We kicked off the member profile series on the MIMA blog last month with Preston Kelley’s Mark Jenson. Today, we’re continuing with Whitney Johnson, who is not only a member of MIMA but also an active volunteer on the marketing committee.
Talk to me about your MIMA involvement. How long have you been attending events and why did you decide to volunteer?
I’ve been interested in MIMA for years and had always wanted to get involved, but didn’t really know where to start. I finally decided to just jump in by attending my first event in November 2014 (and immediately wished I would have gone to every event prior). I was then introduced to board member Arik Hanson, who invited me to join the MIMA social committee as a volunteer. This was a no-brainer move for me. I saw so many benefits after attending just one event that I knew I wanted to be more involved with the organization beyond being a member. I accepted to be a volunteer on the spot, became a member within the week, and have been rockin’ and rollin’ ever since.
Can you walk me through your day job? What do you do? How long have you been there? How did you end up there?
My day job is always an adventure. Every day is different with new challenges, opportunities, and tasks. After all, it’s startup life. I’m a partner and the marketing director at Prodality, a web-based technology startup company. We’re a mix between a startup incubator and a capital investment firm, where we take an equity stake in our partner companies and offer labor support for the successful development of each company. There are currently four companies in our wheelhouse, and each one is its own entity that is operated separately from one another.
My role as the marketing director is to manage, oversee and handle all marketing and communication activities for Prodality and its partner companies. This includes creating the brand of a company when it’s in its infancy and is merely an idea, getting the product in the hands of our customers upon launch, and maintaining a brand image while continuing to acquire customers through different marketing activities. I’m responsible for identifying our marketing goals and objectives, creating a strategy, executing on that strategy, and measuring whether or not that strategy hit our goals. It’s a lot of trial and error, but as a startup we’re able to be agile and pivot within a moment’s notice to achieve what we set out to accomplish.
Beyond my marketing role, I also help with the strategy work behind our companies as a whole. My business parter is a great visionary, and I take his vision and break it down into digestible steps for our development and design team to accomplish. It’s a lot of juggling, but also very rewarding and exciting.
I’ve been doing this for three years. I was introduced to my business partner six years ago when we were both in college. I helped him out with a few projects and realized while doing this that I really enjoyed the energy of a startup; however, I felt I needed more experience before fully diving in. So, after graduation, I worked at LaBreche for two years in the content marketing department, and then transitioned to being full-time at Prodality.
Why are you interested in digital? What about it excites you?
All our companies are in the tech space, so digital is in my nature. But what truly excites me is the reach digital marketing has in the industry. One of our companies, BookBottles, has customers around the world. We focused our sales and marketing strategies in the US market when we launched, but ended up reeling in international clients as well. These international customers all found us through inbound digital marketing efforts. What’s more is the endless opportunities digital offers. Not only are there a myriad of channels you can use to connect with your customers, but you’re also able to identify, segment, and filter customers into specific target audiences to make sure you’re truly reaching the right people. There are so many tools out there today to help marketers in the digital landscape, and the digital world is always changing and, in my opinion, improving. It’s an exciting time to be a marketer and to show marketing’s worth to a company.
What are some of the main benefits you see for members (or event attendees) involved in MIMA?
I’m a new MIMA member myself and have already experienced a ton of benefits with being involved. The events are fantastic with relevant content and interesting speakers. Not to mention there’s usually free food. But the most obvious — and the most rewarding for me — is the community. There are so many talented, welcoming, and all-around awesome people who are involved with MIMA. Everyone has a different story and a different set of skills in marketing that it’s impossible not to learn something new just by talking with them. I meet someone new at every event, and walk away with a bigger and better network. This community has become a support system for me and a resource I rely on when I need some insight on a challenge I’m facing in my own career.
What do you do when you’re not working or volunteering? AKA, what makes you, you?
I coach gymnastics once a week at Roseville High School. I competed in gymnastics for 17 years, so it’s fun to stay involved through coaching. I’m also in the process of planning a wedding and renovating our house. This is the second time my fiancé and I have renovated a house, and I’ve learned along the way that I love interior design. Beyond that, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, reading books, going on walks around the different lakes in the area, and traveling to as many places as possible.