career profile | innovation manager

Innovation Manager, isn’t that a cool title… for an example of seeing an opportunity and jumping on it – Daniel fits the bill. After suggesting a position the company needed, proposing it to management, he was awarded the role. Daniels eye for the big picture, innovation and business knack sees him strive and succeed in his role – moving on and up.

Daniel Perotti, Innovation Manager, New Corp Australia

Brief description of your role:
To be honest, I think I have a pretty great role. I have the freedom to look at the big picture and think about what we can do differently and how, in order to benefit our clients and our business. It’s not about breaking the rules, although sometimes disrupting “business as usual” needs to happen. So it’s about coming up with ideas, or adopting others’ ideas, and working with people across the business to try and get them implemented. I technically work in the Advertising Department, so commercial outcomes are a key goal, however I’ve recently started branching out to work on ideas for other areas of the business.

So… what do you actually do?
6:30pm: Alarm goes off, but I don’t get out of bed for at least another 30 minutes. 7:30 – 8am: catch the bus to work and read my overnight e-newsletters and the paper 8:45am: make coffee with the marketing team (we all put money in to buy beans and have a plunger)… it’s also good to keep contacts up. 9am: try and respond to some work-related emails and share any relevant articles with the wider team that I came across on the bus 10am – 12pm: back to back meetings, usually pulled in for a brainstorm session for a client or to discuss some trade marketing or insights project Sometimes Between 12 and 2pm: try and get to the gym (we conveniently have one in our building), or at least play some foosball or table tennis that’s setup on our floor, and then usually eat lunch at my desk after. 2pm – 5pm: usually another meeting or two on one of the many projects I’m involved in. 5 – 6pm: try and catch up on the day because I’ve only had about 2 hours at my desk! 6pm – 6:30pm: catch the bus home and read some of the longer articles/white papers I haven’t yet had a chance to read 6:30pm – depends on the night, but I’m currently doing an entrepreneur’s course every Thursday from 5:30 – 8:30pm, Tuesday night is indoor soccer and at least once every 2 weeks there’s some work function (internal or external) to attend.

How did you get to your position of being an Innovation Manager?
I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce (major in Marketing & Management) and then decided to do a Master’s Degree in Marketing, both done at Adelaide Uni. I’d been working part time at Target TTP and eventually moved to full time at the State Office in a coordinator type role in the sales/product team. About a year after I graduated I actually got my job at The Advertiser (not through lack of trying), which was helped by the fact I’d done some relevant work experience with a friend’s dad who had a marketing company.

I’ve been at The Advertiser since but have had about 5 different roles, always around insights, marketing, strategy and advertising. I started in a junior market research role, then into Trade Marketing (business to business marketing), both in the Marketing Dept. I then transferred to the Advertising Dept where I held a Business Strategist role within a few of our sales teams, which was to help them with strategies, ideas and insights for their clients.

After that I had a role created for me after I suggested a position the company needed – and of course, that I was their logical choice for it! Last year we went through a major transformation and I was moved into a management role, looking after the team that produced research, insights and proposals for all sales teams. Then about 6 months after that I had another role created for me – my current role – Innovation Manager.

My advice here is that there’s no harm in asking for what you think should happen, or what you think you should be doing. However, it’s worth noting that you need to have a level of credibility to do this – you can’t really ask your boss on day 5 if you can create a new role. And obviously you build this credibility over time by being reliable, on time, accurate, having integrity, etc.

Have you always wanted to work in the media industry?
No, but I do love it now. I actually went into my Bachelor of Commerce intending to do Accounting but after the two first-year accounting courses I thought I’d get bored… Luckily Accounting was only 1 of 5 streams within Commerce, so I switched to Marketing. I didn’t really know where I was going to work or what I’d enjoy, and I applied for positions across all industries, just hoping to land my first job.

So I was probably more relieved that I’d got my first job rather than the fact of which company it was for. But I now really enjoy my job and the industry.

What do you love about your role?
In my particular role I love that I have the freedom to explore new & innovative solutions, for us and for clients. And it’s good working with smart people in the industry on delivering good executions. Of course there are perks working for a media company as well, but that’s really just a bonus.

In your current role, what has been your biggest achievement?
The first project I worked on was to project manage the relaunch of our CBD publication, The City. Working with each department we implemented a new distribution model, a change to the editorial content, a change to the physical product and best of all, results for advertising, print circulation & readership and digital traffic all grew month on month and continue to be higher than before.

There a number of really cool projects I’m working on at the moment, but given the nature of the corporate world, things tend to move a bit slower. Give me 6 months and these should’ve all started and I might’ve spoken about them rather than The City…

Over your career, what has been your ‘love this’ moment?
I think I’m in a ‘love this’ phase at the moment actually. Over the 7 years I’ve been here I’ve always had ideas for our business and for our clients, but I wasn’t in the right role to do anything about it. There was another guy in our business that was in a similar position, albeit slightly more senior. He’s now my boss and the two of us are having a great time developing ideas and actually both being in positions to be able to do something about them. Good thing I wrote down all those ideas over the 7 years because we’ve revisited some of them in our new roles.

What would be the least favourite aspect of your role?
Because of my previous roles here and the experience I’ve gained in systems, processes and knowledge, I’m still asked questions that aren’t relevant to my current role. I’m happy to help out, but it’s often a large chunk of time in total and it takes me away from the larger projects I’m working on.

Probably equal to that is that sometimes this role can be frustrating, either internally not being able to do something because “it’s not the way it’s usually done”, or externally with clients and agencies. But these are just part and parcel of working in media.

Any advice for anyone aspiring to work in the media / marketing industry?
It is fun & rewarding, but it’s busy and can be frustrating. You need to be prepared to do ‘basic’ stuff that you may not enjoy and it might take a while before the right position opens up. And while I’ve stayed with the same company over that 7 years, I know there are plenty of opportunities in media, both in the media companies themselves (like The Advertiser and say Network 10), but also in advertising agencies.

The other big one is networking, particularly in this industry and particularly in SA. I’m sure you’ve heard some variation of “Adelaide is so small”, but it’s so often true and it really does help get things done if you know someone. So get to as many relevant events as you can and introduce yourself.

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