Ever heard of the saying, “The best way to learn is to teach someone else”?
Well, Jason Falls opted to give a true meaning to this quote by authoring a series of life-transforming books aimed at shedding light on his rich exposure in the eCommerce world.
In this edition of our interview segment with top industry players who are changing the world with their wisdom-laden influence, we put the spotlight on this generational thinker.
Jason Falls is the Director of Digital Strategy at Cornett, a full-service agency in Lexington, Kentucky. He has authored two books on social media and email marketing and frequently serves as a keynote speaker at conferences and trade shows speaking about digital marketing topics.
- What are your current goals?
Our goals at Cornett are really to do right by our clients. So that's what I'm focused on. We aim to grow our clients businesses, expand their reach or tend to the specific challenges they reach out to us to help with.
- Which is most important to your organization—mission, core values or vision?
Wow ... that's hard to answer because they each feed into one another. Because our vision and values lead directly to our mission -- to do right by the brand (our client's and ours), I would probably say the mission, but we wouldn't have that without the other two.
- How did you decide this was the industry you wanted to dominate? Or How did you find yourself in this industry?
I've always been a communicator. When I hit 14 years old and could get a part-time job I marched into the local radio station and said I wanted to be a deejay. I worked in radio and journalism for several years through school and even after school. Then, I went into sports PR for a bit. I later jumped on the social media and digital marketing train in the mid-2000s. I'm a natural speaker and writer, so communication is just what I do. Marketing is a great way to let those skills come to life in a career.
- What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as an industry leader?
I am always open to learning new ways to do things, new perspectives through which to see problems and opportunities and I constantly look to my co-workers and colleagues in the industry to get smarter about the business. I've learned big ideas from seasoned veterans and 22-year-old noobs, so I just keep my eyes and ears open and continually ask, "Why?" until I understand.
- Did you have any formal education in this space or you schooled yourself via books and online courses?
My undergraduate degree is in radio-television journalism and my master’s degree is in management. The digital marketing and social media piece of things are all self-taught through immersion and experience. So about half and half.
- What does your industry look like a year from now? Five years? Ten years?
I think digital is moving quickly to a world of AI and machine learning to drive a lot of how marketing works, how connected devices provide us with unprecedented data with which to know our customers more and get more granular with how we communicate with them. There will always be a human element to understanding consumers, but reaching more of them in personalized ways on a scale is going to emerge as the industry of tomorrow.
- Are you mentoring anyone? If Yes, would you encourage everyone to get a mentor and why?
Certainly. Whether it's industry skills or just the knowledge of navigating the workplace -- managing people, being managed, motivating and being motivated, understanding how HR and other processes work, etc. -- it's always good to have someone who's been around the block a bit to calm your fears or stoke your antennae when you need it.
- What’s the most important factor you consider when hiring someone?
Their sense of taking initiatives and their curiosity. I want to hire people who can solve problems, not the ones who wait for me to solve it for them.
- Which one thing do you wish you would have done differently?
I wish I'd started on the digital side of things earlier in life. I switched over to focus on digital and social midway through my career. I've got 15 years under my belt doing although I had 15 years doing something else before then. So I'd have 30 years of it had I started out with the Internet and computers and technology as my focus. Better late than never.
- What would you advise a new e-commerce merchant to get a grasp on with regards to your industry?
SEO. That should always be your first priority. If you can understand how to optimize your site and content to be found by those out there searching for products and services like yours to solve their problems, you'll succeed a lot faster in whatever you're doing.