Audience Precision has had a big year, from success with clients to the release of its proprietary technology platform Precise360.
Jessica Bray, senior strategist and media team lead, spoke to Mediaweek about being a young leader at the agency, the growth of the business post-pandemic, the impact of the talent shortage and Audience Precision’s response, and her outlook for the year ahead.
Bray on her multi-faceted role at the agency
Bray explained that her role covers a wide range of responsibilities at Audience Precision (AP). As a media lead, she manages and leads the day-to-day of the media team covering strategy, channel planning and buying across all offline and online media around the globe.
Bray is also a senior strategist, and with AP’s propriety technology platform Precise360, which streamlines its media process, she can manage the process and outputs of the wider team.
Precise360 also allows her to work in the team and create a range of very effective campaigns in any country in the world from AP’s Crows Nest office.
As part of her role, Bray works closely with partner agencies worldwide to execute media strategies for clients and maintain AP’s global media footprint.
“We have developed partnerships with a network of like-minded independent agencies all around the world who give us localised knowledge of the media landscape for us to input into our strategies. They ultimately carry out the activation of the media buy for us,” she said.
Another important aspect of her role is working with AP’s clients across current and upcoming media campaigns and delivering its four key units: data, research, insights and media.
Bray noted that clients engaged in AP’s holistic offering are assigned a partner from their advisory unit to work with clients at a C-suite level.
“These members of the advisory unit have huge levels of media experience and knowledge. This not only allows for mentoring but the ability for me to run the media unit supported by experienced media guidance of 20 to 30 years in the industry.
“Having these experts beside me in client meetings allows me to confidently run the media team at such a young age and not miss the gap that sometimes only years of experience can fill,” she added.
Bray also shared that she manages the media sales rep relationship, from senior to trading teams. “In this industry, relationship building is crucial. I focus on ensuring that my team treat all our media reps with respect at all times.”
“It comes back to what everyone is generally taught when growing up: treat others how you would like to be treated yourself,” she added.
Bray is also heavily involved in the technology side of AP’s business over the years, from helping in the development stages to testing tools on the platform. She added: “I am the resident expert on our media tools and am always looking for growth opportunities here.”
Developing new avenues of growth post-pandemic
The pandemic has impacted agencies in various ways, and Audience Precision was no exception.
Bray noted that the agency has focused on procuring and maintaining a small number of clients but continued to offer its breadth of services, many of which have a global footprint.
Bray also said the agency looked at ways they could better serve their clients, particularly as client billings across the industry went down during the height of the pandemic.
In 2020, she worked with AP’s CTO Jeremy Cath, formerly of Microsoft and Amazon, to design and code a new product that became the foundation of a new AP unit, the Insights Unit.
“When things went back to normal, I went back into the media team, and the insights unit became a new revenue stream,” she said.
Audience Precision’s response to the industry’s talent shortage
Bray said that AP’s tech stack allows four to six times more productivity increase than other agencies. “This has allowed us to need fewer people to deliver a high output of work for our clients,” she added.
Bray also noted that the agency focuses on mindset and cultural fit during the hiring process.
“This is across all units because we need fewer people to deliver more work. It means the teams are working collaboratively and all the talent and teams to work together well and in harmony, so that’s crucial for us,” she added.
Approaching the development of new and young talent in the industry
When it comes to attracting and fostering the development of new and young talent in the industry, Bray shared that she believes the key is not to silo people.
“We’re able to do this well at AP due to our focus on technology. Because of the efficiencies gained, the one strategist role in my media team does strategy, channel planning and buying across all media types, which typically are separate roles in other agencies.”
Bray noted that focus on technology allows a person in a role to grow and removes the need for talent to jump due to opportunity gaps. She said: “It’s also important to provide tailored growth opportunities and focus on each talent.
“If a talent doesn’t feel like they’re provided with this, it can be hard to retain the talent that you may have been able to attract,” she added.
Bray also noted that another important aspect that significantly contributed to her personal development was “being put in the deep end.”
Bray explained: “The key here is not too deep that you drown, but I’ll never let them drown or sink. I’m giving them enough exposure to the deep end so they don’t lose the drive and thirst for learning new things.
“I also find that it eradicates ego when putting your team in this opportune spot because it establishes an understanding that you always have something to learn. Everyone does, and that doesn’t stop no matter how senior you get,” she added.
The benefits of being part of the IMAA
Audience Precision has been a member of the IMAA since 2021, and there have been many benefits from Bray’s perspective.
Among them is allowing independent agencies the same opportunities and access to the same conversations as the big agencies and its focus on education and learning opportunities such as the upcoming IMAA Academy.
Bray added that the IMAA also has networking opportunities to meet other “like-minded people” from other agencies.
The outlook ahead for Bray and her team
Looking ahead, Bray shared that she is keen on continuing to learn as much as possible about the industry.
“I’m doing an MBA at the end of this year to elevate my business skills,” she said.
“I’m also jumping into Sparrow’s course, the Mediaweek Academy, next year, which I’m excited for. And taking on any learning opportunity that arises and learning from my industry mentors is my main focus for the year ahead,” she added.
See also: Mediaweek Academy adjusts start date
Meanwhile, for her Audience Precision team, client demand will be high up on the agenda next year as the business continues to grow.
Bray added: “I’d say we’re in a strong position at AP, and with the efficiencies, we have through our technology focus, we are well equipped for growth as we stand.”
Top image: Jessica Bray