George Hobday, Head of Digital & Data

For this months A day in the life we sat down with our Head of Digital & Data, George Hobday who gave us insight into his passion for all things data, how our dashboard MIDAS was established and dream brands within the subscription space.

George Hobday, Head of Digital & Data

What led you to a career in media?

Well, as I am not one to beat around the bush, ultimately, I needed a job. But, if we were to rewind back to pre-University days, I was in fact introduced to the industry through an internship with MediaCom which focused heavily on PPC. On reflection, my degree was a tell-tale sign that I was drawn to the world of data. Whilst studying Archaeology and Ancient History, I spent a lot of time using physical data to back up theoretical hypotheses, combining an art form with a science. Like many following their degree, I was unsure exactly what I wanted to do after university. But I had a niggle to continue my development within the media space as I not only knew that I understood the various aspects of the role, but I also enjoyed it which is often half the battle.

What really led me to having a long-standing career in media is my passion for digital media and the results of my work. I get a huge buzz out of knowing my work has not only led to evident positive results, but that it also has had a meaningful impact on the businesses that I have worked for. I find that to be incredibly rewarding.


What is your proudest / most memorable moment at MI?

Wow, 13 years at MI, let me have a think. I suppose one thing that stands out for me is a challenge that I faced and overcame for a client. The client was wanting to integrate both its large management tool and its CRM system. Whilst its internal team had been struggling to create this, I managed to solve the issue. This meant that as an agency we could have full visibility on both our actions on the account and the impact of our work on the client’s internal system. In this case, the account grew and so did the client’s business. Problem solving is something that I thrive from, and I guess it was from this momentous task that saw the creation of my pride and joy…MIDAS.

MIDAS is simply our live reporting dashboard that enables us to monitor delivery versus growth metrics. The dashboard provides more than just reporting, MIDAS’ advanced analysis using machine learning provides insights to guide media budget optimisation. Whilst we feel that MIDAS is the ultimate reporting suite (we may be slightly biased) our data and analytics capabilities go much further. Our data team can align with web developers, CRM teams and other media agencies to enrich clients’ internal data and connect media buying to business outcomes. This is hugely beneficial for reporting purposes as the more information on customer conversion pathways and media touchpoints that we can connect with a client’s CRM, the more insights we can gather to inform future campaigns.


What advice would you give to someone looking to go into the world of digital and data led marketing?

Simply, keep learning. You are never going to know everything that you need to know, so don’t stress or worry about not knowing it all to begin with. Remember to learn from every branch and remember that both soft and technical skills are just as important as each other. Oh, and keep asking questions.


What mistakes have you learnt from the most?

I have learnt from each and every one of my mistakes, and I try not to repeat the same one twice. The best thing about making mistakes is that you can gain multiple learnings from them. I have come to realise that the mistakes you learn the most from, are often the mistakes that are the hardest to fix. Nitty gritty mistakes are sometimes easier to overcome. Actually, it is the ‘people based’ mistakes that provide the best learnings. Whether it’s misreading a client’s wants and needs, or making mistakes with the people you work alongside. In my managerial roles over the years, I have learnt that not all outcomes and approaches suit everyone, as a manager it is vital to find out the various ways that keep the different people on your team on track and engaged.


Do you have a dream client or an ad campaign you particularly love?

A client like Gousto or Mindful Chef would be great to work with. Their business models really appeal to my data scene. The success of their models will be driven by the more insightful data based on the food products suited to consumers. What is also very attractive about these brands is that they can appear in almost all channels. Their chance for growth is only really limited by their ambition.

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