A week in the life of Sarah Colby
I could never be in a job that didn’t allow me to interact with people inside and outside of my company.
My first real taste of marketing was at university, where I joined Red Bull as an ‘energiser’ / brand ambassador. It gave me an amazing insight to how people interact with brands and allowed me to meet loads of cool people along the way (yes, I did get to drive a Beetle with the Red Bull can on top).
I started my career in experiential marketing where I spent five years servicing clients ranging from FMCG brands to tech. I joined Omnicom Media Group UK in 2013, working in the central new business and marketing team across various functions including marketing, new business and events. I now head up the events side of the marketing team and am responsible for curating and running all OMG UK events. It is a hugely varied role which encompasses everything from small workshop sessions to bespoke client dinners, to the Christmas party.
For me there is no typical week, which is something that I love about my job but also presents a number of challenges, especially as working flexibly means that you have to be super organised and understand what to prioritise.
OMG UK is hugely flexible and supportive to parents – I don’t work on Mondays, so my day is spent trying to control my four-year-old and two-year-old children, which can be just as if not even more stressful than when I am in the office!
Tuesday is all about meetings. As it is my first day in the office – I have several catch ups with my team regarding events that are in the pipeline as well as catching up with venues, chasing RSVPs, drawing up seating plans, for the next event.
It is also a chance for me to sit down with the OMG UK agencies, Specialist Services and their teams to run them through the status of events, requirements, as well as supporting on curating the content and making sure that the right people are invited.
Typically, the events we run fall on a Wednesday or Thursday, so these can be two of the busiest days for me and my team. If there is a conference style event happening that week it will be an early start.
I try to get to the venue for a major event at least an hour and a half before the guests arrive to make sure that everything is set up and the tech is up and running. Occasionally I am running around putting out fires (figuratively not literally). Once the guests arrive, it is about making sure that everything is running smoothly, and everyone keeps to time. It is amazing how quickly things can go off script if someone runs over….
If we are not running an event on a Wednesday, we are certainly planning for one. So, my day is usually taken up by site visits, dealing with suppliers, nailing down speakers and crafting invitations with the design team.
Site visits are a hugely important part of the role, as we are always looking for different venues and spaces to hold our events. Earlier this year we held a client dinner on top of Tower Bridge which was amazing but topping that is going to be difficult!
Thursdays are all about feedback. We spend a lot of time after an event ensuring that we capture and collate feedback from everyone that attended, as well as the speakers. We ask for feedback on a number of different areas such as rating the venue, length of session, favourite topic and speaker as well as the catering.
These feedback forms and reporting back are essential, as everyone knows that running the same event repeatedly can become stale, for both the speakers and the audience.
It is also a day for tying up any loose ends and briefing the team for any eventuality that may hit our inboxes.
There is also frequently some sort of social event going on in the evening, so I will be ensuring that everything is prepped for that and making sure that the budget for drinks stretches past 9pm.
Its back to spending time with my children and enjoying the weekend before it all starts again the following Tuesday.
What advice would you give to someone starting a career in the industry?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Also be positive – positivity is infectious and will rub off on your team and colleagues.
By Sarah Colby, Head of Marketing & Events, OMG UK