As you know, Mediacurrent's mission is: "We help organizations build highly impactful, elegantly designed Drupal websites that achieve the strategic results they need." What you may not know is that a big part of accomplishing those goals is the growth of our strategy and design teams. Over the next few weeks, we're going to introduce you to those team members, their areas of expertise and their philosophy when working with customers. First up, we introduce you to Senior Digital Strategist, Beth Davenport.
Hi Beth! Tell us about your experience prior to Mediacurrent?
My job immediately preceding Mediacurrent was running the digital/online learning department for the Omega Institute, a 39-year old, non-profit, holistic learning center. While there, we launched an enterprize live stream, online learning platform where we delivered live and on-demand programming for tens of thousands of people around the world. Our programming included a diverse range of speakers from former president Bill Clinton to Buddhist teacher and author Pema Chödrön.
Before working at Omega, I worked in New York City at a non-profit, social issue documentary company Arts Engine/Big Mouth Productions. While there I directed and produced films for television, oversaw the Media That Matters film Festival, the first short format online film festival, and ran online audience engagement campaigns that put our films to work helping to create social change.
What is your unique area of expertise?
Unique area of expertise, ay? Although I’d like to consider myself a Jack (or Jill) of all trades, my sweet spot tends to fall in the areas of brand and content strategy. I like to think of this as brand storytelling. From back in the day when we were creating websites and apps for documentaries to inspire people to take action on social issues to working with our Mediacurrent clients now, user experience and brand storytelling have been central to my digital strategy approach. I believe in a data-driven philosophy and encourage all of our clients to consider user personas, content audits, user testing, and metrics to create goal driven sites that deliver on ROI.
Why is strategy so important to a client's digital philosophy?
Well, to build on the previous question, I think it is very easy for any client building a site to think they know exactly what their users want and need. I learned from first hand experience that it’s very easy to get caught up in your own brand strategy, language, and, well, opinions. By taking some time to dive into research, look at data, and by adopting a user-centric approach we can step out of our own theories and create something truly based on the user. It’s sounds so simple here, now, as I say this but honestly, it takes a shift in mindset but when this shift happens, we see incredible results. For example, we recently worked with Care Action! to improve their site’s user experience to better connect with their desired audiences. Through our discovery process, we gather valuable user research taking our user personas from a content audit all the way to annotated wireframes to show conversion paths. The work we did together translated to a marked increase in their UX site speed, improved experience on mobile and tablet devices to capitalize on the more than 25% of overall traffic previously ignored and improving bounce rates to less than half of the industry average.
What's the best part about strategy at Mediacurrent?
I truly love the diversity of clients and projects we work on. In one day, I can be working with a medical malpractice insurance company, an advocacy nonprofit, and a university. Having a big picture view of multiple sectors, allows for us to identify both unique needs and universal digital trends. For example, many nonprofits are working to hone their online donation strategy. Although online donations are somewhat unique to nonprofits, this conversion path can draw on strategies that larger enterprise companies use - like marketing automation. Many nonprofits think that marketing automation is “too expensive” or too difficult to implement but there are ways to get any organization started with the right building blocks to increase their conversion success. At the same time, I think many nonprofits have an emotional, impact driven content strategy that corporate clients can learn from. This cross-pollination brings a wide perspective to the work that we do and I love the idea that through Mediacurrent these sectors are learning from each other.
So, what do you do outside of work, Beth?
After living in New York City for 15 years I had to head for the hills. I now live in New York’s Hudson Valley an amazingly beautiful place. When I moved here 5 years ago, I began hiking in the Catskills, Adirondacks, and even the White Mountains in New Hampshire. I guess I fell in love with it because this past May, I climbed Mt. Rainier! It was an amazing experience and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a little bit of mountaineering training and a whole lot of adventure.
Caption: Overlooking crevasses on Mt. Rainier.
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