Alex Morsy is the Sales Director at Outbrain’s Northern Europe HQ in London.
Outbrain helps over 1 billion people discover content, products, and services that may be of interest to them across the internet by providing a feed management solution to publishers and allowing them to run non-interruptive Discovery & Native Advertising Feeds.
Alex has over 11 years of sales experience, 5 of those years have been specialised in Native Advertising.
Today we caught up with him on all things digital.
Q. Talk us through your professional career to date?
AM: Shortly after finishing college in 2008, I decided to pursue Media Sales wholeheartedly; guided by the simple principle that it would work for me because I enjoyed explaining things to people. By 2010, I found myself at Teddington Studio’s on the banks of the river Thames, working for Haymarket Publishing on PistonHeads.com. My job at Haymarket was to make 70+ cold calls a day to car dealerships and sell classified ad solutions across the Haymarket Autos portfolio. I made some lifelong friends at Haymarket and I’ll always recall those days fondly.
After what felt like an intensive 2-year media crash course at Haymarket I left to pursue more technology orientated parts of the advertising world at Specific Media (the owner of mySpace.com & now Viant Inc). Specific was a digital ad-network and it had a wealth of advanced technology for the time. This job role expanded the breadth of my commercial thinking far beyond the siloed realms of automotive. I became deeply curious about marketing challenges of all shapes and sizes. Despite having a brilliant crew and product, Specific Media was disrupted by Programmatic advertising innovations (DSPs) and I followed the trend a year later, moving on to join a start-up called Affectv; a start-up business providing data-informed, personalised ads. The experience at Affectv got me way closer to advertising technology and its development than is typical because we had a London based engineering team that taught me invaluable things about technology that still serve me today. Thank you, Mo, Glen, Ray & the crew ;).
Towards the end of 2014, I was contacted by Outbrain about a Sales role, and upon the first interview with the HR representative, I knew the company was unique. Fast forward nearly 5.5years and I have progressed through Sales roles and Programmatic Specialisms within the company into Sales Leadership. I now lead the UK Sales function in London which is a job I love and feel blessed to have. Our company remains at the forefront of a fundamental paradigm shift from push to pull advertising and I remain fiercely proud of what we have built and are continuing to build & represent. Viva la Native.
Q. How does your first professional role differ from your current role?
AM: The Sales cycle is far longer now. Back in the days of Haymarket & PistonHeads, you could convince a Car Dealership Manager to sign up within the hour on a good day because the value exchange was instant and the transaction was direct with the client. Nowadays the process is far more fragmented and consultative as we largely work with media agents operating on behalf of brands. We provide strategic insight & recommendations that can take anywhere from 1 week to 1 year to translate into real-world advertising campaigns.
Q. What excites you about digital marketing?
AM: Digital Marketing concerns itself with the behaviour of people and the utility of technology to influence how they might interact with or feel about any given brand. I love behavioural science & psychology and I’m fascinated by the potential of technology; so working in a space that continually develops this dynamic duo is awesome.
Q. Name one thing you would like to see change in digital marketing and why?
AM: I’d like to see more diversity across digital marketing plans and less heavy reliance on one or two major alleged “must-buy channels”. In order to achieve this, vendors need to continue to provide scaled high-quality alternatives, and marketers need to be agile and actively seeking incrementality.
Q. What advice would you offer an outsider who knows little about digital marketing?
1. Listen like a boss. Be insanely curious about every detail and then listen attentively. There are no silly questions.
2. Don’t get engrossed in the jargon. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
3. Keep it real and add value. Perception is a false god. Having integrity and adding quantifiable value will carry you further, and for longer.
Q. Do you think that there are enough materials out there to educate young adults about our industry?
AM: I think it would be unfair to say there isn’t plenty of material available given that we live in the internet age of information. This said the ease of access and impartial clarity of this information is another question. There is lots of room for improvement here.
Q. (Funny) – Our correspondents have heard rumours that you are a big fan of lunches – but what is your favourite restaurant and why?
AM: Fake news continues to be an ongoing challenge in our industry. I actually happen to prefer a good breakfast ;). I do of course enjoy a good lunch too and I’d say Kaspar’s Seafood restaurant at The Savoy is high on that agenda. “The Best of the seas” is a dish you won’t regret.
Finally, we would like to thank Alex for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us earlier today.
If you would like to hear more information on opportunities that exist within digital marketing, then feel free to reach out to Joel.Williams@tencil.co.uk