The term entrepreneurship isn’t merely what its literal definition explains. It is as volatile and unpredictable as the world of business. To comprehend and assimilate what the modern day entrepreneurs’ job description includes, we have to know, and sometimes even live, their stories.
Stories of determination and innovation. Stories of integrity, compassionate leadership and endurance. Stories which inspire and encourage. Stories which guide others in their own entrepreneurial journeys.
We at Insights Success, through this edition, 2020’s Most Successful Business Women To Watch, have endeavored across different industries, markets and disciplines in search of such stories. In light of this purpose we have striven towards, we’d like to bring to you, the story of Lauren Boyer, the CEO of Underscore Marketing.
Lauren’s career in marketing and strategy began in the mid 90’s, just as digital was becoming a viable communication channel. As an early pioneer, she was a part of some amazing teams, launching first-of-its-kind initiatives such as the first digital media campaign for SmithKline Beecham; the first website for Medicare Supplement and Replacement Insurance for Independence Blue Cross; dozens of first ever websites for mid-scale companies; and launching multiple dot com brands, including one she helped to lead, iAnswers.com.
Lauren’s focus towards generating ROI and her passion for finding the critical details that transform campaigns from good to outstanding, are exhibited through her proven expertise and experience. This includes: developing a projection approach for predicting ROI prior to media investment; teaching Wyeth Consumer Healthcare how to test and learn their way into leveraging ‘new media’ to reach new audience segments and extend their portfolio of brands; developing a methodology for a $100MM private publisher to create digital revenue streams incrementally and without cannibalization of the printed base portfolio; developing a grand scale multivariate test framework using fractional factorial analysis for understanding ROI potential in digital media across Pfizer Rx brands within the Pfizer for Living portfolio; and Helping a Fortune 100 company learn how to add TV media to their marketing mix. She carried this experience and many others to Underscore Marketing, where she was able to focus the team and her vision on helping marketers make media easier to implement and hold accountable.
Underscore Marketing is a unique solutions-based media company. “Many consider it an agency because of the focus on media planning, buying and campaign impact analysis, but it’s different than typical media agency in many positive ways,” says Lauren.
Underscore was built largely out of Lauren’s own experience, working on the client marketing side of the industry. “I have built it in the direction of what I always wanted from a media partner in my former roles,” she expresses. Every Underscore media program is developed with the clients’ end goals in mind. The team at Underscore figures out nuances that no one else thinks about, because it approaches the challenge from a different angle. This makes it evident that the results are consistently stronger when Underscore compares its work with other competitors.
“My role at Underscore is to lead the aggressive growth of the company through focused positioning, operational innovation, and a culture of enrichment and evolution. I believe Underscore is the model for how media and marketing agencies should, and will, evolve in the future,” states Lauren.
Values of Growth
Underscore’s culture is key to its healthy workplace success. It pervades all the company does and all it believes in. The company has five core values: Top-Notch Expertise, Assuming positive Intent (API), Confident Leadership, Cross-Functional Collaboration and Mindful Innovation. The team carries over these values into both its brick and mortar space as well as the remote offices. Employees are given clear and descriptive printed reminders of the company’s values as they walk in the door on their first day. Lauren believes, just knowing the values does not make a successful culture.
“We believe that core values are best realized through engagement. With our employees scattered throughout many time zones, investing in bringing employees together for all-company meetings, inter office travel, holiday events, community service, global holiday Secret Snowflakes are all important to breed happy and fulfilled employees. Throughout this all, we have learned that our employees not only like each other, but also appreciate learning from and about each other,” Lauren expresses.
Bequeathing the Keys to Success
When asked about her source of motivation, Lauren says, “I gain motivation from my deep need to share what I know with people who can apply it for their own growth. This has led me to a commitment to mentorship—internally with my team as well as externally with burgeoning entrepreneurs.”
“I look up to humble people who have experienced impressive success in their area of expertise and have chosen to lend their wisdom to others rather than keep it close to the vest or flaunt it. I have met many of these people as peers in Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO), the non-profit organization I participate actively in,” she adds.
In her advice to the aspiring and budding entrepreneurs, Lauren says, “Trust your gut and keep going in the direction that inspires you. Find other entrepreneurs to connect with and seek a mentor that truly wants to see you thrive. Be open and willing to move in different directions as long as they don’t change your grander vision. Whether you chose to bootstrap, raise funds or otherwise, do so in a way that doesn’t compromise your values. And, remember, the business is an entity and you are not one in the same.”