Forbes Agency Council members work with a diverse set of clients across numerous fields. To share their expertise on everything from marketing to branding and more, we’re profiling Forbes Agency Council members here on the blog. This week: Jenna Gross.
Jenna Gross is the CMO at Moving Targets, a marketing company that specializes in direct mail, Facebook Ads and email promotions. Gross received her BS from East Stroudsburg University and began working in the marketing industry, developing an email marketing service from concept to creation, growing to thousands of clients, handling the sales, design, set-up and data reporting. After that, she managed booking and PR for regional musical acts, securing performances on many national television networks and countless print media.
We asked her four important questions. Her answers are below:
How did your career as an agency executive take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?
It’s difficult to attribute “success” to any one source, and it’s important to acknowledge the impact of others. I’m fortunate to have great colleagues who inspire and motivate me while my own crazy work ethic has opened bigger opportunities. I surround myself with creative and extremely intelligent people who keep me focused on common goals. It creates an energy which drives me to expand my own skill sets, keep expectations high, and be the kind of leader they deserve.
I’m skilled in different areas, but the ability to learn new skills and apply them quickly is the most beneficial. I like to challenge myself and absorb information when collaborating with big dreamers and creators; working with people who make you better yields exponentially greater results than ego being the driving force. We are all poised to learn and improve as long as we remain open to real collaboration and a successful leader embodies that spirit.
To be wholly effective, I need to know the operation from the mailroom to the boardroom and listen not only to the team who know that space intimately but to the customers who entrust us with their business. A team of skilled people willing to work in concert helps make each individual better. I take pride in what I do and truly enjoy helping people succeed above all else. It is a driving force my life as an individual and a professional. My personal investment in others is always returned tenfold.
How do you keep yourself creative and driven regardless of how busy you are day to day?
We make time to have fun and it goes a long way toward keeping the creative juices flowing. Downtime for fun is good for the well-being and morale of our entire staff, which benefits me directly and indirectly. We keep the office stocked with craft beer and nerf darts, and our team members are encouraged to bring their dogs to work. Taking a quick break to engage in nerf battle with coworkers detracts from the effects of stress, breaks mental blocks, and allows us to refocus on the tasks at hand. It also builds rapport between employees, which is invaluable. I find that getting out of my routine keeps things fresh. Time away from the office, working with our marketing consultants on proposals, and off-site appointments help me generate ideas. It helps to know we have a sounding board of those entrusted to keep our focus; open and honest communication is essential. Really, you just need to take a step back and review the results you have created. It actually is a motivator to create even greater success in your next marketing or creative project.
Learning something new every day creates great energy and helps remind me that not every idea is a good one. Also, I’ve given up on trying to be perfect on the first take. When I worry about how things will turn out, it crushes my creativity. I focus on the process instead of the outcome, get a draft together, then review to make changes. I trust our team with the final product, and they trust me to support them as people and teammates.
What do you see as the future of media strategy or advertising?
From the consumer standpoint, your shopping and travel experience will be tailored so that the world around you bends to your likes and interests. This is already happening, to an extent. Push notifications, which can be delivered to a variety of wearables as well as mobile, use exact GPS-information to serve consumers relevant content. When done right, alerts like these can add value to shoppers’ in-store experiences by highlighting sales, deals or items that would have previously gone unnoticed. From a marketing standpoint, we’ll be even better able to ensure the right message meets the right audience. The rolling out of Facebook “Reactions” will soon allow the marketer to analyze not only if the ad is generating leads but how consumers feel about their ad helping to ameliorate propensities for cognitive bias. By pairing creativity and behavioral psychology, backed by analytics on fleek, we’ll be able to further optimize our advertising, strengthening the bond between brand and consumer.
What is your best PR, marketing or advertising tip for businesses?
It’s never just the tip, but rather the sum total of tactics creating the strategy that leads to a successful campaign. Keep evolving and growing. Doing things the way they’ve always been done only works with family recipes. Take a step back, evaluate the motivation behind what you’re doing, and question if there’s a better way. All too often we get complacent in the same routine, so shake it up and keep it fresh, or your sales (and life) will get stale and antiquated.
If there is a tip at all, maybe it is envision your success as a professional. Imagine the results the client will achieve from you and your teams expertise before you get started on anything. Always try to take a unique approach, put words together in a different way, create something that no one else uses so you can stand apart, and be relevant and memorable.