14 December 2016

24 Hours With… Tim Penton, Head of Media at Global Red

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5:30am: My alarm sounds and I jolt out of bed. I quickly put my contact lenses in, chuck my wetsuit on and I’m ready to brave the icy waters down at Bondi Beach. Yes. I know, I’m the quintessential Brit that lives in Bondi.


I head down to the sand carrying my wife Alex’s red foam board – I got rid of my old 8ft board in favour of her smaller one. I’ve been surfing for approximately 3 years now, but still classify myself as a beginner. My morning solo surf sessions are paying off though, and soon I’ll be able to graduate to a 6ft board without the hassle.


I try to surf every single morning. It’s my time to clear my head, and is the only time I can focus on the process and a single thought, forgetting about life’s distractions. It’s all about catching the next wave and nothing else.



7:00am I run the 200m from the beach back home soaking wet with my board in hand. As I walk through the front door, I’m the model of morning efficiency. It’s straight to the kitchen, where I have conveniently prepared my breakfasts for the week; a staple of minced beef and onions, its filling, healthy, easy to prepare and high in protein. The minced beef and onions is also my mother’s recipe. I boil some water and have two eggs poaching on the stove while I rush to shower, shave and start my morning.


I make my morning coffee, my daily (and only) dose of caffeine.


As I sit down and eat, I switch on ABC news while checking my emails. When it comes to campaign optimisation, I am sure our advertising operations team never sleeps as I open a flurry of emails sent through overnight.


They have been busy redirecting media spend for one of our core fitness clients to maximise performance. I can already see the move to push additional spend behind display, and in-banner video is working wonders. I make a mental-note to present the optimised data and results to the client today.


My wife, Alex is a freelance makeup artist. Her job takes her all-over Sydney (usually at strange hours) which means I usually miss her for breakfast in the morning. Today is no exception as she’s long gone to do makeup for The Wiggles.



7:30am I leave the house, walking straight out the door and up the hill to catch the bus to Global Red HQ. The 40-minute bus ride is reserved for daddy-preparation as Alex and I have a baby on the way. With Alex’s family in NZ and mine in the UK, we don’t have the family support network here in Australia so I listen to podcasts to help us prepare. My current favourite series is ‘Pregtastic’ and I’m listening regularly and really enjoying it.


As I listen to today’s podcast, I jot down a few notes: ‘What is a Doula? Should we get one?’ The idea of a massage therapist there during the labour to nurture Alex through the birth process is awesome, and something we will definitely add to the agenda to discuss in between prams, babies and nappy conversations.


8:10am I walk into the Global Red office on Castlereagh Street in the city. I’m usually one of the first in, and today is no exception. Us early-ish starters have a bit of morning chatter and banter before the rest of the team gets in and work officially kicks off.


I log into my computer, check my emails again and use my trusty Excel spreadsheet to-do list to scan through tasks and prioritise what needs to be completed for the day. The morning workload is reserved for running through the WIP reports for our current clients.


I can also see I’m likely to be knee-deep in numbers and data for most of the day; performance in our campaigns are paramount and one of the frequent challenges in my role involves justifying each and every piece of data and spend.


Fortunately, our campaigns tend to speak for themselves and are optimisable and measurable, but often there is an education process involved for our clients.


9:00am One of our relatively new clients, a large financial institution, has just kicked off a new campaign and we are three weeks into the activity. The first three weeks of every campaign are about calculated guesses. We’ve set controls, determined audiences and have ramped up the spend.


Week three, and it’s now about further optimisation. The report is deep, consisting of data analysed across all five channels; display, social, pre-roll video, in-banner video and native activity.


For this client, I can see the campaign isn’t performing as well as usual when it comes to in-banner video, this is an area which usually delivers significant ROI, results and attribution for the finance industry.


I delve further into this myself to gauge a better understanding of higher performing channels and make the call, with feedback from the team, to redirect this spend into the social channel, which is off the charts with positive impressions for this campaign!


With these adjustments made, the campaign is looking strong and now can convert to stronger acquisitions. I nod in satisfaction; on to ride the next wave!


Me and early lunch advisor Mark Rodda

11:30am: My colleague Mark Rodda, a solutions consultant for Global Red, looks over at me, every day at the same time almost to the minute to grab my attention. One of those ‘early eater’ types, he tries his hardest to lure me out of the office for lunch. I decline, still full from my hearty breakfast and tell him I’ll eat later.


I wander over to the kitchen and pour myself a cup of boiling water to sip on. There are probably some health benefits to the boiling water but that’s not my main reason for it being my drink of choice, I’m just not a fan of cold/room temperature water, and not a big caffeine drinker either. You’ve got to keep your fluids up somehow right?


