In today’s in-depth conversation, we are thrilled to present Jordan Syms, the Lead Growth Architect at BCG X. Jordan’s rich tapestry of experience spans growth marketing, digital acquisition, retention, and even co-founding Tap into.
While many recognize him as an expert in his field, Jordan characterizes himself as a storyteller, using products to reach and understand what makes people tick. With over 15 years in the industry, Jordan’s journey is a testament to curiosity and the power of narrative in marketing.
In this discussion, we delve into his Californian roots, the contrasts between West and East Coast lifestyles, and the challenges and rewards of adapting to new environments. So, whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or an experienced marketer, join us as Jordan unravels the complexities of growth, culture, and the human experience.
From Golden Beaches to Sky-High Skyscrapers: Jordan’s Transcontinental Tale
Jordan’s journey, full of unexpected twists and turns, can make anyone do a double-take. Born and bred in the sun-soaked shores of California, this growth marketer and storyteller has seen more than just the sandy beaches of LA or the tech hubs in the Bay Area. “I’ve always been a bit of a wanderer, an explorer,” he muses. Whether it was immersing himself in the Spanish language and culture in Madrid or adjusting to the fast-paced lifestyle of New York, Jordan’s story is nothing short of a roller coaster.
The contrasts he paints between the laid-back, beachy vibe of California and the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple are vivid. “Being close to the water mellows people out. That’s why people vacation in beachy places – there’s a distinct vibe,” he says. While Californians are known for their grind, there’s an underlying mellowness, a stark contrast to the intensity of New York. “Everybody in New York moves with such intensity. While both coasts push for what they want, New Yorkers are just a tad more aggressive about it,” he chuckles.
Yet, adapting to the New York pace wasn’t a cakewalk for Jordan. “It took me about six months to realize I was experiencing culture shock,” he confesses. Remembering the early days, he said, “There’s always a point where you just have to realize you’re in a new experience, and you have to be present.” Adapting and understanding different cultural nuances, be it within the vast expanse of the US or internationally, has been both challenging and exhilarating for him. This innate ability to adapt, to be cognizant of diverse environments, is what makes Jordan’s journey incredibly captivating.
The Unexpected Evolution: From Urban Planning to Digital Marketing’s Frontier
When most people hear about digital marketing, they rarely think of urban planning and airport advertisements. But Jordan’s intriguing journey serves as a testament that traditional roles and experiences can often lay the groundwork for the new-age digital frontier. From her early days as an urban planner, focused on community development, to now being a digital marketing maven, the convergence of various experiences carved out her niche. “We know the circulation of magazines. But we don’t know exactly the eyeballs that the magazine got. With digital, I can tell you exactly how many people clicked,” she muses, touching on the power of measurability in digital.
It wasn’t just about the draw of measurable metrics. For Jordan, the passion was rooted in solving real-world problems using digital tools. This revelation came from a genuine pain point she experienced as a sports fan – missing the sole goal of a soccer match while queuing for food. “As consumers, we wondered: What if you could just click something on your smartphone and have it delivered to your seat?” This simple insight, a blend of fandom and frustration, led to the birth of an innovative platform.
In the ever-evolving digital marketing sphere, Jordan foresees AI playing a pivotal role. But with power comes responsibility. “We don’t want Skynet,” she jokes, alluding to the rogue AI from the ‘Terminator’ series. With a myriad of data points and sophisticated targeting capabilities, the next step is ensuring the ethical and judicious use of this technology. “Using AI responsibly to help us can allow our campaigns to be more powerful. But we must be conscious of the data we train models on and ensure fairness,” Jordan warns, heralding a future where technology serves, but doesn’t overpower.
Unraveling Jordan’s Insight: Navigating the Complexity of Modern Marketing
Jordan, with a rich portfolio encompassing direct response marketing and ecommerce brand building, shares his golden rule: understanding the client’s goals. He emphasizes the significance of tailoring strategies based on the target audience and even hints at the unavoidable tough conversations with clients. His mantra? “Everything can’t be a priority.” But it’s not just about setting these boundaries; it’s about communicating them, too. The success, Jordan believes, lies in “highlighting why what the impact is and how the recommendations are going to accomplish that.”
Gone are the days when celebrities were only movie or music stars. Today, gamers, tech aficionados, and beauty gurus have carved a niche for themselves as industry giants. Jordan delves into the intricate world of influencer marketing, emphasizing the mutual respect and partnership between brands and influencers. He remarks, “Influencers are powerful brands in and of themselves. And if you view it that way, then the relationships can be fruitful.” It’s a gentle reminder that successful partnerships are more than just transactions; they’re built on mutual respect and understanding.
Every great product has its humble beginnings, and Jordan’s was no exception. With a laugh, he reminisces about the early days of his app, which he candidly admits “didn’t look very good.” Juggling different time zones and working in a disjointed fashion, they tested their MVP with a minor league baseball team. Through extensive observation and ethnography, Jordan and his team tapped into user behaviors and needs, refining their product based on real-world feedback. It’s a tale of perseverance, adaptability, and always, always putting the user first.
Navigating the Tech Jungle: Jordan’s Journey to Digital Mastery
In the ever-evolving world of technology, challenges pop up like whack-a-moles. For Jordan, these challenges were not just mere obstacles but significant learning experiences. He painted a vivid picture of the trials in the tech world, notably when it came to building a product. “Building a tech product is difficult,” he began, delving into the unpredictability of app development and the unpredicted delays. But more than just the technical aspects, there was the market to consider. They were confident mobile was their platform, but the market had a different path for them. The key to their success? “One key moment for me was, I remember sitting with my co-founders, and people kept telling us something… And as we did that, we became more successful.”
If there’s anything the past 15 years have taught Jordan, it’s the importance of self-compassion and seeking help. “Give yourself some grace,” he mused. His journey, from ambitious start-ups to major consulting firms, provided ample opportunity to learn and grow. But perhaps one of the most heartwarming messages Jordan imparted was on his legacy. The essence of his mission is captured perfectly in his words: “When you put your mind to something, you can do anything. Literally you can do anything beyond what you even believe you can do when you believe it.”
As the interview wrapped up, the inspiration in the air was palpable. From challenges in the tech world to personal growth, Jordan’s story is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and self-belief. And as he signs off, the readers are left with a renewed sense of purpose and the age-old adage ringing true – where there’s a will, there’s a way.