Having recently celebrated her 15th anniversary at Clear Channel, we thought we’d take advantage of Sue Penney’s wealth of experience, and pulled her aside to chat about all the changes she’s seen take place in the Out of Home industry over the years, as well as her time at Clear Channel and what’s kept her here for 15 years.
“I think the easiest way to describe how Sales Support sits within the company is that our job is to connect all the dots,” Sue begins. “We work closely with the Sales team, but once something is sold it’s our job to make sure it all actually happens. We process the bookings and run various checks up to the point of posting. In a way, a whole campaign from initial sale to posting is a chain process, and we’re an important part of the machine that helps campaigns run smoothly. Our team is sometimes referred to as the encyclopaedia of the company, simply because we have a wide knowledge of all current and past campaigns and their booking process.”
As a Group Head of the Sales Support Team, Sue explains that there’s never really a normal day-to-day.
“There are regular repetitive tasks we work on, but really it’s great because each day is different. One of my favourite parts of the job is that I’m learning every day. With digital Out of Home progressing at such a speed, and new systems and processes being implemented all the time, despite being in the role for a while, I’m still constantly learning and adapting with the team. That doesn’t mean though that the basics aren’t still needed. Things like numeracy, being able to articulate clearly, and simple common sense are still hugely important.”
Touching on the evolution of digital Out of Home and new processes, we asked Sue how her job had changed since she started in the industry.
“Well, when I started it was still only paper and paste, and Adshel and roadside billboards were held by separate companies. I actually started when I was quite young and worked for a market research company, before moving on to a specialist, and then Clear Channel. Back then, things weren’t as quick-fire as they are now – we didn’t have email and only ran standard paper and paste two week cycles. Of course, we still run those now with our Classic portfolio, but now with the advent of digital it’s become very much a 24/7 job. The good thing is now we can be much more flexible with our campaigns, but it means that the team now have a bigger responsibility to turn things around quicker.”
Now celebrating her 15th year at the company, we thought we’d ask Sue about how the company culture has evolved at Clear Channel, in light of the introduction of things such as the Fairness value.
“Clear Channel has always been a great place to work, and it’s improved that balance of being professional but also a really fun place to work. The company certainly looks after all its employees and treats them fairly, and I think even little things like introducing hot-desking shows an openness and trust that you might not get elsewhere. We’re lucky because there’s lots of interaction with senior staff, and I never feel like I can’t talk or express my opinion – it’s just a really good culture!”
Sue goes on to talk about how the Out of Home industry as a whole is really fun, as well as always adapting and thinking about the future.
“Funnily enough, I’ve seen lots of different things go in and out of fashion within in the industry in my time, so I think it’s really hard to say what the future of the industry will look like” Sue says. “It’s changed so much, and I think it won’t just stop with digital; the industry will be constantly evolving and changing. There may be certain tricky elements to it, such as we may have to be monitoring more of what ads go up and where, but at the same time it’s exciting to see the good things like environmental steps being taken by companies and the increase of automation taking steps to remove human errors.”
“Part of me thinks there will always be that human element to this industry though – one of my favourite parts about my role is that it is a “doing” role, and it’s great to have that satisfaction of seeing a campaign that you’ve helped set up and process run smoothly and successfully.”