Chris Jones majored in English at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, but he discovered the art of social media marketing back in the days when bands were still using Myspace.
Since then, the 30-year-old digital marketing manager has moved back to Colorado from New York City and is busy hiring additional workers for Blakely + Co.’s digital team. He recently took time to talk to the Business Journal about his career path, the future of digital marketing and what’s new in his department at Blakely.
How did you develop a career in digital marketing?
I majored in English and creative writing at UNC — I don’t know exactly what I was thinking, other than I like to read and think poetry is cool. When I moved to New York, I was really looking at a career in music, helping out bands on Myspace. When we moved back to Denver, I started working in the social media department of The Shane Co. I always say my job was to make Tom Shane less boring — at least online. It was a great experience.
How did you end up at Blakely?
I decided to relocate to the Springs, Blakely wasn’t hiring. But I was very impressed with the company and everything I saw online. So I wrangled a conversation with Camille [Blakely, co-owner of the agency] and my predecessor at the time. When the job came open, they hired me. This is a great work environment, and I appreciate the opportunity to work directly with the stakeholders in businesses and our clients.
My role here is to manage the digital marketing department. So I’m focused on growing it, and I’m hoping to provide clients with a great digital experience. We’ve also started a new project we’re about to roll out in the near future to help nonprofits with their Google spend. Google is giving free spends to nonprofits, it costs them nothing for exposure, but it’s a great opportunity for local nonprofits. It’s a great way we can support the local charities. We’re also hiring someone for Search Engine Optimization, paid searches.
What do you say to people who believe you get paid to be on Facebook?
I used to say, ‘Yes, that’s why Facebook is free to you.’ Now, in general, it’s important for businesses to connect with customers through social media and paid searches — really, all digital channels. It helps to have someone who knows how to use those platforms, use informal language and who can create that relationship with the consumer. Although, at one point, I spent two weeks playing Farmville. I was trying to see if it was a good platform for advertising.
What is the future of digital marketing?
That question is problematic because there are a lot of unknowns about which way the industry is headed. I would assume we are working toward a much more personal experience. People talk about an audience of one — we’ll create a specific ad designed for a specific person that is delivered at exactly the right time.
What do you do for fun?
I hang out with my little dude — 13-month-old Strummer, and my wife, Kristi. He’s learning to walk, so it’s a challenge keeping up with him. I’m a big Rockies fan, which creates a tortured existence. I’m going on record, though. I believe they’ll make the playoffs this year.
We also are involved with theater. When we lived in New York City, my wife worked at the Manhattan Theater Club, so we were immersed in Broadway. We still have season tickets for live theater in Denver, and we’re planning on doing the same thing here.
Do you have any advice for young professionals?
Remember that regardless of where you work — no matter the location or industry, small business or large — without fail, your reputation is everything. Don’t step over other people to get ahead.
At the end of the day, you are only as good as the work you’ve done.