A Digital Perspective: Ben Shepherd, Associate Business Director, Mindshare


Ben has been a deliberate and passionate voice for Australian digital media.

Describe what you do
Work wise, I am an Associate Business Director at Mindshare which basically means I work on digital media projects for our clients – strategy, media planning, media buying, optimization – as well as ensuring that as an agency group internally we’re on top of digital trends and that we are making sure our clients are also across these and how they relate to their business objectives. I work on brands such as Ford, Kraft, iinet and Walt Disney. I also blog on the side – I have the Talking Digital blog with Liam Walsh from Atlas.  Which is a good way to get some thought/opinion out there and also get an idea of what others are thinking.

Best digital memory of 2008

Geez, good question. Best memory – digital or otherwise – was getting engaged to my now fiancée, Eloise … specifically digital … probably going to San Francisco for the Ad:Tech conference over there in April.

Great speakers and some really good discussions about the future of the media side of the business and the commercial side of digital – which I really enjoyed. It also allowed me to meet a whole lot of new people and get access to some really interesting companies. Aside that, just producing quality work … I think the agency produced some fantastic results for our clients and that’s ultimately the reason we go to work in the morning.

What’s the best lesson the industry could learn?

1. To think commercially. Sure, it seems boring and too sensible but long term viability for digital media channels is a reality. I think domestically we need to be smarter and more committed about how we commercialise the medium.

2. Some of those working in the digital world need to stop trashing offline media. It’s a fantastic way to alienate yourself from the rest of the media world … a world we need to work together with, not against.

3. Listen closer to those who actually are active and doing things within digital media – working with brands, publishers, technology companies. Nothing worse than the backseat drivers of digital media – don’t actually participate in the space, just talk about how those who do are doing it wrong.

What’s emerging for 2009?

Mid tail premium content will be more appreciated. Search costs will rise and many will start to consider how to bring incremental sales to clients through search, as opposed to funneling existing eyeballs efficiently. Measurement should get better. The ad market will be tough, competitive and somewhat flat, at least in the first 3 quarters (more predictions here).

What will be big in 2013?

Tough question. I was told back in 1997 that VOD would be mainstream in 18 months and it still hasn’t happened … so it’s an ambitious person who makes predictions about the future of media in 4 years.  Personally I don’t think anything ridiculously earth shattering or revolutionary has happened in the past 4 years – things have just evolved and gotten better – which is probably what’s going to happen in the next 4 years.

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Nathan Bush at 7:21 am

    Great point about trashing traditional media – totally agree. There’s still leverage to be achieved by using both on and offline media eg. the greatest job in the world campaign.

  2. Pingback: Guest post on Jye Smith’s blog « talking digital: liam walsh/ben shepherd
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