Nina Jocić’s experiences in sales, in the digital agency, and last three years at Universal McCann, where she works as an Online Media Account Manager and a leader of the Online Team, have shaped a way of thinking which doesn’t recognize the term “impossible”.
Apart from business, she is in love with learning and teaching. Her impressive academic career enabled her to teach at Edward Bernays college and at several other business colleges (Web Marketing Academy, Mapa znanja, Mirakul, and others).
MM: What attracted you to start working in the communications industry? Research shows that young people today avoid working in advertising. They think it’s aggressive and misleading.
Nina Jocić: I was attracted by the psychology – the fact that with a clever approach and a well-shaped message, you can influence the thinking and behavior of the society. This effect can be used in many ways – on the one hand, as a catalyst for positive change and shifting things to the better – to help promising, ethical brands in development and market success. On the other hand, it can be used for negative purposes, for example, manipulation in political campaigns. In my opinion, the responsibility of every individual engaged in advertising or related industries is to choose the purpose and direction to which they will devote their time, knowledge, and effort.
MM: Where did you gain your knowledge of digital?
Nina Jocić: I acquired the first frameworks on a student exchange program in Finland. I had a good start and an introduction with a tremendous spectrum of opportunities at Degordian, and I developed further in Universal McCann in the media aspect. I have to say that I’ve had a plethora of great colleagues along the way, who were willing to answer questions, share knowledge, send links, and lend books. I am very grateful to them. In addition, I believe I have learned the most from practice – through all the complex, unique campaigns which had specific demands. In such situations you are forced to dig through internal tools, expert blogs, portals, newsletters, podcasts, groups (SmartInsights, Jon Loomer, Occam’s Razor Avinasha Kaushika, WARC, HBR, Think with Google, Mashable, TechCrunch, Media Marketing, Digital Advertising, Social media…), ask for advice from client-side colleagues… You learn from the client’s guidelines, from the experience of others, and ultimately from mistakes, where you actually get the most useful knowledge from direct application.
In addition, since we are among the strongest agencies in the region, we work directly with large systems such as Google and Facebook. They often enable us to be among the first to try new products with our clients, and so we come to important knowledge. There is also professional training organized by Google, HURA, other agencies, as well as meetups which are always a good opportunity to hear the thoughts of colleagues from the industry. There are really countless options, and as far as I’m concerned, as long as a person has a healthy attitude, he or she should never stop learning.
MM: What are the advantages of communication on digital channels in comparison to traditional ones?
Nina Jocić: The key advantage of communication on digital channels is the ability to get quick feedback and to adapt to the needs of the user in real-time. Today, we have the ability to use small budgets (sometimes even completely free) through tools such as Google Analytics, heat map, etc. to get extremely valuable insights into the behavior and preferences of our users and to improve results before the end of the campaign or to prevent a negative outcome. Additionally, through attribution models, we can clearly see which channel has played an important role in customer journey, which has led to conversion, but also which one contributed to the conversion, which is unfortunately still not that measurable in traditional channels.
MM: With the advent of smartphones, the average attention span has dropped to just a few seconds. How can we make the best use of such a short time?
Nina Jocić: You need to get to know your target group, you need to research it and learn about it. You need to talk to them. Only when we get to know their preferences and problems, only then we can claim whether they have the patience or not, whether they want some kind of content or not, etc. UM is part of the large IPG Mediabrands group which invests significant resources into quality proprietary tools and research through which we can get to know almost every target group in detail. There are also Gemius and IPSOS Puls, and of course the Google Consumer Barometer, Analytics, and Trends, their Data Studio which does great job in visualization of data… There are ways, you only need time and knowledge.
The fact is that the average attention span has significantly shortened over time, but it’s also a fact that there are still campaigns recording tangible, good results. For example, last year we worked on a native special for FuzeTea on Tportal, which recorded average retention of 6:58 minutes per user. In a world where, according to Microsoft’s research, an average adult can pay attention for 3 minutes, that’s no small feat. But to make such a project, it took a lot of time, effort, and knowledge, both on the client-side, on our side, and on the side of the media. So, it’s not true that something can’t be done. One only needs to be open and willing to go the extra mile. Additionally, if the timing is wrong, all the good messages of this world will not save us.
MM: You are head of the Online Media department at Universal McCann, and its team of 13 people. What does this mean in practice? What is your task in the agency and what does your average workday look like?
