Named a Folio: Magazine 2015 Top Women in Media Rising Star and featured in the Forbes Most Powerful Woman Business Leader issue, Lindsey Carnett has taken her business expertise globally to enlighten marketing peers, clients and students about best practices in using PR to drive sales, improve organic SEO and grow a positive online reputation. Having spoken at high profile national marketing and consumer products conferences and guest lectured at universities, Carnett has gained the reputation as an expert in the field of marketing and public relations. In addition to her speaking success, Carnett’s copy has appeared in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Allure, and she has appeared on TheStreet.com, National Public Radio (NPR), The Doctors, The Jeff Probst Show, Telemundo, and local ABC, NBC and CBS morning news programs, as well as USA Today, PR Week, Forbes Woman among others. Most recently Carnett received a Top Women in Business Award from Pacific Coast Business Times, a Silver Stevie Award as Female Entrepreneur of the Year, was named a Top 25 Largest Women Owned Business in San Fernando Valley Business Journal and received multiple 40 Under 40 Awards as she started her business in 2009 at the age of 26.
How did you get into the industry?
I double majored in Spanish and communications in college, but I always knew I wanted to use the skills I’ve garnered from my education for being an entrepreneur. I have always been a very good writer and organizer and I knew that I didn’t want to be a journalist, so public relations was a logical choice for me. I began doing marketing and communications in-house for an organization but quickly realized that I had the necessary energy and skills to branch out on my own. I began Marketing Maven, my firm, in my guest bedroom. We soon became too large for my house to contain so seven years ago we moved into our current offices.
Any emerging industry trends?
It is important to have knowledge of all the various forms of media: Traditional media isn’t good enough anymore. Digital only media is not sufficient. There must be a healthy combination of both. In 2017 traditional public relations—phone pitching, email pitching, writing press releases, etc.—isn’t enough. The modern publicist needs to understand digital and social media, influencer marketing, and much more in order to run a successful media campaign. I highly recommend that all 21st century publicists brush up on various forms of media. At the very least, a basic understanding of media outside of what’s typically associated with traditional public relations will benefit a media campaign in the long-run. For the digital space, get to know websites like SimilarWeb.com that verify Unique Monthly Visitors (UMV) for that website so you can present the audience size to your client like you would do with the circulation of a newspaper.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
If you don’t know what is going on in the world, how are you supposed to pitch the perfect story? The modern publicist needs to always be on their toes, and needs to be able to aware of a constantly shifting media landscape. Specifically, new narratives emerge each and every day, particularly with social media’s rise to prominence, all of which can be an opportunity; however, even a single misstep can be fatal for a campaign. I recommend all publicists start their day, even with the busiest of workloads, by monitoring the media and looking for trends/breaking news—both to capitalize on and to avoid. With the outcome of the recent Presidential election, and social media communications crises like the United Airlines passenger issue, the effective PR person has to be even more on his/her toes than usual. Current events happen often without advance warning, so it’s even more important to stay on top of the news moment by moment.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I was inspired to do well as a business leader even as a child. My parents encouraged me to use my allowance money as a little girl to purchase inventory from the grocery store. My mom had a special cabinet for me to store my ingredients for the recipes I created for a café I created with my brother. We created a menu, determined our pricing, then marketed to our neighbors. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my parents were grooming me to be an entrepreneur. When it was time for me to become serious about a career, I knew that I had this yen for business that I wanted to continue to nurture.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
I want to greatly expand our New York City office. Right now we have a number of excellent employees handling our clients there, but we are beginning to acquire as many specialists as we have in our LA office. For example, all of our business/finance accounts in New York will soon be in their own department as their equivalents in the west coast are. These dedicated business functions allow us to better serve all of our clients.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Earlier this year, a global tech company chose to license the worldwide rights to patented technology that identifies threats to brand reputation via speech recognition technology to Marketing Maven due to our vast experience in the direct to consumer marketing space, international and domestic client base and our reach into the government space. Marketing Maven now offers the service to monitor offline inbound voice, email, chat and social inbound interactions, bridging them with digital sentiment, key influencers and related content, holistically approaching reputation management. This is a great service to our clients that will help us all grow together.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
Dealing with difficult clients is always a challenging situation. I learned resilience and the importance of having tough skin. One of the best pieces of advice I received when I started my career in the entertainment PR space was to have tough skin. There would be many mean people on the red carpet but I was trained to not take anything personally. It didn’t mean to lose all empathy, but I learned to not let the little things, or big things under my skin. In PR, we must be chameleons learning to work through all personality types- the passive aggressive client, the client who yells, the person who must dominate the conversation, the condescending person. The way you deal with your environment says everything about you. A positive attitude goes a long way. So does professionalism- no matter how angry or down you might be. A resilient outlook is crucial to staying calm, cool and collected in the driver’s seat.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
The strongest, most successful PR campaigns are those that are executed collaboratively. Sometimes campaigns are multi-faceted and span multiple forms of media, which might mean you need to be coordinating details with a graphic designer, production company, SEO agency or web team. Playing nicely in the sandbox will get you very far in the agency world. When multiple agencies are fighting for credit, remember that you need to be transparent and remain easy to work with. Coordinated campaigns serve to deliver a brand’s message to a target demographic more efficiently. Remember to put your client first and remember why there are so many moving pieces- timelines and benchmarks must be achieved.
