Brisbane Digital Spotlight is a blog series that aims to shine light on the exceptional talent within the city’s digital community. With each post, I uncover a devoted individual within my network who I’ve recognised to be deeply engaged in the digital industry. Whether it be a Digital Marketer, a Developer, a Co-founder, a Project Manager, or even a Recruiter – my goal is to highlight the work these remarkable individuals do; day in, day out.
What do you get when you combine the strategies of a Digital Marketer with the user-focussed mindset of a Product Manager?
The answer is Lauren Jane, the user-experience extraordinaire from Canstar.
After meeting Lauren a year ago at my hackathon for Digital Marketers, I’ve been fascinated by her transition into a product-focused role.
I recently caught up with Lauren to uncover more about her background in the digital landscape.
We discussed the synergies of her past roles, and also delved into her own venture – Inactive Wear – the socially conscious clothing brand bringing a pun to every gym.
Keep reading to uncover more about Lauren’s exciting work.
Tell us about your background. How did you land in the digital space?
I believe the ‘digital’ world sits across all industries, and if you think it doesn’t impact your life in some capacity, you are simply not paying attention. It’s practically impossible to avoid.
For me, it was a natural gravitation. I have always been driven to understand human nature in all aspects of life, particularly when it comes to people’s purchase decisions.
This curiosity (and my personality) led me into marketing. It’s people focused and was an attempt to understand why people buy the things they do. Purchasing, in my view, is so emotional and can be influenced by the user experience.
While I was completing my business degree, I had the opportunity to create my own consultancy specialising in social media strategy. These skills then lead me to a marketing role within a start-up. This was baptism by fire and shape-shifted into a product role. Now I am here, as a product owner and digital specialist.
What does your current role at Canstar entail?
As a digital specialist in product at Canstar, my day-to-day can never be pinned down. It changes every day, which is great for someone with my personality.
The common thread that runs through for me and the product team is problem-solving. That really is at the core of the role. How can we get the best possible outcome for all stakeholders?
Add to this the power of analytics, customer journey mapping, UX and user interviews, and you can get a view of what the role entails.
You’ve had experience across both digital marketing and product roles. How have you found the transition between the two?
I can say – hand on heart – that having a deep understanding of your user is VITAL to both roles.
Working in a start-up and having the opportunity to gain skills across all areas of the business has supported my growth exponentially while accelerating my transition into product. You can see from the bottom up and from the top down.
There are so many tools to get to know your customer from social media and analytics, to customer feedback tools and forums. The list is endless and it truly surprises me how underused the (mostly free) tools are.
If you are looking to make the transition, I encourage you to join online product communities like Product Tank, Product School and Women in Product. You will learn so much and get a clearer view of what a product role entails.
And honestly, every company is different in their definition of a product owner or product manager. At the start of your journey, it’s a good idea to try and figure out the parts you actually enjoy and find interesting. You gain so many transferable skills from digital marketing so that’s a great start to your next steps.
Are there any particular product trends that are becoming standardised across the industry?
I’m not sure about standardised but it’s on everybody’s lips: AI, optimising your data to personalise the customer journey, and understanding product-market fit are hot! hot! hot!
This requires a deep dive into your customer behaviours and some cool data science. I’m not sure anyone has really nailed it, but there are certainly some amazing insights coming from this space.
Tell us about your own venture, Inactive Wear! What inspired you to develop this brand?
This baby was a happy accident that was born out of a gym challenge and my desire to impact fast fashion. Inactive Wear is an ethical, sustainable and very punny leisurewear brand that will make you laugh out loud!
It’s a fun place for me to test cool new things like chatbots and automation, new social media and e-commerce strategies. It’s a well-loved brand and we are currently working out the next steps for scale.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to enter the digital (marketing or product) landscape?
In order of importance:
- Care – both about your user and about your role.
- Learn as much as you can across the whole business. You would be surprised how much is interwoven and is, most importantly, transferable.
- Network, network, network. Brisbane is great for this and is growing in the product scene.
Finally, what are some of your favourite things to do in sunny Brisbane when not at work?
Mainly eat! I love trying the hot new food spots opening up. If I stay in Brisbane for the weekend, I really enjoy the great coffee and river walks with friends. When I’m away, I am on the coast enjoying some ocean goodness.
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I’m a twenty-three-year-old Digital Marketing & Conversions Specialist based in Brisbane, Australia. With a passion for all things digital and tech, I aim to connect and learn from as many like-minded digital enthusiasts as possible. If you have a passion for emerging technologies and digital practices, I’d love to connect and hear your story.