Innovation comes when you’re tackling an issue people struggle with and providing a new solution, using out of the box thinkingJodi DeMassa
Jodi owns Optimum AdVantage which seeks to help small business owners with their marketing functions. She had the chance to travel to ALL 50 states in the US and Canada. This contributed significantly to her having a positive worldview as well as learning about different cultures. Now, she lets us is on this virtual journey for Women In Marketing
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born in the Silicon Valley, in the southern San Francisco Bay Area. My fondest memories consisted of lots of road trips. As a child, I would always go to see our family in Southern California. However, when I turned 10 years old my dad wanted us to expand our horizons. He wanted us to travel outside of California to learn about other cultures and lifestyles. He also wanted us to meet more family. As a result, we ended up taking multiple cross-country trips.
By high school, I travelled to all 50 states in the US, all of Canada, and most of Western Europe. I learned a great deal about rural, suburban, and urban cities through the first-hand experience. Everything we had learned in school was right in front of me. The experience made me look at new perspectives. It opened my eyes to the reality that people were living in, outside of my bubble. It made me challenge my beliefs and go out of my comfort zone.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
Unfortunately, my attempt to become a clarinet star didn’t work out haha. My hidden talent is holding a spoon on my nose!
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I know it’s odd, but I wouldn’t want to buy a large house with that $10 million. It’s because I like to go out for most of the day. I would probably buy a yacht or private jet and save the rest.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
It’s got to be SHRIMP DUMPLINGS! 🥟🦐
WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD OF MARKETING? WHAT PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME PUSHED YOU TO PURSUE THIS CAREER? AFTER ALL, WE ALL WANTED TO BE DOCTORS GROWING UP, RIGHT?
I started by taking a risk and joined a private program at my high school. That program taught me how to code, storytell, and design using Adobe Suite. I enjoyed how they made us think out of the box.
I continued, wanting to learn more in the digital marketing space. I was originally a graphic design major but I switched and ended up getting a Mass Communications degree. I loved what I was learning, but I kept failing the portfolio review, which kept me from finishing my upper coursework. Sadly, the university had a limit on how many times you could try to pass it and I reached my limit. An academic advisor suggested that I pursue a similar major in Mass Communications. While I felt at the time that this wasn’t right, it did help me. It helped me gain even more skills and added another level of understanding of the marketing industry.
After graduation, I was allowed to be an advertising intern at Harrah’s and Harveys South Lake Tahoe. I was a sponge there. I learned so much. I was mainly responsible for their social media posts, signage, and casino floor video. I also helped other departments for Harrah’s and Harveys events. I promoted them, wrote PSA announcements, set up the cables and devices, and participated as support. I was part of the Summer Concert Series, Celebrity Golf Tournament, UFC/Combate America fights, beauty pageants, and more.
The marketing world had just opened up to me.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
I would probably be a cat. Please don’t @ me for being a crazy cat lady. It must be nice taking long naps.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
I went to State Championships for cross country!
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I need one or two coffees to get through my day.
I start my day at 6 am and start working by 7 am. I do the admin work for Optimum AdVantage in the morning.
I take a few hours to get organized, work on my business, and engage with my LinkedIn network. Then I work for a few hours on TradeMark Express, a small family business by 9 am or 10 am. Then I take a break to dedicate time to myself. I workout or paint for an hour after lunch. After that, I regroup and work on projects for my clients until 5 pm.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
During the workweek, I have time set aside for relaxing and winding down every day. I check in with family members during those breaks. I also use that time to do a fun activity every few days. Weekends are more open, as I can sleep in and socialize, but I still put in a few hours of work.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
In my experience, job-hopping has helped me. When you job hop, you’re putting yourself out there to work in new situations and problem-solve differently. It’s made me collaborate with more people and understand aspects I wouldn’t have thought about. As an individual, I feel more well-rounded job-hopping.
FOR OUR INTERVIEW WITH YAEL TAMAR FROM SOLIDBLOCK, SHE REMARKED THAT WOMEN ARE MOST LIKELY TO OCCUPY THE CMO ROLE AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. WITH WOMEN CONTROLLING OVER $20 TRILLION IN GLOBAL SPENDING, WHY HAS IT BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO HAVE FEMALE CMOS IN YOUR OPINION?
It’s important to have female CMOS because women are spending more and their purchasing decisions are affecting the market place. Sales and marketing teams need to understand women’s purchasing decisions. More likely, a woman CMO would be better able to target female consumers.
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO VISUAL CAPITALIST, ZOOM IS NOW WORTH MORE THAN THE 7 BIGGEST AIRLINES IN THE WORLD AT A WHOPPING MARKET CAPITALIZATION OF JUST OVER $40BN. SUFFICE TO SAY, REMOTE WORKING IS AN ASPECT OF MODERN-DAY WORK THAT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE MOST ORGANISATIONS STRUGGLED TO CONVERT TO THIS WAY OF WORK?
I believe that the struggling organizations didn’t have a plan for a remote alternative. Other reasons could be that their employees are struggling to adapt in their new work environment or they’re struggling to use these new technologies.