I continue working on a proposal I’m presenting this afternoon. I’m designing a media dashboard for all channels across multiple countries, for a major global electronics client. The media dashboard will allow them to monitor, measure and report on their activity across a range of different channels and suppliers, through one single interface.


Measuring the same conversion more than once through different channels is why we monitor the digital campaigns so closely; over measuring does more harm than good and completely skews the overall results.


Using deduped conversion data is the way to go, this concept is one key area that pops up with new clients as most companies want to introduce this measurement process. The media dashboard will solve this problem, as we can track the results in real time. It’s something we are building for the client, but the template could be rolled out as a product for everyone.


1:00pm I duck out of the office for lunch and head to Pablo & Rusty’s. I order a 12-hour slow cooked lamb salad, filled with stunning Eastern European tidbits that I can’t even pronounce, let alone spell.


While I eat, I log into ‘Words with Friends’. I might not be the best player, but I’m currently dominating six out of seven games.


I play with a massive mix of people across the world including several members of Alex’s family in New Zealand and funnily enough, I’m also playing back-to-back games with a lady I met by chance on a plane two years ago. Little do the other patrons know that my constant tapping on the phone and pensive stare is really due to Words With Friends, and not some super-important email.


2:30pm It’s time to head to my first meeting of the afternoon. My sales team have set up an initial meeting with a new company within the retail sector. I sit down with this prospective client and delve further into their current digital marketing strategy and how they are utilising and tracking their media buy.


I often find this conversation leaves people in two stark categories – they are open to understanding and analysing their data and true acquisitions, or they don’t want to shine a light on their current strategy for fear of making results look worse.


In this case, it’s fortunately the former, and we can have a frank discussion on the path forward. We need to put together more information, as well as talk through their objectives for a loyalty program in more detail, but I’m confident we will have a great relationship moving forward and will be able to achieve solid ROI for their business.


I’m catching waves, left, right and centre.


4:00pm Back at the office, hot cup of water in hand, Haylee our media coordinator, and I are reviewing the media spend for one of our clients. Before we can even start to talk about moving dollars around, the banter starts and, no shrinking violet, Haylee gives as good as she gets.


My facial hair for Movember provides significant material for Haylee, the dodgy moustache growth denotes a striking resemblance to a serial killer apparently, which means the punchlines are endless. And she has also decided I look like Nigel Thornberry; smashing…



My response is a bit coarse, and we hear a little giggle from next to us. Michelle, our marketing manager is listening in. She says: “Tim. You only get away with saying what you do because of your English accent.” I smile. She’s probably right.


5:00pm I leave the office. While the morning bus trip is baby focused, in the evening I tend to use the travel to relax. It’s a nice evening outside, so I check out the Surf Stitch app which films the surf from a camera stationed on Bondi Beach.  The waves aren’t great tonight, so instead of heading out, I step off the bus and grab ingredients to cook a roast (for the third time this week).


5:45pm There’s only a certain amount of meals you can eat in your life, and I’m a firm believer of never eating boring or bad food. I whip everything up from scratch and usually enjoy being the chef of our house. Alex arrives home from a massive day just before dinner is ready. She smiles when she sees it is a roast, again.


The weather is getting warmer so Alex and I eat on the balcony, making the most of the last bits of sunshine for the day. As we eat, we talk about the Doula. Alex is open to the thought of a massage during labour, so we decide to go ahead and book one for the birth.


It’s getting closer now, so our practical lists of appointments and to-do’s are ever growing. The idea of the magical Doula couldn’t have come sooner, with baby Penton due in March, the onslaught of third trimester back, neck and shoulder pain has kicked in. Alex has surprised me with a gin advent calendar, I’m devastated I can’t share this with her, tis’ the season to be jolly….


8:30pm It’s time to turn on the TV, relax and unwind for the evening. I do all of my serious thinking during the day, so I think we can afford some questionable choices in television. Alex and I begin debating, Alex finally winning and picking Ex On the Beach. Not my personal favourite; it’s no Game of Thrones or Stranger Things, but you do these things for the one you love, don’t you?



9:30pm More of a morning person than a night owl, it’s time for bed. Before I go to sleep I flick through my emails, we have a range of clients in Singapore and I prefer to go to bed with a clear mind, knowing I’ve acknowledged any requests or put out any spot-fires before shutting off for the evening.


Fortunately, tonight it’s just correspondence and general email traffic. More numbers, reporting and elements to analyse. It’s nothing super urgent and there’s nothing alarming, but I know if I read it before bed, my mind will think about it throughout the night and I will be well and truly ready to face the day tomorrow.


I start to drift off… As I fall asleep, I imagine myself standing tall and proud, on a podium waving to a cheering crowd. Yes! I’ve just taken out the trophy at Pipeline Masters for the best wave…


Where will the surf and tide take me tomorrow? Time will only tell.


*Part of Mumbrella's '24 Hours With' Series