IAB in the News

IABNZ Council Member of the Month - Rhys Heron

Tue, 08 Nov 2016

Each month the IAB profiles a Council Member working hard to proactively define the future of digital advertising. This month we feature Rhys Heron – Managing Director of Mi9, IABNZ Board Member and Vice Chair of the Mobile Advertising Council. Rhys holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University in Australia and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK).


Name: Rhys Heron

IAB Council: Mobile Advertising Council

Involved in the IAB Council since: February 2015

Day job + company: Managing Director, Mi9 NZ

I joined the Council because: I’ve always been passionate about digital and mobile in particular and started working as a mobile product manager in 2007 before leading ninemsn’s (now Nine Digital, Mi9 NZ’s parent) mobile business unit in Australia in 2010-11.  I wanted to give back to the industry by bringing that hopefully useful experience to the IABNZ and put myself forward to join the Mobile Advertising Council, which was accepted.  I’ve been on the Council for the past year-and-a-half.

Recent key projects the Council has accomplished: The Mobile Advertising Council collaborated very closely with Nielsen and IABNZ members in late 2015 to assess demand for the New Zealand Connected Consumers Report which was ultimately published in January this year and provided unprecedented, and previously unavailable, insight into mobile consumer behaviour in this market.

Upcoming projects the Council is currently working on: The Mobile Advertising Council is planning a breakfast with key creative agency staff in early 2017 to better understand the challenges to the development of mobile-specific advertising campaigns in this market so we can develop strategies and work with the industry to reduce barriers to mobile advertising overall, which continues to lag as a percentage of overall digital spend here versus comparable markets such as Australia, the UK and the US.

How many years have you worked in digital? I’ve worked in digital since 2000, when I joined a Melbourne-based Internet Service Provider as a product marketing manager.  Among other things, I was involved in their roll-out of aDSL, which was cutting edge at the time but seems a lifetime ago now!

What excites me about digital? I’ve always been excited by the seemingly endless potential of technology and what can be achieved when this is combined with humans’ insatiable appetite to communicate with each other using the most effective and efficient media at their disposal.  The sharing of knowledge and the reduction of distance that’s possible, and how this can lead to improved opportunity and quality of life for people all over the globe, is what excites me about digital and digital media especially.  We’re really only constrained by our imagination and how far we can push the technology of the day.

What's on your recommended reading list? (Blogs/books) I just finished reading ‘Patton: A Genius for War’ by Carlo D’Este, a biography of America’s brilliant and controversial general of World War Two, and arguably the greatest Allied general of that war.  At 1024 pages it’s not a light read, but it provides amazing insight into a flawed military genius who prepared throughout his career for the role he would play in wartime, culminating in his decisive role in key Allied campaigns of 1942-1945.  For insight into the mind and character of its subject, positive and negative, it’s a biography that’s hard to beat.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self, embarking on a career in digital? Always be prepared to use your initiative, step outside your comfort zone and provide leadership.  It will provide a massive point of differentiation between you and your peers and you need to be providing leadership before your organisation generally recognises you as one.

If I wasn’t working in digital, I would be: Relaxing on a yacht in the Bahamas after sailing half-way around the world!