The Fishbowl: Nat Poulter, BBC Studios
The Media Leader’s interview series asks the media industry’s top salespeople revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.
This week is Nat Poulter, vice-president of digital commercial at BBC Studios.
Nat Poulter started his career in the John Lewis Leadership Program before working in programmatic at Mail Metro Media and parent company DMGT between 2013 and 2017.
He spent more than six years at Jungle Creations, a media, marketing and commerce business, before becoming BBC Studios first VP of digital commercial earlier this year.
Who’s the best media salesperson you know (other than yourself)?
A shoutout to Rob Bradley, senior vice-president for digital revenue, strategy and operations at Warner Discovery for writing the commercial playbook for digital from day one.
What’s the bravest thing you have ever done?
Last week I woke up bright and early to let the dog out for a wee. Five minutes later the dog came flying back into the house, but this time was chasing a squirrel.
As you can imagine, absolute mayhem ensued. I stood up to the plate and managed to catch it with a tea towel and successfully set it free. That’s probably up there in terms of the bravest things….
What’s your favourite ad of all-time (specific to your sector)?
My favourite is a piece of branded content work, The Wild by Jungle Creations, produced and distributed back in 2017 for Yoti, a digital-identity technology. I’d probably say it defined the social branded video category and rightfully picked up a Cannes Lion in doing so!
What is one important skill that you think everyone should have?
It’s fair to say that the world is becoming more polarised. I’m sure there are a host of contributing factors, but I feel like all too often so many of us are too steadfast in our way of thinking.
We are too quick to put our point of view across without actively listening and trying to understand the other person’s point of view or experience. The most important skill that everyone should have is the ability to debate and amicably disagree. The world would be a better place for it.
**Peer question** Would you recommend your son, daughter, or another young person in your life to get a job in media and why?
100%. I love this industry and feel so lucky to be a part of it. There is so much more we need to do to reduce barriers to entry and encourage people from growing communities to join us.
This said I do think, given the pace of change in this industry, there is always significant opportunity which can play into the hands of those with energy, enthusiasm, and new ideas.
**Question from Clare Turner, sales director at Pearl & Dean.
If you could learn any new skill from scratch, what would it be?
With a young daughter, the idea of having free time is unfathomable but in this hypothetical world, I’d love to take my love of all things plants and gardening to new heights and get into bonsai. I feel like it’s a skill that combines nature and art to tick all those mindfulness boxes.
**Peer question** What would you tell your younger self about if you could?
Don’t stress the little things!
** Question from Richard Bon, managing director and Europe commercial lead for Clear Channel UK
Has selling media become easier or harder?
The playbook for media businesses has changed. Reach and scale no longer rules supreme, and community is the new currency.
The problem is these communities are spending time across an ever-increasing number of fractured distribution channels. The speed at which the pendulum has swung has been astonishing and in a very short space of time, a salesperson has had to bolster their understanding of digital product, data, and audience to deliver the consultative sale that’s needed.
Selling media has certainly become harder in my opinion but I’d argue, conversely, that buying media in the new digital world has become easier.
Describe three qualities that make a brilliant salesperson.
Energy, empathy, (dogged) enthusiasm.
**Peer question** If you won £10M on the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?
Time is the most valuable of all assets — a fact that is only becoming clearer as the passing of time seems to speed up with every year, I grow older.
If I won £10m, I’d book a big, all-expenses-paid holiday to a Greek island with all my friends and family so we can spend lots of time making memories.
** Question from Ryan Rummery, commercial Dax director at Global.
Read more Fishbowl interviews here and see what media’s top salespeople say about working in the industry and what concerns their clients. To suggest an interviewee, contact email@example.com.