Ad 2 Dallas & AAF Dallas Social Spotlight: Jon Senterfitt

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Where did you grow up? 

Gainesville, FL - Go Gators!

How many years have you lived in Dallas? 

Coming up on 4 years on December 13th.

Where did you get your degree?

I didn’t go to college because it wasn’t necessarily a good investment if you were in Web development. Back then, the foundations of the Web were not laid out in a degree track and experience trumped education in the dev world. However, I would consider aggregating all the online education I’ve done over the past 10 years to saying “online.”

What was your first job in the advertising industry?

I taught myself how to use design programs and build websites in high school, which led to a few freelance jobs. This helped me get a job at a marketing automation company, one of the first startups to hit Gainesville, FL.  I was the 4th hire in the company and my job was building email templates, service offering decks and a variety of graphics.

What makes Social Revolt different from other agencies?

Social Revolt is young, ambitious, and filled with opportunity for growth. Advertising isn’t static anymore. It’s not “push out a budget and see what happens,” it’s methodical. It takes a young mind to deal with the slew of tools that are being pushed into the market each day. It is not only collecting data but understanding its purpose and function within the entire customer journey. It takes people who are willing to pour over spreadsheets to build the right strategy. It takes constant monitoring in the early stages to ensure small details are improved for better consumer experience.

As Director of Strategy, how would you explain your job at Social Revolt?

My family, my girlfriend, and even I sometimes have a hard time comprehending what I do. This landscape and client challenges are constantly changing. Whether it be a membership program for a large gas station and how to tie in physical sales and couponing into actionable data streams for advertising or a 20-city activation of FB live campaigns for a specific cause, the fact remains the same – someone has an idea and they need to understand how to acquire, engage and convert users. My job is specifically identifying the why, how and what it takes to do that. Which leads to how we handle the when and where.

Can you share a project that you worked on this last year that you are extra proud of? And what was (if any) the biggest challenge to overcome with it?

Auditing a client company to identify tracking concerns, architecture concerns and missed opportunities for 4 weeks across all channels was incredible. Inaccuracy of data collection is what keeps me up at night, so this project was an incredible experience. We worked with ~8 teams, 2-4 stakeholders per team and, over the course of 4-6 months, we worked to ratify and grow their entire strategy for organic growth. You’re talking about going from 1 page to unlimited pages in unlimited languages, with a centralized system for managing that content, all with proper tracking and reporting in place.

One huge challenge was overcoming multilingual delivery for SEO while maintaining geotargeting capabilities (all the while, tracking things in a manageable way). Changing images to show German influenced photography to German IPs with the proper translations is not something that is just “thrown together”. It was a lot of strategy with all teams involved.  

When it comes to strategy, what are the biggest misconceptions about your job?

The biggest misconception about strategy is the time it takes to complete a project. Some people think strategy is just a white board session. Real strategy takes time; weeks of planning and measuring prior to executing. They also think we have phone calls where the clients tell us their needs / what they think they want, and then we spit out a price tag and timeline. It’s not that simple.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 25-year-old self?

Take a break.

How would you describe the workplace culture at Social Revolt, and how do you think it helps motivate employees? 

I would describe it as embracing, if I have something to share about a project, the team stops what they are doing to learn, understand and give feedback. It’s like a news office; no cubicles, just collaborative winning.

Looking into 2019, in terms of strategy, what do you think brands will be doing differently or putting more emphasis on? 

Physical world crossover to your digital strategy. More brands are looking to ensure dollars spent means business objectives. I think, gone are the days of solely brand objectives. We are in a time where data really does show the path to being successful. Next year will be an endless display of incredible technology meeting truly remarkable data experiences.

What advice would you give young advertising professionals interested in a career in strategy? 

Don’t start with strategy. Strategy in technology is a lot like wood working: when you first start out, its better just to understand the textures of the wood, the tools you’re using, the tools you’re not using, the capabilities of those tools, and why to use them and when. After making countless mistakes and working together with experienced wood workers, you start to identify patterns that make your projects successful. You start to build a strategy that is your own and it is built from your experiences. 2-4 years of being an executing party and then finding your way into the driver’s seat is my best advice. Also, you will not learn strategy in school. Sorry in advance.

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What is your favorite social media platform and why?

Twitter. I have some of the most humbling experiences on there, with access to some of the most thoughtful minds in digital. Some Saturdays, I dedicate the entire day to just researching the right people to follow for an upcoming project and beginning conversations to better understand a good path. It’s an incredible resource.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that brands make around content/social media marketing? 

The biggest mistake is checking data once a week. Monitoring three times a day and improving the tracking will always yield better results (on any platform). If you honestly think the image selection your owner approved or the changing of “an” to “and” is the deciding factor to an increase in sales, then chances are, you’re not going to like me. Content is measurable, not just in vanity.

Another big mistake is when brands assume digital campaigns will wield sales consistently across the length of the campaign. For example, when we promote an event, we typically push a brand awareness campaign 2-4 weeks in advance. Our experience with event promotion shows us that ticket will not be purchased until 2 weeks before the event, and there will be a huge ramp up of tickets sales the last week to purchase tickets. Clients always get nervous when ticket sales are slow during the first phase of the campaign. It is important for us to communicate these trends and expectations upfront to keep our clients on board, as their event will normally sell out just a few days ahead of the event day.

How do you communicate a brand strategy with your creative team? How does that process work at Social Revolt? 

Work breakdown structures (WBS) in project management (CAPM training) has been crucial. We communicate multiple times daily and treat every project as collaborative so its constant learning and adjustment.

How often should a brand review or revise their strategy? 

I think it’s more, they should review the people revising their strategy. Just because you look at the numbers on a page, doesn’t mean you correlate them in meaningful ways that benefit your brand in the 6-24-month timelines. Check data daily, review strategy daily, improve experience daily, and you may find yourselves in a whole new place in terms of market share versus your competitors.

What does Social Revolt have planned for the future, in terms of building brand strategies?

Grow the owned content strategy, not just the usage of the platforms. People want to find you, connect with you, understand your service and use it when its most relevant to them. We focus on the owned strategy because then it’s not about relaying that message every day or week, it’s about allowing users to find and connect with that content, wherever it lives.

What is one thing you believe contributes most to your success at this point in your life? In other words, what has been that defining factor that has kept you moving forward in your career? 

Heroes. Lebron James, Cloud Strife, Sora, and Jimmy Page. I believe that our imaginations and the willingness to follow them, no matter how crazy they may seem is the defining point of my success. My heroes did just that and I have been inspired by them daily.