#BehindtheSelfie with... Lauren Africa

This #WomensMonth, we go behind the selfie with Lauren Africa, founder and CEO of Digital Driven.
Africa captions this: “Quick selfie because I'm a winner of R30 #horseracing”

1. Where do you live, work and play?

Northern Suburbs, Hostile Paintball!

2. What’s your claim to fame?

I have a twin sister! It’s the best thing ever! We make beaded accessories in our quality time together.

I have brilliant ideas,*wink wink*

3. Describe your career so far.

At the age of 15, I was very interested in what my mother was doing as a digital account manager. She worked from home dealing with brands and agencies, doing client service, generating revenue and hitting targets – it all seemed like it rocked!

I wanted to do the cool things she was doing, so at the age of 16, I worked in retail during the school holidays and weekends; I gained an enormous amount of face-to-face client service experience and confidence to deal with clients.

After I matriculated I studied online marketing, and when I turned 20, I started my path in my first digital position as an advertising campaign manager.

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I always had the desire to grow from working for a boss to owning a digital publishing company, yet still working with brands and agencies.
Five years later I started thinking and planning for this company, until three years ago when I met a brilliant brain in the industry, who had the same brain farts as me. Two brains are always better than one, they say, so we went on and connected the two brains by connecting the two business ideas and so we became Digital Driven (DD).
We created more revenue for publishers by delivering more value to advertisers. We develop and implement solutions guaranteed to increase spend on our publisher partner sites.

Over the years, I’ve grown from managing direct ads and doing website designs to getting into social media and programmatic yield management and developing business marketing strategies. I’ve also implemented the setting up of huge corporate publishers’ website networks. I am strategically building publisher partnerships to form one enormous African network.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.

Carrot cake, my daughters, family time, rollerblading and paintball shooting.

5. What do you love about your industry?

The digital industry’s fast pace gives businesses countless opportunities to offer great services, the best part is that the pace of business has changed, as has the concept of regular ‘business hours’.
Today's technology makes it possible for businesses to be accessible to their clients all day, every day by email, phones, automated systems and even social media.

Shout out to the DD team! #noregularbusinesshours #royalclientservice

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

Morning prayers and coffee is the fuel for the day; thereafter it’s a buzz of emails, calls, video meetings and face-to-face meetings, proposals, as well as publisher and brand relationship building.

7. What are the tools of your trade?

My phone, Google’s programmatic and direct advertising tools.

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?

*Hands up* I don’t think there is such a thing, but I do believe that you do what you do that works for you.

9. List a few pain points the industry can improve on.

More managers and senior staff need to keep updated on the latest in digital tech and services. Too many of them are in a position where they don’t constantly educate themselves.

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When facing the music in digital, we need to be aggressive about staying on top of the ‘what, who, where, when and the why’s, otherwise you’ll be the boss that ‘doesn’t know what you’re doing’. It makes employees’ jobs difficult and creates endless red tape.

10. What are you working on right now?

We are growing our publisher network.

11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.

I mentioned this in the above: “Do what you do that works for you.”

12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

At night, in bed!

13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?

I make a delicious curry potjie.

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?


15. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?

Screenshots of shoes and pictures of my daughters.

16. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?

As challenging as it would be, try to stay on top of the new tech.

Simple as that. Follow Africa on Twitter and Instagram; and click through to Digital Driven’s press office for the latest updates.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.
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About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality. She's also on the Women in Marketing: Africa advisory panel, and can be reached at ...