News UK mobile and video head: Think beyond what's possible right now

Milton Elias: the head of mobile and video, News UK
Milton Elias: the head of mobile and video, News UK

Milton Elias looks back on his career to date and shares his lessons from the ladder.

Five years ago, I was one of a lucky few to be featured in Campaign’s Faces to Watch. I thought I was "going places". However, it was the mobile advertising industry that would evolve more quickly than I ever imagined.

With mobile usage and advertising finally reaching a tipping point came new challenges and opportunities, leading me to cross over to the world of publishing at News UK.

As I look back on my career to date, here are a few lessons I have learned.

Force yourself to learn

At the time I was featured in Faces to Watch, I was studying for a master’s degree in marketing in the evenings while working full-time as head of mobile at Starcom Mediavest Group. It was exhausting.

However challenging it may have been, studying was one of the most rewarding experiences I have embarked on, providing me with theoretical insight to tackle clients’ problems from a different angle and a great new group of friends. I even managed to recruit one of those friends as my first hire in the agency’s mobile team.

Prioritise areas of expertise, identify knowledge gaps, book into conferences and training courses (many are free and easily accessible) and carve out the time to attend.

You can't possibly know (or do) it all

And there’s no shame in admitting it. While learning is key to staying on top of an evolving market, you can’t know everything that there is to know. Anyone who tells you otherwise probably knows less than you do.

I once worked with someone who lectured his direct reports about his methods being the best in market, only to later admit he had never  done a media plan and needed to be brought up to speed. We all need a helping hand at some point and it’s best to be frank about it rather than faking it.

Be honest – it’s what generates trust and credibility in you and your work.

Creativity doesn't come without the risk of ridicule

Judging Cannes Mobile Lions last year was a highlight of my career to date. The quality of the winning work from all corners of the globe was fantastic and displayed "out of the box" thinking.

It reminded me that while creative concepts that seem far-fetched often get scrapped by risk-averse stakeholders, the brave ones often succeed.

Try to always think slightly beyond what’s possible right now and nurture "wacky" thinking, as it often leads to creative innovation. 

Accept that your job will change

When I started working in mobile advertising a decade ago, the industry was hardly recognisable to what it is today. Programmatic trading didn’t yet exist at scale. The world’s largest smartphone operating system (Android) hadn’t even been released. Most of the biggest mobile ad networks have since been acquired or disappeared.

In a relatively short time, we’ve had to adapt to ever-evolving digital technology and usage, which naturally led to changes in my job.

Moving to News UK to head its mobile and video ad offering at a time of crucial digital transformation has been equally exciting.

Change is inevitable in our industry – accepting it, adapting and finding creative ways to thrive are key to success as we venture into what comes next.

Milton Elias is the head of mobile and video, News UK. Elias was featured in Campaign's Faces to Watch in 2012.

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