How do you motivate others?
I motivate my employees by empowering them, while at the same time emphasizing that we’re working together as a team and no one is solely to blame for any missteps. The person who throws someone under the bus and is not willing to take responsibility for their performance is not a good teammate. Just as much as each individual must be willing to give their all for a team, the team captain must model this behavior and encourage a team environment. If the leader punishes mistakes and does not use them as learning experiences so their team can improve, the captain creates a culture of fear. My best teams both in my soccer career and in business have been those who can work hard together and play hard together. They fight for one another and go above and beyond to deliver results that will make their peer look good. If each person on the team looks good to the client, the whole company is a winner. The morale is high and the teammates feel positive energy for helping each other.
Career advice to those in your industry?
When starting a business, in PR or any other field, be sure to ask for help. There are free resources to make sure you set up your corporation or LLC correctly, that you follow the laws with payments to the Franchise Tax Board, any obtain any business permits or sales permits necessary.
If you want to develop an invention, check the Internet to make sure you can’t find anything similar. I recommend testing the idea to see if consumers are interested by selling at a local street fair then based on feedback, protect your intellectual property through a patent, develop a website, manufacture more product and expand your reach through exhibiting at other street fairs or consumer expos.
Again, be resilient, as there are many obstacles to success, but developing a thick skin along with the skill set necessary to excel in your industry goes a long way towards helping you achieve results.
A recent graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and current VISTAGE member, Carnett also sits as the Content Committee Chair for the Electronic Retailing Association, the Vice Chairman of the California Lutheran University Victory Club, Advisor for the PRSSA and former 4-year PR and Marketing Chair of Women in Sports and Events (WISE) Los Angeles. A NCAA collegiate women’s soccer captain and officer in the American Marketing Association, Carnett received her B.A. degree in Spanish and Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and Advertising. Her business certifications include WBE, WOSB, 8(a), DBE, CUPC, Metro and WBENC.
Lindsey Carnett began Marketing Maven in 2009, during the recession. Since evolving into a full service, bi-costal marketing firm, Carnett has demonstrated hard work and dedication in the field of PR. Carnett has taken her business expertise globally to enlighten marketing peers, clients and students about best practices in using PR to drive sales, improve organic SEO and grow a positive online reputation. Having spoken at high profile national marketing and consumer products conferences and guest lectured at universities, Carnett has gained the reputation as an expert in the field of marketing and public relations. In addition to her speaking success, Carnett’s copy has appeared in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Allure, and she has appeared on TheStreet.com, National Public Radio (NPR), The Doctors, The Jeff Probst Show, Telemundo, and local ABC, NBC and CBS morning news programs, as well as USA Today, PR Week, Forbes Woman among others. Most recently Carnett received a Top Women in Business Award from Pacific Coast Business Times, a Silver Stevie Award as Female Entrepreneur of the Year, was named a Top 25 Largest Women Owned Business in San Fernando Valley Business Journal and received multiple 40 Under 40 Awards as she started her business in 2009 at the age of 26.