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5 questions with Jennifer Keller

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at 9:53 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at 10:04 a.m.

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Jennifer Keller, community marketing director for Derby, said she was pleased enough to attend the Wichita American Marketing Association banquet last week as a finalist for Marketer of the Year.

“I don’t know who nominated me, but it was nice to be nominated by my peers.”

Then, she won.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Keller said.

“To win an award like that is pretty special.”

The Kansas native, who has spent most of her life in Wichita, received an advertising degree from Wichita State University, but her career path has had more of a marketing and public relations focus, particularly for nonprofits.

Keller’s goal is to one day lead a nonprofit agency.

Q. What was your initial career plan?

A. My big plan was to work at a big ad agency in Chicago or New York or something like that. … I always thought that would be cool. … Then I did an internship at an agency and didn’t like it there. Didn’t think I fit in there. I was also able to do an internship at Hospice Inc., which is now Harry Hynes Memorial. Loved it. Loved the people. Loved writing stories. It was just an amazing experience, so I went back and took some PR classes. … Then they hired me at Hospice, so I felt very fortunate. A lot of my friends did not get jobs. The economy was pretty rough right then. … That showed me … that I liked being in public relations, and I really liked working in the nonprofit setting, and that’s what I wanted to do.

Q. What are your marketing strengths?

A. Experience is a strength. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I have some great mentors. … Every single thing that you do, you learn from, so I think that’s my greatest strength. I want to have fun. If you think something’s boring, other people are going to think it’s boring.

Q. What’s the biggest marketing goof you’ve made?

A. Printing the wrong number on something. … You only make that mistake once. … You always call and verify that phone number. … I haven’t harmed anybody or injured anybody – hopefully. No one’s ever died, so … .

Q. What’s your No. 1 piece of marketing advice?

A. A lot of campaigns get it wrong … when they don’t really understand their customer. You have to really understand your customer and then figure out how you’re going to reach them. It’s not hard. Our tools have changed over the years. And I think the other thing is you’ve got to continue to learn. … You can’t think I’ve finished my degree, I’m done learning.

Q. So is it true you no longer have any hobbies?

A. I used to have hobbies. My daughter was concerned I didn’t have hobbies. … I said, “I had hobbies. Now I have the three of you to keep me busy.” I have three hobbies: Emma, Jared and Wyatt.

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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