Nina Jocić: It means that I work with wonderful people with whom everything is possible. In the selection process, we paid close attention to the team fit, and so we ended up with a closely-knit, motivated, and professional team constantly working on the development and new proposals. My two key tasks in the agency are to provide my team with the conditions to feel comfortable, motivated, and to do the best they can, and to be well co-ordinated, open, and creative with colleagues from other teams with whom we work. On the other hand, my job is also to ensure that client and agency requirements are met, or at least adapted according to sound arguments. Internal satisfaction and collaboration by their nature also draw the best possible service and great results for the clients, and these bring recommendations and new clients.
There is no such thing as an average workday, but there are repeating activities – work on internal processes, strategies, pitches, media negotiations… I often analyze the current state of affairs with my colleagues – where we stand against the set goals, and how can we maximally optimize our campaigns. Then there’s the building of new collaborations, exploring new options, etc.
MM: Is this your dream job, or do you enjoy teaching more?
Nina Jocić: My dream job is exactly what I do – a combination of practical work and transfer of knowledge. In order to be able to provide a quality recommendation on how to improve client’s results or to transfer relevant and verified information to students or colleagues at training, I must be involved in everyday events, work on strategies and campaigns. Given that digital marketing is one of the areas that are changing at an incredibly rapid pace, something that we cite as an example of success today might be a lesson on mistakes in just a month’s time – and that’s why we must never think we’ve learned everything.
MM: How can we conquer the lack of knowledge and the fear which stems from it?
Nina Jocić: Long ago, Marie Curie made a wonderful, timeless statement, which I firmly hold on to: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” I believe that, if there are sufficient knowledge and transparency in a relationship, the trust will develop, through which great campaigns and brilliant results are created with joint forces. Unfortunately, in this industry, it’s the ego that often fuels the desire to leave an impression, not allowing people to openly admit not knowing or not wanting to learn something. This is what pushes us backward. It is up to all of us, regardless of our age or profession, to admit when we don’t know something, to be willing to learn and share our knowledge. I believe that new generations can create an atmosphere in which we will be more open to seek and share knowledge, but also to collaborate more honestly, more transparently, and more successfully.
MM: How do you see the future of digital advertising?
Nina Jocić: With the use of better analyses and data synthesis, more intensive use of predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, the future should give us more time to engage in the creative aspect of the business, while in the short-term these technologies should help us increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of communicating with the users. From a media standpoint, I believe that, apart from the additional increase of the share of digital in overall budgets, there will be a noticeable rise in the share of programmatic in digital budgets. It is possible that this will slightly raise the production costs in the short-term, as the number of devices at our disposal to reach the user at a relevant time has increased significantly. However, in the long-term, this adaptation of communication to already fragmented platforms should result in greater ROAS and ROI, but also with the greater satisfaction of users. In this sense, I expect stronger development of video and native formats that are already in the advanced phase of development but have not reached their culmination yet.
MM: And what about communication in general?
Nina Jocić: Foreign portals announce further intensification of instant messaging – Facebook has already announced the merger of its communications platforms (Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp) so it will be interesting to see where this will drive other market participants.
Voice search is also expected to grow, and audio elements are expected to spread into programmatic. This, by consequence, should also change the way we do SEO, but I would dare say that this trend is still quite far for our region.
MM: What would you advise your peers – to join you in this industry or try to find a better job?
Nina Jocić: I advise them to take the time and try to figure out what they are, what really interests them, and what they love – and to be authentic. If they find themselves in the advertising industry, great – such people usually get excellent results. If not, still good, as long as they are doing something in which they find their passion and purpose. It might be a cliché, but doesn’t mean it’s not true – there’s no better job than the one you sincerely love because only in such a job you won’t blame others for your own failures, but only yourself.
MM: Do you have any free time, and how do you enjoy spending it?
Nina Jocić: It depends on the period, but I try to live in balance. I invest a lot of time in preparing lectures for courses at Bernays and for modules at the Web Marketing Academy, Mapa znanja, and other schools, but I really enjoy it. There are always new interesting cases and different ways of transferring knowledge which students appreciate, so it’s never “wasted time”. Besides that, I try to set aside the time for people I love, preferably in combination with food, travel, nature, and/or sport. Running, jogging and hiking are my current favorites. After I blow out some steam, I like to read a good book.
The original is published HERE.