The start of a new year offers a lot of excitement and energy as we look forward to the opportunities, and challenges, that lie ahead. After an active year in 2017, the MacKenzie Corp offices are buzzing with fresh ideas, new projects and fun initiatives. So we thought, what better way to kick off the 2018 Thought Leader Spotlight Series than to sit down with our own President of Sales and Marketing, Jenny Dinnen!
What is your fondest memory as a teen being raised within a family business environment? Did you ever see yourself as being the future MacKenzie Corp owner?
Our dad started MacKenzie in the Bonus Room of our house over 30 years ago, so we saw it from the ground up. He quickly moved into an office nearby so we would go after school and help with opening the mail, data entry of surveys (I am an expert on the 10-key pad) and fulfillment projects. The thing that remember the most are the amazing employees that he had (some who are still with us today). Every person that worked for my dad seemed like an extension of our family.
When we graduated college, Dad had a “rule” that we had to work outside of the business before coming to work for him. Looking back, it was the best advice he could have given Katie and I; to get out, learn and grow from the experiences we got from other companies and cultures. We were then able to come back on our own terms and bring all those valuable lessons back to our company.
What life experience(s) do you feel most prepared you for a leadership position?
Travel – I went to school in Boulder CO (go Buffs!), I lived abroad (in Australia) during college and then traveled more internationally (to Italy, France, Spain and Scotland) after college. Getting out and seeing the world has left me curious to continually learn and appreciate that not everyone is the same. It’s easy to get caught up in your own world and believe that everyone thinks and acts the same way as you do, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’m constantly reminding myself that all my employees come from different places, have unique stories, need different motivators and have different points-of-view (which is amazing).
As a business owner, what are some of the joys and some of the stressors of rolling into a new year?
We have been working with an Executive Business Coach for the last few years, and one of the key things that he recommends is to write down our accomplishments. As many other business owners do, we are always focusing on what’s next and what needs to be done. It is essential to stop and recognize all that we are actually doing and have accomplished.
In regards to stressors, I always want to make sure that MacKenzie is on our A-game and evolving – for our clients, our community, and our team. Even though it is wildly exciting, it can be stressful to know that you are leading the charge – Luckily I have a pretty amazing partner-in-crime to do it with.
Are there any 2018 consumer trends that have you particularly excited?
The Internet of Things & the Connected Consumer – I am intrigued to watch as this next evolution unfolds. Gartner is predicting over 11 Billion connected “Things” in 2018!. It will truly change every part of our lives (and of course I love all the data that will be generated from these devices).
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives – I love that leading brands are putting purpose at the center of everything they are doing and that consumers are asking and demanding this. According to Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC), the number of companies directing corporate citizenship from the C-Suite has increased nearly 75 percent compared to 5 years ago.
The role that “Influencers” play in marketing strategies – The rise of Influencer Marketing has been huge. A TapInfluence Study (done with Neilsen Catalina Solution in 2016) showed that influencer marketing content delivers 11x higher ROI then traditional forms of digital marketing.
What key challenges do you see brands facing when looking to get the most out of their consumer research data?
These days, there is so much data available to companies. The DIY research tools have made it easy to launch a quick survey. Where I see brands struggle is having a very clear objective about what they are trying to accomplish with a consumer research project. Instead of diving right into the questions and methodology, we start with the end in mind. What problem are we looking to solve? What would success look like? What information would be helpful to answer these problems? Do we already have this information?
If a brand is interested in launching a customer feedback program this year, where’s a good place to start?
First, get an outside perspective – we are all guilty of being “too close”. Second, find a partner that fits with you culture / brand. Next would be to set up a blueprinting session and start with the end in mind. What is the overall objective of your Customer Feedback Program? Think ahead to what are you looking to measure and what will you be doing with the results. The worst thing you can do is ask for your customer’s feedback and then do nothing with the results.
There has been a tremendous amount of coverage and discussion around Customer Journey Maps. This is important when identifying all the touchpoints that your customers have with you. In addition to mapping out these touchpoints and collecting feedback on them, map out your ideal Experience Motif. How do you want customers to feel at each touchpoint? What should they be experiencing? What should they be expecting? Once you have outlined this, you will have something to measure against.
Having grown up within the constructs of a family business yourself, do you plan on involving your children at some point?
Of course! Katie and I are very proud of the fact that we run a family business and would love to see the legacy continue. That being said, I don’t want them to feel that they have to join the business. I hope that what we are showing them is that they can do anything they want – and if that means coming into the business at some point that would be amazing.
What is your 2018 quote or mantra?
This year my word is “Focus”. I have a bit of “shiny object” syndrome where I am constantly inspired by new ideas and experiences. While that it essential to continually growing, this year I want to remain focused on continuing to do what we do best. That being said, I personally still plan on carving out my own white space each week to dream up the next big thing – that is how I fill my bucket.
Is there any advice you’d give to a young female looking to break into the world of business?
We are living in such an exciting time right now with so much opportunity. My biggest advice is:
- Follow your passion (there is no reason to be in a job / career that you don’t love);
- Go all-in (learn as much as you can, ask questions, put the extra time in and be the best);
- Take initiative (if you see an opportunity – raise your hand and jump in)
- Surround yourself with people that level you up (even at this point in my career, I am constantly looking for mentors and people that inspire me and push me to continue growing)