In this interview, Penney shares some joys of her job, the blessings of being married to an auto mechanic, and her borderline obsession with a certain Kansas basketball team.
So, Penney, let’s start with an easy, get-to-know-you kind of question. Where are you from, and what brought you to Joplin?
Well, I grew up in Pittsburg, Kansas, and attended college there. That’s where I met my husband, Tyler. At graduation, we moved to Springfield, Missouri, but after having two kids, we decided to move back to Pittsburg to raise our family.
So wait, you live in Kansas, not Missouri?
Yes, that’s right.
Well that changes things. I’m sorry, but I have to ask, given the longtime rivalry between our states, where do your loyalties lie? With the KU Jayhawks or the Mizzou Tigers?
I’m a pretty big Jayhawks fan.
How big is pretty?
On my wedding day in 2008, KU was playing the Tar Heels in the Final Four. Tyler and I got married in Kansas and didn’t want to miss the game or have people leave, so my dad bought a big screen for the reception. We all watched the last 5 minutes together and did the "Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk" victory chant.
This interview is over!
Just kidding, just kidding. Sort of. Hey, at least, we can find common ground in the Royals, right?
Whew! That’s a relief. So living in Pittsburg, how’d you land at Ramsey?
I really wanted a job in my career field. In college, I dual-majored in in Commercial Graphics and Printing Management and minored in Marketing and Administration. Most of my jobs in Springfield were administration-focused, and I missed the graphics industry.
Ramsey posted a position on Indeed soon after I moved back, and offered me the job. Even though it meant I'd have to drive over an hour round trip every day, I've never regretted it.
Why is that? What makes the job worthwhile, and why do you enjoy working here? Those aren’t leading questions, right?
Not at all! Todd and Julie are wonderful people to work for. They are kind, respectful, and family-oriented. They treat their employees as family, and that's huge for me. I also really enjoy everyone I work with, which is not always easy to find! Ramsey is a second home for me, and the opportunity to work with Google and find new advertising mediums is exciting.
Penney with some of her work family. Like real family, they sometimes dress alike.
Finding a job where you enjoy the work and the workplace really can’t be beat. So we’re like a second family, but tell us a little more about your first one. We hear your husband, Tyler, is quite a talented auto mechanic.
Yes, he is. Tyler has a God-given gift, and he amazes me all the time with his ability to figure out how to fix some of the cars he works on. He speaks another language when it comes to cars though, and I have a long way to go to understand what he’s talking about half the time!
Penney and Tyler with their kids, Gavin and Mackenzie.
If we lifted the hood, would we discover Tyler’s dropped a big block V8 racing engine into your van so you can make record time between Pittsburg and Joplin?
Ha, no V8 yet! However he did put a new-to-me engine in my van a few years ago.
How about basic maintenance? Was "free oil changes and tune-ups for life" part of your wedding vows?
I think it was an unspoken vow that I wouldn’t have to worry about car stuff when we got married, and it is a blessing to be married to my mechanic husband because he’s an expert at what he does.
So that’s your hubby. What about you? Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I love to sing. I’m one of those people you see in the car-singing at the top of their lungs. I won’t win a Grammy, but my kids love it, so that’s good enough.
And the Grammy for car singing goes to...
My first name is also a family name. I’m named after my Grandma who went by her maiden name, Penney. Ever hear of J.C. Penney? He was my grandma’s father’s cousin.
Penney's family member and namesake, JC Penney.
What a cool family connection and name to carry on. Does it entitle you to a special discount at JCP?
Ha, I wish.
One last light-hearted question: what’s your funniest experience or memory at RMW?
Last year for our Christmas party, we decided everyone should wear an ugly Christmas sweater. Julie bought a purple Christmas sweater for Todd that was pretty amazing—purple with striped sleeves. He was such a good sport, but I don’t think we’ll ever see that sweater again.
I wouldn't be so sure about that.
So, let's talk business. What are the ingredients of a successful digital campaign?
Collaboration with the creative department and making sure the message that’s out there is consistent. When creative, ad copy, and the landing page copy are integrated, digital campaigns can reach your target audience more effectively.
Digital campaigns also need constant attention. You have to review the analytics for each campaign and watch for trends that could negatively impact them. Measuring ROI is another key way to track performance, and the information you pull from this data will help you determine what’s working and what’s not. From there, you can optimize campaigns.
What do you enjoy most about data analysis or campaigns overall?
It’s like putting together a puzzle. Every piece of data is vital to knowing whether a source is performing well, or if we need to change the budget, the message, or both. There are so many ways to interpret data, and it’s not the same for every customer. That part can be challenging, but I love finding new methods and discovering what data matters to each individual. I also love it when the adjustments we make to a campaign succeed and will tell anyone in the office who will listen.
Digital sources are constantly changing. I’m certified in Google AdWords and Bing Ads, and it’s a constant learning process. But I love that it keeps me on my toes!
Why are digital campaigns important for businesses?
We live in a mobile world. And since Ramsey works so much in a mobile industry—truck driver recruiting—I’ve watched that mobile trend grow every year. Most of the traffic we see in Analytics is mobile-based, so that tells me that if we want to target truck drivers, we need digital campaigns.
All the websites we create in-house are tested and optimized for mobile devices because we understand where our audience is coming from, and we want to give our customers the greatest reach and exposure possible.
Do you have any tips for someone looking into getting into your career field?
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find your dream job right away. Every opportunity is a teachable experience that, one day, will be just what you needed to do the job you wanted in the first place.
Thanks so much, Penney. Despite our "rough start", this has been great.