Welcome back to our new series introducing our Strategy team. Last week, we heard from Beth Davenport, Senior Digital Strategist, about the importance of content strategy to your brand story. This week we meet Jen Slemp, Senior Digital Strategist, and learn more about her philosophy of incorporating psychology and consumer research to create focused user personas that can inform your overall strategy.
Hi Jen! Tell us about your experience prior to Mediacurrent.
My passion for marketing and strategy began during a summer internship at Conde Nast Digital. In three short months, I became infatuated with attracting and engaging customers. Prior to Mediacurrent, I worked for Akademos, an education technology company, where I was in charge of consumer marketing and product development. Akademos’ mission is to make college textbooks more affordable for students nationwide. During my time there we doubled our client base and reduced the price of textbooks for millions of students annually.
What is your unique area of expertise?
I like to think that my educational background in Psychology and Consumer Behavior brings a unique perspective to our team. The first step to success in business is knowing who your target audience is. What do they do professionally, where do they live, what is driving their behavior? Getting inside the head of your primary buyer or user personas allows you to reach them more effectively.
From site navigation, to the color of your call to action buttons, to prioritizing and placing content on your homepage, you need to know how to attract and engage your users. Years of research around how things like personality traits correlate to purchasing behavior provided me with knowledge that others in the industry do not have. Buyer personas are central to our approach at Mediacurrent and my expertise in the psyche of consumer behavior offers valuable insight to our clients.
Another key area of expertise for me is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Knowing what users are interested in and what keywords or phrases they’ll use to search, guides our recommendations for content creation and overall SEO strategy.
Why is strategy so important to a client's digital philosophy?
Strategy should guide all business decisions. I truly believe that without strategy, you are just working blindly. Some companies are successful because they have great ideas and work hard, but smart companies take a step back, think logically with personas in mind, prioritize, and create a path that gets them better results in half the time. Strategy helps identify what will bring the most value to your business and your customers. Our discovery process and emphasis on personas allow our clients to “work smarter, not harder.”
What problems do you help solve for Mediacurrent’s customers?
Depending on client needs, we address a variety of problems. For example, our focus for clubWAKA during their re-brand is to create an optimized website design that speaks to all of their users (not just one segment) and to implement an SEO migration strategy to preserve rank during their domain change. At Georgia Tech Professional Education, we are updating the main navigation and organization of every page so that users have a clear path to discover content and convert.
We solve for these issues and many more with our clients, but one overarching issue we consistently solve for is the struggle to get internal approval. Discussions around restructuring the site are not new conversations by the time we come on board. However, many of our clients come to us because these discussions aren’t translating to action -- often due to differences in opinion among key stakeholders. So how do we help? Sometimes all it takes is third-party stepping in and saying the same thing to cut through internal politics and give clients the confidence they need to move forward. However, we believe it is our data-driven and results-oriented approach that ultimately unites the team. We don’t just make recommendations, we back them up with analytics and best practices found from other clients who are experiencing the same issues. We also include clients in the decision process and make ourselves readily available to join stakeholder meetings or discuss our decisions with anyone who has questions. We have seen our research and proof of concept turn some of our biggest critics into dedicated supporters.
What's the best part about strategy at Mediacurrent?
How can I choose! There is so much about strategy at Mediacurrent that I love. For starters, we get the opportunity to work cross-functionally to help our clients and are involved in every step of the process from discovery to build and post-launch analytics. I find this integration of strategy with every department - sales, marketing, design and development - to be extremely unique and exciting.
I also love that strategy is constantly evolving. Everyday at Mediacurrent, I learn something new. We have an incredibly knowledgeable team that stays up-to-date with all the latest trends and stays ahead of the curve to help our clients when it comes to SEO, UX, analytics tools, and more. I could go on and on, but I’ll leave you at that!
What do you do in your personal time?
When I’m not behind a computer, you can find me training for my next athletic event. After growing up playing sports year-round, I found the transition to a sedentary lifestyle to be a hard one. Not only was it difficult to go from working out in a team environment to working out alone in a gym but I felt like my workouts had no purpose. Working out became routine and meditative for me, but something was missing. I wasn’t working towards a goal or objective, I was just exercising - nothing wrong with that, but my competitive nature wanted something more! So I started signing up for races and setting what I thought were unattainable goals for myself -- it started with a few 5ks, but quickly turned into a half marathon, then a full marathon (something I never thought I could or would want to do!). From there I switched gears and started competing in triathlons of all distances (sprint, olympic and half ironman). With winter quickly approaching, I don’t have any races on the horizon, but I’m excited to see what next year brings!