Julia Connaughton is Strategy Director, DAX, at Global. She has over 20 years’ experience in digital marketing, working in media agencies and publishers, including MGOMD, MEC and the7stars.
Who is your digital hero?
Guy Jones, Co-founder, The GoodNet.
What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?
Guy is a visionary leader, having spent his career building the programmatic arms of publishers, leading on digital transformation, while still delivering buying efficiencies for agencies and their clients. He’s able to seamlessly navigate the ever-changing digital ecosystem and ‘make the complex simple’ through his strategies and storytelling.
And as true heroes do, he has always found time to celebrate his teams work, such as the weekly shout-outs he instigated, and has been both a supportive mentor, as well as someone who pushes you to be your best. He is quietly brilliant, a man of integrity, well respected by his peers, all which comes with a very dry sense of humour!
If that wasn’t enough, Guy also found time to write scripts and two beautiful children’s books (which I’d highly recommend), before he set up his own sustainable ad network, The Goodnet.
How has his heroism helped drive digital?
Guy took the leap and set up his own digital media business, with a focus on sustainability and media for good, which align with his personal values. Recognising the need for a better world and better media, Guy actively champions initiatives that promote sustainability within the digital ad space.
Guy is not only making a positive impact to the digital landscape but is also an inspiration to others. His dedication and commitment to important causes are paving the way for a more sustainable future in digital media. Something we should all strive for.
What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
There are many challenges that still exist in digital advertising, and every time tech evolves, new ones arise. One that seems to be getting a lot of airtime in media, at conferences and in the press right now is the growth of AI, it’s use in advertising and any potential dangers.
At a basic level, AI could help businesses to improve efficiencies by automating repetitive tasks or solve more complex problems. Digital audience targeting is powered by AI for example, negating the need for cookies.
Generative AI is great fun to play with and is likely already used in advertising in various guises. Regulations are playing catch up after publishers raised concerns around fair payment for content and potential IP theft.
Lastly, businesses will need to audit current skills of their employees, identify what new skills are required and build out training plans to avoid falling behind competitors.
These challenges require visionary leadership, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of the landscape. A hero who can tackle these obstacles head-on and drive transformative change would make a significant impact on the digital industry and they’d probably be very rich!
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
A few years ago, I made the move from media agency to becoming part of a publisher. Since then, I have orchestrated the successful launches of new products for DAX, including the launch of our programmatic outdoor SSP, DAX outdoor. I learnt a new medium in outdoor, the intricacies of building an SSP and launching a new product during a pandemic.
Heroic for me is seeing those who I’ve helped in their careers, through management or mentoring, succeeding in their chosen paths. It gives me a huge sense of pride to know I’ve been part of their journey and seeing how they progress.