Young Gun: Wavemaker strategy manager Marco Del Castillo

9 May 2019

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the young talent across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry.

Today we speak to Wavemaker strategy manager Marco Del Castillo.

How long have you been in the industry?
Almost seven years in total: two years in search agencies, five years between MEC and Wavemaker.

How did you get here?
I knew I wanted to be in this industry, but was never sure of which side I would want to play in (Marketing, Creative, Media). After graduating university, I set my sights on the marketing grad programs within the big FMCG brands – I was unsuccessful. So, I started my career in digital search agencies for a couple of years, before pursuing my next step within GroupM at Wavemaker (formerly MEC). I was initially rejected (again!) by GroupM HR for a Digital Exec role, but I wanted it so bad, I found the Head of Digital’s contact details and emailed him directly. Five years and three departments later, I’m still here and finally where I set out to be.

Who’s your right-hand person/who guides you day to day?
I’ve been fortunate to have a full agency of people who have supported me over the years. For the past couple of years, my day-to-day guide has been Bec Drummond. We moved through the ranks together as execs at MEC, switching departments and making our way into the Strategy team. Since then, we’ve been helping each other figure it all out and have been trusty sounding boards for one another. Media strategists tend to work as lone wolves. After we completed Award School, I think we realised it’s much more fun and fruitful working in tandem as much as possible, as Art Directors and Copywriters do.

What's the best thing about the industry you work in?
In this industry, you have the ability to shape the future (of your clients’ business, wider culture, and your own). There are no hard rules, so how you wish to do that is largely up to you, which allows a great deal of both creativity and pragmatism.

And the biggest challenge?
Striking the right balance between creativity with logic and reasoning. The best thing about this industry is also the most challenging, and that’s why I think it’s great. You will always be challenged and you will constantly be learning.

Define your job in one word:

What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?
My expectations were that it would be just like Mel Gibson doing his Nike pitch in What Women Want.

How does the reality match up?
A lot more tables and charts. I also still do not know what women want.

How would you describe what the company does and what does your role involve?
We help advertisers grow their brands by understanding the purchase journeys of the categories in which they play, to execute strategies that integrate media, content and technology. My role involves diagnosing the category, understanding cultural tensions and deciding which path to follow, to move people towards action.

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?
Often from the get-go, you don’t have someone there to teach you how to do things or give you the answers. Find the answers, back yourself, fail fast, learn quickly, move forward.

If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be and why?
Content & Partnerships – a creative, hardworking bunch that get shit done and have fun doing it.

What's exciting you about the industry right now?
The way people behave and consume media is changing and there are so many touchpoints to use within our media toolkit these days. With so many tactics available to deploy, there has never been a greater need for strategy and creative thinking.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?
My biggest concern lies in client contracts and the existing agency business model. Agencies must ensure that they are providing the value to be satisfactorily remunerated by clients to deliver good work and financial sustainability. Being squeezed on fees often results in under resource and unhealthy working conditions – and that’s not good for anyone.

Whose job have you set your sights on in the future?
I’m not entirely sure yet. It would be nice if it was a job for myself, I’d love to build my own brand from scratch. All in good time.

Where do you turn for inspiration?
I think if you live a life full of curiosity and are consistently open to experiencing new things, going to different places, and listening to different people, you can draw inspiration from anywhere. I try to live by this and have breadth in my sources.

My favourite advert is?

There are only three numbers that I can rattle off the top of my head: my parent’s landline, my old man’s mobile and Firteen Firteee Firty Two.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I was awarded best bowler of the 13e’s cricket team in high school. Peaked early.

In five years’ time I'll be:
Five years wiser than I am now.

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