Taz Papoulias joined Murmur Group in February as head of media.
Papoulias joined the independent agency, having previously worked amongst key industry agencies, Neil Patel Digital and most recently at True Sydney as its head of media and strategy.
Papoulias spoke to Mediaweek about his start in the media industry, why he joined the agency, his current projects and his outlook for Murmur in the year ahead.
Getting started in the media industry
Papoulias recalled his first taste of the media and advertising industry through his father, who brought home ad mock-ups in the old SMH broadsheet paper.
“This was 25 years ago, and I found it fascinating. We would rearrange the images and words and discuss what we thought customers would find more interesting and make them come into our family business,” he recalled.
After finishing high school, he jumped straight into advertising at Yellow Pages and, from there, realised his natural knack for all forms of advertising and marketing.
“Throughout my career, I have headed up divisions (or new products) for Fairfax, Time Out Sydney, NewsCorp, and Nova 969, as well as running my own award-winning agency,” he added.
Papoulias on joining Murmur Group
Papoulias joined Murmur Group earlier this year and shared that he had been searching for the right role with the right agency for some time but found that agencies can be stuck in their ways – leading to high staff and client churn.
The independent agency approached him because of his background in growing agencies and clients.
“It was very attractive (and rare) to find an employer who trusts you 100% to build a company (& clients) based on your own personal experience,” he said.
“It’s been six months since I started, and we have seen significant growth and have had amazing results with current campaigns,” Papoulias added.
Papoulias on his current projects
Papoulias revealed he is currently working on two books: Marketing without Money, which he has described as based on proven techniques he has used in his own business and for other clients to generate their first $ 1 million in revenue with little spend.
The other book in the making is Why Agencies Don’t Grow, based on Papoulias’ experience of running and launching agencies (and divisions) over the last 20 years.
Papoulias also noted that the book would look at why agencies and divisions can fail and the work he did to prevent failure, backed up with working models on how to manage staff, partnerships, clients and so on.
Industry challenges and how Papoulias believes they can be solved
For Papoulias, he noted several industry challenges on his mind, among them how agencies manage time and bill time.
“Some bill on media spends some flat retainer, some hourly rate. They are also all track time differently, and it rarely syncs with their revenue & billing strategies.
Papoulias explained that this translates to a mixture of issues regarding how you manage account managers’ capacity and how much time the ops team spend on an account. He shared that he built a model that reduces the need to time track and simplifies capacity and forward planning for all agency divisions.
“This may not work for others as most agencies are hell-bent on tracking every single minute-yet they like to bill on a % of media. E.g., in the course of a year, a typical worker averages 30 hours a week (after holidays, leave etc.).
“Knowing this, you can analyse how much time is required from various internal stakeholders to manage a client with a $100k; media spend vs a $10mill media spend,” he said.
Outlook for Murmur Group in the year ahead
Looking at Murmur Group’s outlook ahead, Papoulias said the focus would be on “Growth, growth and more growth.”
“Currently, I am hiring for multiple roles and planning the rollout of additional services. One key area of growth, I believe, is in Enterprise SEO.
“I had the privilege of launching the world’s largest SEO company in Australia several years ago and found a huge gap in high-end SEO. The biggest issue is big brands not understanding the key difference between regular SEO and enterprise SEO ESEO),” Papoulias added.
Top image: Taz Papoulias