Ad Purp Profiles: Taylor J on What Makes a Perfect Breakfast Burrito, the Sacred Monkey Forest of Ubud, and the Power of Data-Based Optimization

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With the AdPurp team making a return to the office, a lot of us are getting to meet face-to-face again. Heck, some of us are even meeting for the first time after a year of working from home! But regardless of our physical whereabouts, employee profiles like these have always been a fun way to get to know the team. Not only that, but they shine a light on what each person brings to the table. 

At the AdPurp table today we’ve got Taylor J, one of our Senior Marketing Strategists for Partnership Development and an all-around stellar person to talk to. We kind of dove into everything on this one. We talked about how the pandemic inspired her love of hosting epic dinner parties, her time with elephants in Asia, and what it’s like working with data at AdPurp—just to name a few things. 

So, without further ado, let’s get into this conversation. I know I’m psyched for it! 

I’m going to kick this off the way I always do so we can get a feel for the person behind the screen. So, Taylor, tell us about yourself and what your background is. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? What do you enjoy doing? You know, all that good stuff.  

Hi, hello! My name is Taylor Johnson and I’m from Newport Beach, CA. I went to USC to study Business Administration at the Marshall School of Business, with a minor in Music Business at the Thornton School of Music. I’ve been living in Los Angeles ever since I moved here to start school at USC, but now reside on the west side

A little bit about me: I’m super into health and wellness. I work out every day, switching up my exercises from hiking, rollerblading, walking, lifting at the gym, running, tennis, and yoga. I love cooking, especially with whole ingredients. However, I am definitely one to indulge as I love hitting new restaurants to try different foods and drinks with friends.

Some of my favorite things in the world include spending time with my friends and family, sunset beach walks, traveling to new places, sushi, Mexican food, reading a new book, spicy margaritas, concerts, and festivals, and a chilled glass of red wine.

So glad to have you on this interview, Taylor! Something awesome I learned about you prior to this is that you have a passion for hosting these epic dinner and cocktail parties at your home. What was your favorite dinner or cocktail party and why do you love throwing them? 

Although I have always had a passion for hosting events and entertaining, I credit the pandemic for finding my love of throwing dinner and cocktail parties. Our infamous dinner party series features my group of 30 friends who get together for a potluck of food and great drinks surrounding a single cuisine such as Greek or Mexican. The first event that started it all was our Friendsgiving dinner, pre-pandemic. I rented banquet tables, created a dinner menu, channeled my inner Annie Campbell event decorating skills, and got more bottles of wine per capita.

Once the pandemic happened, we had to get really creative given that we couldn’t hit our favorite restaurants and bars anymore. So, we decided to bring the restaurant and bars to us. This spurred the second idea, cocktail parties (or tastings if you will). Each of my friends was to create a craft cocktail for the group—think White Russians, Rum Sour, Blackberry Margaritas, etc. All the stops were taken —we bought garnishes to match each drink theme, had distinct glasses, and served them on trays.

Even though restaurants are continuing to reopen, we will continue to host dinner and cocktail parties. I personally love getting a huge group of people together to chat and have a good time. It’s also a really great way to put my event coordinating and cooking skills to the test, as I have been able to try new recipes I probably wouldn’t make for myself during the week. These dinner/cocktail parties also gave me the idea to start my side business—The Garnish Girl (Instagram: @the.garnish.girl). I’m launching this summer and will be selling various cocktail accessories, dehydrated fruits as garnishes, and more. 

30 friends and an epic themed dinner party? You can’t go wrong. Those events sound out-of-this-world! Out of all your passions, though, you mentioned that travel is your biggest. Tell me about what it was like country-hopping in Asia. What’s the best story from your travels? 

Traveling is definitely my biggest passion. I’ve traveled all across Europe, Asia, and the US and have been able to learn so much about myself and others along the way. Asia has been one of the most rewarding continents I’ve ever traveled to. Like Europe, you can travel to many countries affordably, which makes it easy to make a lot of stops in one go. In Asia, I got to travel to Bali, Hong Kong, Ko Phi Phi, Gili Trawangan, Phuket, Siem Reap, and Chiang Mai. Some of my favorite experiences were being able to visit the water temples and sacred monkey forest in Ubud, taking Tuk-Tuks in Thailand, and visiting an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. If I had to give advice to anyone, it would be to spend your money on travel 100%.

I’ve heard about those elephant sanctuaries and that must’ve been incredible to see in person. What adventures didn’t you get into in your travels? Now, as someone with such a rich background in music and entertainment, what was it like transitioning to affiliate? How did you end up as a Senior Marketing Strategist for Partnership Development at Advertise Purple? 

During the four years of undergrad at USC, I worked two years at Live Nation and then another two years at NBCUniversal in the partnership and marketing departments. I’m a really creative person by nature and wanted to tap into those talents by working in the entertainment industry. I’m beyond grateful for my experience—I learned so much in those four years and loved getting the corporate experience.

The reason I am not in the entertainment industry today is because I realized that I wanted to begin my career at a smaller company or startup, rather than a media conglomerate or large corporation. In the two years that I have been at Advertise Purple, I have experienced so much personal career growth and autonomy in my role. Being at an agency has also afforded me the ability to work with many brands across different verticals, which allows you to gain knowledge and become a master in the space. I also decided to veer away from the entertainment space because I found that my true passion was brand & partnership marketing, rather than working in the entertainment industry itself. At Advertise Purple, I act as a marketing consultant, providing strong brand guidance and advertising strategies to my clients. In this way, work is very fulfilling for me!

