Marketing And Media Matters

Issue 103

Stacey Penrose - Owner, Race Marketing

Did you always envisage a career in the media?

In some form, yes—journalism piqued my interest first, and choosing Media Studies as a GCSE option confirmed that this was the industry for me. There was a brief period when I considered pursuing a career in Law, but the realisation of many years of study put paid to that!

What has been your career path so far?

Sky provided me with an incredible launchpad for my career. I learned my craft working alongside the giants of the Sky channels and specifically across joint venture channels such as National Geographic and The History Channel. In addition to media, I had the opportunity to explore different aspects of the industry such as programming, licensing, and one of my passions— sponsorship. My time at Sky was a highlight of my life, both professionally and socially.

Discovery Networks was my next stop, responsible for generating cross-media income against their varied channel portfolio. The close relationship between all elements of the business was something I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the intricacies of a global business.

Disney was my subsequent stop as Pan European Media Manager, where leading a sales team to achieve high stakes targets across 33 countries was a pivotal chapter in my career, one that I look back on with pride.

Always eager for a challenge, I decided to hop over the media owner fence and joined the agency world. Being closer to the clients and fostering relationships with them really resonated with me, and I’ve never really looked back. Moving back to my beloved North Yorkshire and launching Race felt like a logical step on my journey. I feel privileged to be a part of a brand’s success, whether that be a global brand or an independent start-up.

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?

The pressure of managing a team responsible for delivering high budget targets during challenging economic times was, at times, intense, but I’ve always been incredibly lucky with the colleagues I have worked with.

Need I say more about 2020? Very tricky times indeed.

Also, we often have to deal with a rather negative perception of marketing—that it is a ‘nice to have,’ ‘the fluffy stuff,’ or just ‘a few social media posts’ when, in reality, a well-executed marketing strategy is transformative for any brand.

Who do you respect most in your industry?

There are several names that spring to mind but two people who deserve a special mention are advertising guru Eddie Lloyd Barnes (aka the nicest man in media) and my current business partner, Nicole Bilham.

More than anything, though, the independent business owners who take that leap and juggle the many pressures that come with owning a business are truly inspiring to me.

What is your greatest strength/weakness?

I think these are interlinked. I care—deeply—about the brands I work with, and while this passion can sometimes lead to overcommitment, it fosters wonderful results. My career so far has demonstrated a keen commercial acumen with the ability to identify and seize opportunities.

Does a caramel latte and a cookie count as a weakness? Hopefully not.

What has been your proudest achievement?

Without a doubt, my children. Creating a successful business that allows me to be present for family life is gold dust to me. On a professional level, Nicole and I have recently launched a marketing foundation course designed to empower business owners to successfully run their own marketing with confidence at a time when outsourcing often isn’t viable. The feedback from our first couple of events has really touched us—knowing that we are having a positive impact on so many brands is a huge source of pride.

What are your future career aspirations?

Continuing to shine a light on more brands alongside growing our training academy to empower as many entrepreneurs as possible.

How do you see your industry evolving in the next 10 years?

Over the next decade, I anticipate significant shifts in the media landscape driven by advancements in technology, changing consumer behaviours, and societal trends. Personalised content experiences, immersive storytelling, and the integration of AI and data analytics will continue to reshape how brands engage with audiences. Also, I foresee a greater emphasis on sustainability and ethical practices, as consumers increasingly demand transparency and accountability from media entities.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Ah, hindsight! Trust your instincts and be open to unexpected opportunities.

How do you like to unwind?

I am beyond lucky to have the Yorkshire Dales as my backyard and spend many an hour walking my little lurcher, Ted, while listening to a podcast.

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