A week in the life of Sally Dickerson
My role as Managing Director at Benchmarketing continues to evolve to reflect the changes within our industry and the needs of our clients and OMG UK agencies. As managing director, my role is to manage a team who run consultancy projects and curate datasets to provide insights, benchmarks and case studies across client categories.
As a mathematics graduate, I always knew I wanted to work with numbers and data, and the work at Benchmarketing definitely requires a high degree of numeracy! I am hands on (maybe too hands on) with every project run.
Omnicom Media Group UK is flexible in terms of its working practices. If I have a lot of presentation creation work on, I will usually work from home so I can get my head down and really focus on the task at hand, get some peace and quiet and good thinking time. We have a number of tech solutions across the group, allowing me to work remotely.
Start of the week
Like any managing director, I have several hats to my role. Firstly, there’s the day to day servicing our clients, running through pieces of analyses, answering requests for work and working with different teams and partners both within and outside of OMG UK. Secondly, there’s managing the team who do the work. Finally, the longer-term view of running and improving the business; at the moment I am very focused on 2020 planning, which includes resource management, prospecting and partner relationships, but also coming up with new ideas, extending our remit, and always involving numbers.
Typically, on Monday I work from home, then on Tuesday I have a busy day running through the schedule for the week. We hold a weekly team catch up to check on projects running to time, and the other data aggregation tasks that need to be done, plus assigning new tasks that have come up.
The middle of the week is where we usually meet with our agency contacts, clients and media owner clients either at Bankside, client offices or the Crescent, where two of our media agencies (OMD UK and PHD) are located. Planning these meetings to avoid several cab journeys a day is an art! I try to do Crescent meetings at the beginning or end of a day as it’s easy for me to get home from there by public transport.
Usually mid-week is also a good time for us to deep dive into our projects. Even though we are a small team, we usually have three or four big projects on the go at any one time. Each paid project involves dataset creation, both routine and new analysis, results visualisation and creating digestible insights for agencies and clients, with typically me and a lead then support analyst on every project. With only six people in the team that means multitasking is a must.
We are currently working on a new project inspired by OMD UK’s Create Team, looking at setting benchmarks on how to use influencers within media and marketing. Surprisingly, this is an area that hasn’t been explored in too much detail, so it is really exciting to create a new industry standard, if we can do that – there seems to be a big lack of evidence! We’re publishing a white paper on Influencer Marketing in early November.
We work very closely with all four media agencies and some Specialist Services within the OMG UK sphere, so I try to spend as much time as I can working directly with the senior leadership of these, with my junior team running clinics and discussions at agencies a couple of times a month.
Friday is a day I have to myself, as I work four days a week. I leave London and head to my Cotswold house with garden and two ex-feral cats Margaret and Phillip. After my normal chores, I usually try and switch off and busy myself with seasonal tasks, such as gardening or cooking. At the moment, I am making a whole batch of different jams from produce from my Cotswold garden, as well as planning Christmas events at my Pembrokeshire B+B. It’s been fascinating setting up a business with staff, insurance issues, managing a payroll, and forecasting future revenues – has given me a lot of respect for OMG UK “back office” teams.
Even though I am not officially working, I keep an eye on my emails and may dip into a project if there is a significant issue or something is extremely time sensitive.
What advice you’d give to someone starting their career?
You have two ears and one mouth – use them in that proportion. Especially when you’re new, it is very important to listen and learn from people and take in as much as possible. Also, please really embrace work, if you want to progress you need to invest in us, work hard and deliver, we will then invest in you.
By Sally Dickerson, Managing Director, Benchmarketing