Data is everything here, that we know for sure. It’s always so interesting to hear about how each team uses data in their day-to-day. Speaking of which, how has the data-based tech that AdPurp offers—namely Purply—made your work more efficient?

Purply has really become my one-stop-shop for all my needs as an affiliate marketer. I’m often toggling through different client dashboards to pull reports and analyze data. The software is built to aggregate all the data from the brands we manage, which makes it easier to identify trends within the verticals, sub-verticals, and affiliate space at large. As a strategist and optimization specialist, it is essential that we utilize data in all our decisions and optimization strategies that we suggest to our clients. With more data aggregated, the more informed our decisions are, and thus, the greater ROI we will see on campaign performance.

Purply is a huge help with optimization and strategy. Seeing how our teams interact with the tech is amazing. So, what does an average day look like for you at AdPurp? What is your favorite part about working in this role and with your team?

As a Senior Marketing Strategist for Partnership Development, I help implement new departmental strategies, approach and tackle difficult situations, and help guide them to meet and exceed monthly, weekly and quarterly goals. My role is also very cross-functional, as I work closely with the account management, sales, finance, partnership, business operations, and tech department, to align and execute operative goals. I’m constantly managing different projects and initiatives, in addition to managing my own set of clients within the beauty, health & wellness, and accessory & jewelry categories. In addition to managing my own subset of clients, I work directly with affiliates to secure placement opportunities and optimizations for all of Advertise Purple clients.

My favorite part about working in this role is the people I work with. I love leading a team to help them achieve their career goals, all the while making their clients happy with positive program performance. 

Something I’m curious about is—how have your creative background and business degree benefitted you when it comes to working with clients on strategy and brand awareness? 

I have a really diverse background in sales, brand marketing, partnership marketing, and data analytics. This diverse background, in addition to my creative nature, has really helped me succeed here at Advertise Purple. My role requires all these attributes: sales to negotiate placements and budgets with affiliates; brand marketing to ensure a consistent connection between placements secured and brand messaging and audience; partnership marketing to help maintain great relationships with our affiliate partners; and data analytics to help shape optimization strategy and assist in the creation of reports for my clients. My creativity has also contributed to my overall success, as I can think outside of the box when it comes to company and department-wide initiatives to improve processes and overall efficiency and think of new marketing strategies to push performance for my clients. 

It sounds like your experience and passions have merged perfectly with what you’re doing now—love that. Shifting gears, if you’ve read my employee profiles before, you knew this one was coming. How has the pandemic been for you and what helped you through it? Was it running? Finding the best food spots in LA? Befriending neighborhood pups? Talk to us. 

Honestly, YES to all that. In the beginning, I was so bored that I started running 4-6 miles every day. Running was one of the things that let me get outside of my apartment when I was in it almost all day working from home. It’s also so meditative for me—I’m able to listen to music and tune everything out.

Other things that I did to help me cope were making banana bread (thank you TikTok trends), reading a book on the beach or at the Palisades Park, rewatching Yellowstone, and long drives down PCH. My family and friends were major support systems for me, too. I’m lucky to have such amazing people in my life that I could talk to every day, whether that be on FaceTime or in person.

I have to say, it seems like you found some awesome ways to pass the time mid-pandemic. Listening to music must’ve been a big win on your runs, too. Diving into that a little more, after all the festivals and concerts you’ve been to, who are some of your favorite live artists? 

Coldplay, Tame Impala, Flume, Rufus du Sol, Odesza, Lorde, Kanye, Disclosure, Anderson .Paak, Billie Eilish, and Bob Moses… tough to choose though because there are so many.

I’ve only seen a few of those artists, but can fully attest to how unreal they are live. Topic-jumping to something else equally as fun, is it true that you’ve been on the hunt for the best breakfast burritos in LA? What has that venture been like and what’s your favorite spot for them so far?

I’m going to preface my answer by acknowledging that I have extremely high, unrealistic standards for breakfast burritos. With that being said, let me walk you through the elements of my ideal breakfast burrito so that you understand my journey to find the best one on the west side.

For the perfect breakfast burrito, you need a crunch factor, ideally from hash browns, a toasted tortilla, and crispy bacon; cheesy folded eggs; avocado slices; and a spicy salsa. I’ve hit all the popular spots – Erewhon, Gjusta, Great White, Cofax, Lily’s Malibu, The Rooster, Tacos Tu Madre, Chit Chat, and Phanny’s, to name a few. Erewhon and Great White probably take the top spots but are a bit inconsistent. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll open a beachside cafe with the best breakfast burrito in Los Angeles. 

If you’ve been able to do all of what you’ve done in the last year, I can only imagine what life will look like for you post-pandemic. To close this interview, my last question for you is—what are you most looking forward to about the world starting to open back up again? 

Human connection! I really miss the super-specific feeling of just being in the middle of a crowd at the front of a concert, just no care in the world about my personal space. Or meeting someone new and not being afraid to give them a handshake or a hug. I get energy from being around people and am excited to meet new people and make new friends by exploring and traveling around the world. 

—————

Thank you, Taylor! It was a blast chatting with you and learning more about you both in and out of the realm of AdPurp. I think we’re all a little better off with and thankful for the burrito insight and gems you dropped about data-based strategies.

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