Behind the Click: Ashley Baxter, Digital Marketing Manager for J.C. Penney

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LdC: What is the advantage of having a marketing background when dealing with a tech aspect such as SEO?

AB: Having a marketing background comes in very handy for the content portion of SEO. Optimizing what you already have on your website is only one of the many sides of search engine optimization. Another is creating content that engages people, which falls into the same path as marketing.

LdC: What advice might you have for women who are looking to make the switch from a field that is not tech related to one that is?

AB: Start learning and experimenting with your area of interest as soon as possible. Connect with other people in your area that are already in that industry by joining meetup groups or going to networking mixers. If you start feeling like your skills aren’t polished enough, don’t give up. Keep learning and keep going because you probably know more than you are giving yourself credit for.

LdC: Do you find many women of color  in the SEO industry?  If not, why do you think that is?

AB: In my experience, the SEO industry is largely male, so no. Many girls simply don’t get enough exposure to web-based technologies early in life and without it don’t see the area as a space for career opportunity. When I go to tech events I often see a few men that have brought their sons along with them, but I rarely see women bringing their daughters. There are some groups looking to address this issue, like Black Girls Code.

LdC: What’s your biggest hope for the SEO arena in general this year?

AB: That more marketers start to see SEO as part of an integrated strategy as opposed to something that takes place in a silo. A lot of companies farm out their SEO but don’t find ways to mix it in with what they are already doing. That is a big miss.

LdC: A lot of us are entrepreneurial by nature.  Talk to me a little bit about your work with start-ups via your own company and what advice you might have?

AB: I previously worked with the team behind Proxomo. Currently, I am working on a project to provide affordable online marketing solutions to small business owners. Entrepreneurs come in all varieties and so do start-ups. If you want to start a successful business you have to be focused. Without focus you’ll start spinning in circles.

LdC: Before the formal part of this interview, you and I  talked a bit about Hackathon.  I think it would be helpful please explain Hackathon, from your perspective, and why some women of color might find it of assistance to them.

AB: Hackathons are wonderful. You have a bunch of creative and technical minds in a room together working to build new applications or software. You can attend most events for cheap and some are even free. It’s a low risk way dip you toes into the waters of development. Also, you’ll have the chance to network with people who are already active in the space and those connections can be priceless. Just Google to find some in your area.


That will do it for this profile.  Many thanks to Ashley for sharing her wisdom and experience.  Keep an eye out for the next profile.  You never know who I’m going to select from my industry!  In the meantime, get more tech info via my site and stay up on all the latest device releases and more via my Twitter feed @mediaempress.


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