own leadership style and one day finally buy that hobby farm my wife has always dreamt of.

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