How Alan Scurfield Got Ahead

I am a glass half full person, I dont do worst. Maybe I have just been lucky but I enjoyed them all at the time (otherwise I moved on) and learned something of lasting value from each.

Alan%20Scurfield%2C%20Ten%20NineName: Alan Scurfield
Company: Ten Nine
Job title: Managing Partner

What made you want to get into marketing?

The desire to use my brain in a creative way whilst being well paid for doing so.

How did you get into the industry ( including relevant qualifications and professional training)?

I was an idealist and a rebel with just three GCE’s but maybe a winning way about me. I joined a design studio as a dogs body, listened hard and took chances and changes of direction as they came along. I took a science degree as a mature student, from pure interest in the subject.

What was good and bad about your first job?

They listened to my ideas and used some of them, which is a great thing when you are starting out. I had to run errands, make tea and literally, sweep the floor but they had all mostly started the same way.

List your jobs to date:

I have enjoyed a long career but a few jobs stand out in the memory:

Walter Hill & Co – My first job in outdoor as Account Exec to Joe Sims, a legend in the industry and it was great training.

British Posters – Operations Manager managing the portfolio of most of the then major outdoor media owners, who were uneasy allies!

Harrison Salinson and Co – Founding Partner, account management, planning and buying roles to meet the growing needs of the business.

Portland Outdoor –Buying Strategy Director then Group Account Director, running a business group including COI.

Ten Nine – Founding Partner, back to sweeping the floor if it needs it, and developing the company as a leading teenage media vehicle.

What were the best and worst, and why?
I am a “glass half full” person, I don’t do worst. Maybe I have just been lucky but I enjoyed them all at the time (otherwise I moved on) and learned something of lasting value from each.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?
David Harrison when I was at Harrison Salinson was probably the cleverest person that I have worked with. The soft voice with a mind like cut glass is a combination I can only aspire to.

Who in the industry do you most admire?
There are many people that I admire but now I am building my own business again I particularly admire the people who say, “I think I can do it better than it is currently being done” and who are prepared to leave their comfort zone to do it. My current heroes would be Simon Timlett of Trinity and Mike Colling of MC&Co , both of whom have these qualities.

What is your biggest achievement to date?
Two children of whom I am very proud, a cliché but true none the less. In business being a founder of Harrison Salinson (now Posterscope) and Ten Nine, gives me some satisfaction, but I will defer summing up my career until I have had enough of it !

On what do you base your success so far?
Being prepared to back my judgement and being prepared to take personal risks when I believe in a project…….oh and a big dollop of luck !

What are your ambitions?
To help more people to see what I can see about Ten Nine and to make it fly higher. To keep both my marbles and my momentum into a surprisingly old age.

Change one thing about your job:
It would be good to cut some of the mechanical work and the admin, necessary though it is. At heart I am an ideas person and I enjoy talking to people. No one quite tells your companies story like you can.

Change one thing about your industry:
It would be good to get some of those people off auto-pilot .

Change one thing about the world:
At the risk of sounding like a contestant in a beauty pageant, world peace would be a great starting point.

What is your favourite brand?
John Lewis/Waitrose, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 live for football, Guardian, Foyles.

What is the next big brand in your view?
It will all be about the concept of the responsible consumer. Cars will be smaller and more efficient, food will be ethically and sensitively produced and the personal carbon footprint will be seen as a personality trait. Yes, I am saying that green will be the new black.

List your “media diet”:
I rail commute and read a lot of books, but I often read the Guardian. I listen to the Today program on BBC radio 4 in the morning and BBC radio 5 Live when there is football on. I cannot help looking at outdoor advertising everywhere, it’s a longtime habit. I also read the trade press, content from many, many websites and government reports in doing my job. I watch TV but I am only loyal to news coverage, again mostly BBC.

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