Friday, July 12, 2013

Alumna Profile: Jenny Verbitsky of Ogilvy

Jenny Verbitsky (CAS '05) is Research Director at the renowned advertising, marketing, and public relations agency, Ogilvy & Mather. In this alumna profile, Jenny tells us a little bit about her position, and how social media is changing the way research is performed in marketing and advertising.

What led you to a career focusing in social media?

I never planned for a career in social media. In fact, when I graduated NYU in 2005, I had no idea it was a career option. In 2007, I started working at a market research firm where I had the opportunity to trial a social listening tool. After that, I started working on integrating social media into traditional secondary research I was doing at the time. From there, I was given an opportunity to manage the social media research offering at the company.

Working at Ogilvy Public Relations as a Research Director, I’m able to focus on social media analysis and implement various methodologies that help our internal account teams and clients; this includes anything from listening to how people feel a about brands and topics to implementing social media measurement strategies.

In your opinion, what kind of academic focus would best prepare someone to work in social media?

Since I’m focused on the research aspect of social media, I think anyone who is curious and has interest in research has the ability to do well in this field. Further, being able to write well and tell a story with the information you have in front of you is an important skill to have. For myself, my major in Journalism & Mass Communication provided a really good stepping stone.

How has social media changed market research in advertising?

Social media adds another layer of how we can understand consumer behavior. In many instances, social listening can become a first step in the research process. For example, if you are interested in understanding how people feel about a specific topic or brand, looking at conversations on social networks and blogs can offer an unfiltered and unprompted view of consumers’ mindsets. You can then use your social media data to inform more traditional survey research as well as brand strategy and creative.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The best part is that there’s never a dull moment; there is always something new to do and learn about. I get to work with clients and account team from all different industries. One week I may be exploring consumer perceptions of traumatic brain injuries and the next I’m trying to understand how people use their home appliances.

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