Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The Australian View: “media is seen as a far more serious career choice compared to the UK”

The Australian View is an interview series with Australians working in the UK’s digital media and marketing industry, celebrating the people from Australia helping drive our industry to even higher levels of innovation and creativity. Next up is Matt Hamill, UK Sales Director at Taptap Digital.

What are the main differences between the UK and Australian industry scenes?

The three main differences I’ve noticed between the two markets are the size of each market, the collaboration between companies and the remuneration that’s available.

The UK media market is significantly bigger than Australia’s, driven by key factors like geography, population size and market maturity. The numbers of companies and the scale they operate at are significantly larger in the UK. I initially found this intimidating and confronting, yet now relish the opportunities it offers myself and my family.

I’ve personally found the Australian market far more collaborative due to its smaller size. Clients, media agencies and media partners generally seem to work closer together. There’s certainly less shouting in Oz.

The big shock for most Aussie media professionals when they cross over the ditch is salary. Australia is a wealthy country, and its media professionals are well paid. I’d almost go as far to suggest that media is seen as a far more serious career choice in Australia compared to the UK.

What have you found most interesting/frustrating about working in the UK industry?

    In my opinion the UK has one of the most mature and competitive digital media industry in the world. It’s both the most interesting and yet frustrating part of working in the UK.

    Interesting as you’re competing daily against a multitude of companies, which ensures an almost Darwinist environment that only the best survive and thrive. It also offers individuals the chance to work with and for a diverse and wide range of companies.

    And frustrating as it can sometimes be near impossible to navigate large businesses, where key decision makers are squirreled away.

    When I first started in digital, I found it exhausting trying to keep up with the pace of change, and I felt like I needed to know it all. GDPR, Brexit, Covid and the cookie apocalypse are just some of the recent macro factors that have made the industry challenging yet incredibly interesting. Once I got comfortable I’d never know it all, I settled in for the ride!

    There’s a cultural aspect of working in the UK that I find frustrating. People can be very polite and feel like saying no will offend others. I learnt early on in my sales career that ‘no’ can be the second-best answer. There’s a bluntness to the Australian market that can be confronting yet comforting, you know where you stand and what you need to do to change a specific situation.

    It wouldn’t be very Australian of me if I didn’t mention how bad the weather is here too. But that’s another blog on its own.

    What have you most missed from the industry in Australia?

    It’s always the people. I’m lucky enough to have worked with and for hard working, smart and immensely talented people in Australia who made me into the media professional I am today. I love seeing my generation of Australian professionals come through the ranks and begin to take on senior roles all over the world. I’m cheering them on from the sidelines of LinkedIn.   

    Outside of that, three things immediately spring to mind.

    1. ‘Board meetings’ – early morning surfs with clients before work. This is still my favourite type of meeting.  
    2. Coffee – the UK is certainly getting better, but the quality and speed that coffees are produced still doesn’t compare.  
    3. Cabs home from work events provided by the company. Much more enjoyable that the tube or bus.

    What is the biggest misconception about the Australian industry and market?

      The biggest misconception about the Australian market I’ve witnessed is that the work isn’t as sophisticated, because the budgets are smaller.

      In fact, in my experience the work produced in Australia rivals anything I’ve seen globally. This stems from the collaboration that happens between clients, their agencies and media partners.

      Each stakeholder seems much more aware that their success is intricately linked to the other two partners working successfully together.

      Don’t let the Aussie larrikin stereotype fool you either, Aussies pride themselves on hard work. 

      What lessons can the UK industry learn from Australia?

      Be more direct.  

      I think we’d all save a lot of time, effort and money if we were all a little less worried about being polite and more honest in our communication with each other!