Experienced digital media, marketing, and omnichannel professional, Jhara Valentini specializes in building high growth eCommerce businesses. A true digital lover, with ten years of experience, Jhara uses an analytic and engagement-based approach to ensure the best return on investment with every campaign. As group lead and firm liaison, Jhara smoothly integrates with client teams and personally oversees all aspects of client projects.
I had the opportunity to interview Jhara recently. Here are some of the highlights of that interview:
Jill Griffin- Tell me about your background
Jhara Valentini- I am a digital media consultant and strategist, but my background is in psychology. All of my education and graduate work were in psychology, cognitive behavior, and forensic studies.
Griffin- How did you get interested in Psychology?
Valentini- I am slightly obsessed with human nature and the human brain, why people react in certain ways, why some people are reactive to certain colors and others aren’t. The human brain especially at the chemical level is so fascinating to me. There’s so many questions that you can answer when you get into these fields- and it’s all based on data, which I love!
I think that’s why digital advertising and media are of such interest to me. Everything has tangible evidence for whatever it is that you’re doing.
Griffin- Very interesting. So now you have shifted over to being a media strategist. Are there things you can still use from having a psych background?
Valentini- Yes, absolutely. I would say 99% of my campaign strategies are built with a cognitive-behavioral approach. It’s not traditional advertising by any means. I like a more native, conversational approach and spending a little bit more time with my audiences- digging a little deeper for that human contact and human connection.
Griffin- What differentiates your work from other people that call themselves Digital Media Strategists?
Valentini- The biggest difference is probably that I don’t lead my campaigns; I let my audiences lead. I don’t do any retargeting or mass scale investments unless it’s warranted. There has to be behavior that proves the audience was either interested or engaged. Essentially, I plant seeds and see where they grow.
Griffin- That is so interesting. I would love to know some of your clients or case studies.
Valentini- I have been lucky enough to have clients across multiple verticals. I’ve worked with major fashion brands like Diane Von Furstenberg, South Coast Plaza and Louis Vuitton and also work with incredible organizations like For Freedoms. One of my favorites right now is in the beauty space, Anastasia Beverly Hills. It’s so fun and the best part about working with these massive brands is that there’s so much data! So much information to learn from.
Griffin- Can you take me through a before and after?
Valentini- Their major goals revolved around ROI, as is true for most ecommerce businesses. They were pretty much meeting internal goals but the team knew that there was room to grow- which is where I come in. Shifting things from the beginning, I was able to double their ROI in about 4 months. Within 8 months we were in double digit ROAS across all channels and have grown continuously for the last 18 months. Even during the start of the start of year, which was such a tumultuous time for everyone, we were at an incredible increase vs. last year. My platform reps were in disbelief. And it all really stemmed from the work that had happened leading into 2020. It typically takes about a year to get that kind of conversion but when you take the time to develop the right behaviors, it’s worth it.
Griffin- What are the major platforms you work with?
Valentini- That is usually dependent on the audiences I am working with. When I start with a client I do a major audit to understand their audiences and where they consume their media. Right now, I run media everywhere: digital publications, social platforms, print and billboards. The biggest ones are Google, Facebook, Instagram and Amazon on the platform side. Publications can vary from a Vogue.com feature to a one page spread on the Sunday NY Times.
Griffin- What are you looking for in the future? Any trends to keep an eye on?
Valentini- There are a few things I am looking forward to. One being that human connection and looking at things on a more behavioral level is starting to become a rule vs a suggestion in my field which is awesome! I mean, I have been saying singing that tune from the beginning but it’s great to see perspectives move in this direction. The second would be the caliber of data that we are going to be able to engage with- all with user permission, of course- but it is going to be phenomenal. So much to learn! And third is audio- devices, podcasts, streaming services, etc.
Griffin- What is the name of your company and how long have you been independent? Do you think you’ll ever go back?
Valentini- My company is called Valentini Media Group. I was in-house for 8 years and have been independent for just over 5 years. To go back, God willing, no- I love this so much! I’ve been able to create a space that I’m really happy in and deconstruct the old idea of the “working Mom”. I am able to navigate work and motherhood on my terms which is what I’ve always wanted.
There has always been this stigma that you can only be one or the other- a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. And if you’re part-time or a consultant on your own, you don’t get big clients and that just wasn’t OK with me. I don’t do well with those kinds of boxes and I hate restrictions on potential.
I am good at what I do and I love my work, so much- digital is such an incredible space to be in but my family is everything to me and going independent has given me the flexibility that I need to do both. It’s not easy by any means. My schedule is insane but I wouldn’t change a second.
Griffin- That is so that’s so great. So as we close, why don’t you give me three tips for women that would inspire our readers. What are three things that you learned as you were journeying to the space you are in now?
1. Research, research, research- know your landscape at all times, in all ways. Updates, new tech etc. Know what’s coming and how to expand- for your company and your clients and always keep studying your craft- no one is ever 100% of an expert on anything but if you learn enough you can get close.
2. Know your worth and what that means down to a value increment so you know what to charge clients. And don’t be afraid to ask for the big bucks- you are worth it.
3. Be your best advocate because no one else is going to do it for you.