REMOTE WORK HAS COME WITH ITS OWN SET OF CHALLENGES, PARAMOUNT TO THIS IS THE FACT THAT EMPLOYEES ARE NOW ‘ALWAYS ON’ WITH WORK CARRYING OVER EVEN BEYOND WORKING HOURS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS MANAGE THIS BETTER TO PROTECT THE WELLBEING OF THEIR EMPLOYEES?
Good question. Since we are living and working under the same roof, I think there’s only so much that organizations can do about this. I think, if organizations had a cutoff working time, that would be better for their employees. It would keep their employees from being ‘always on’ with work. At the end of the day, you want more productive employees rather than exhausted ones.
STORYTELLING SEEMS TO BE THE NEXT RISING BUZZWORD. WHAT’S THE Optimum AdVantage STORY? HOW ARE YOU TELLING IT IN AN INTERESTING WAY?
After job hunting for almost a year, I decided to take a step back. I knew a few people who needed help with their small business. I listened to their pain points and assisted them. They gave me referrals and Optimum AdVantage boomed!
BCG PUBLISHED ITS INNOVATION REPORT FOR 2020 AND AT THE CORE OF ITS SELECTION CRITERIA ARE COMPANIES THAT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MARRIED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. ACCORDING TO YOU, WHAT MAKES SOMETHING INNOVATIVE? HOW DO YOU DEFINE INNOVATION AT Optimum AdVantage?
Innovation comes when you’re tackling an issue people struggle with and providing a new solution, using out of the box thinking. At Optimum AdVantage, our innovation comes from design thinking – empathizing with our clients’ pain points, defining the problem, brainstorming different strategies, prototyping it, and testing it out.
AT THE TIME OF PUBLISHING, THE DIGITAL MARKETING INSTITUTE ESTIMATED THAT THE INFLUENCER MARKETING INDUSTRY WILL HIT THE $10BN MARK BY 2020. WHETHER B2B OR B2C, IT’S EVIDENT THAT BRANDS AND ORGANISATIONS HAVE HAD THEIR SUCCESS WITH THIS MODEL OF MARKETING. HOW WILL THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECT THIS INDUSTRY GOING FORWARD AND DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS STILL A PLACE FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING?
I think that there is still a place for influencer marketing. Brands will still need influencers to bring a younger audience to their product or service. If anything, the pandemic might affect the way production is done. For instance, production might limit how they’re working with influencers because of the exposure risk. Indoor settings aren’t as available as pre-COVID. Permissions to film production may have changed. Team members may get sick. As a result, brands need to pivot to work with the current conditions and have a backup plan if something goes wrong.
HOW DO YOU LEVERAGE DATA TO INFORM YOUR DECISION-MAKING?
I look at how many people engaged or clicked on our social media posts to see if we’re using content that speaks to our target audience. I look to see where these people who viewed our posts are from and what companies they work for. I try to improve by implementing new elements into our posts or ads. For website traffic tracking, I look at the conversion rates. I look at how long they stay on a page. I pay attention to the bounce rate. I look at which pages users visit. For lead generation, I use a retargeting strategy to identify most likely leads.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
Multi-tasking! Yes, I’m one of those people. I multi-task because it makes my creative juices flow. Each task within a project is interrelated to each other. It gives me a bigger, clearer picture of how to solve our client’s problem. We live in a complex world and strategies have to be well thought out.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? (WHAT DO YOU READ, AND HOW DO YOU CONSUME INFORMATION? PAPERBACK VS EREADER?)
Normally, I consume information via podcasts. However, I have been reading Writing and Research for Graphic Designers: A Designer’s Manual to Strategic Communication and Presentation by Stephen Heller.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
AS WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID19 IF YOU COULD REPLACE THE HANDSHAKE AS A FORM OF GREETING, WHAT INTERESTING NEW GREETING WOULD YOU INTRODUCE?
I would greet a loved one by putting both hands over my heart. If it was a friend I was greeting, I would do a robotic wave.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Don’t lose sight of what you want to do. Work towards it, even if there are many setbacks. Learn, improve, and push yourself to work smarter.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
I would have told myself to believe in myself sooner. I always thought about starting a business someday, but I kept pushing it back because I thought I wasn’t ready. In reality, there isn’t a good time to start a business. You just need to take that risk, learn fast, and push towards your goals as much as you can.
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?
My greatest professional challenge is building my business. Optimum AdVantage has been in business for only two weeks and I haven’t pitched my services to other business owners as much as I would like. A personal challenge is taking the time away from work to focus on me.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AWESOME WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO INTERVIEW IN FUTURE?
Yes, I would love to! Pamela Vaughan @pamelump
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS (PROFESSIONAL AS WELL AS PERSONAL)?
- Get an office
- Network/be a panellist at a conference
- Be a podcast guest
- Host an event
- Write a book
- Developing my skills as a painter/life drawing artist
- Taking a flyboarding water jetpack flight
- Indoor Skydiving
- Releasing baby turtles into the ocean
- Whale Watching
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
- Greta Thunberg
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
- Malala Yousafzai
- Anne Frank
- Nancy Pelosi
- Beyoncé Knowles
- Harper Lee