Earlier this year, News Corp Australia announced the launch of The Growth D_Stillery, a dedicated research and intelligence service offering consumer insights to help marketers navigate brand challenges, anticipate consumer trends and understand where best to invest.
The Growth D_Stillery amplifies key research insights on trade marketing platforms, and on News Corp Australia channels. As a part of its release into market, the platform has launched a series of vodcasts hosted by News Corp Australia’s director, Growth Intelligence Centre Dan Krigstein, with guests from all corners of the marketing world.
The most recent lot of Growth D_Stillery vodcasts were recorded at Sydney’s Luna Park as part of the 2023 Advertising Week conference, and Mediaweek was on the ground to catch up with those recording episodes.
This week, Mediaweek spoke to Melissa Fein, CEO of Initiative Australia.
Recording at Advertising Week, Fein says that whilst catching up with people from all corners of the industry certainly makes the event a lot of fun, it’s not the main reason for Initiative to have a presence at the conference.
“Outside saying hello to everyone, I love Advertising Week, because it’s got the global angle. A lot of the industry events that we do sit in their echo chamber – here I know that they’ve got a really good event so we can take inspiration from some of the other key markets that Advertising Week appear in.”
Sitting down to record an episode of The Growth D_Stillery vodcast was an exercise in highlighting the strengths of the industry for Fein, and a big reason she said yes to jumping on board was to combat some of the negative news about the industry.
“I’ve been really impressed not just the industry bodies that are involved in this, but also Dan at News Corp, and the way that they’ve driven a very positive growth story for the industry. We need that, I think – the industry in Australia is very good at tall poppy syndrome and putting each other down, and coming off the back of a difficult political and economic climate through the pandemic, we needed to tell that story.”
Looking ahead, Fein says that there are two particular hurdles that she believes the industry will need to combat in the near future – and both are to do with talent.
“We’re going into a very different talent crisis – we talked about finding the talent during the pandemic, I think the talent crisis we’re going into now is being able to make sure that they’re fairly compensated. Salaries have stayed stagnant through the pandemic, and I think everyone thought that coming off the back of that, we were going to be able to instil that confidence back into salary.
“What we’ve seen since then is that inflation has outpaced some of the salaries. A doom and gloom economic outlook combined with an inflationary market equals a lower level of confidence for big businesses to be able to input back into the employees. That’s something that’s keeping me up at night from an industry perspective.”
Once talent has been found and fairly paid, Fein says that the challenge becomes making sure they’re getting enough experience to begin climbing the ladder within the industry.
“There’s also pipelining talent, what does their future look like coming out of university? We all had careers where you’d start at a junior level, and you work your way up. Automation is coming in, and we’re able to take some of those lower, menial tasks from that lower end. That’s great for those university graduates who don’t have to do those menial tasks, but then my big problem is what’s happening for those first two years. What do they do? That’s something that we’re trying to grapple with.”
When asked what she hopes viewers of the vodcast take from the episode, Fein points to one question in particular that caught her attention.
“There was a good question in there about something that I’ve heard that’s a bit B.S. around in the industry at the moment. There are headlines about agencies marking their own homework around some of the in-housing of the analytics model – and that’s something that I feel like there’s an agenda behind.
“We toyed on that a bit, which has been a bit of a hot topic.”
Top Image: Mel Fein
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