What does the DNA of an online marketer look like?


Greetings fellow IMC students and blog readers! My name is Jelise Ballon and I am thrilled to say out loud that I am officially half-way through the IMC program! The first half of this journey has been one part excitement, two parts knowledge, and a healthy dose of endurance. But I have to say I am learning a lot — professionally and personally — and I’m excited to start the second half of this journey and take you along for the ride.

Now, a little bit about me. I live just outside the town of Winchester,VA which is the self-proclaimed Apple Capital of the World! We are best-known for our beautiful scenery (located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains), for being the birth place of Patsy Cline, a key location during the Civil War (it is said that control of the town changed 72 times between the Union and Confederacy), and for the annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, which draws over 200,000 spectators to Winchester the first weekend in May each year.


The Patsy Cline house in Winchester, VA

Apple Capital of the World

Winchester, VA – Apple Capital of the World

Mario Lopez in the Apple Blossom parade

Mario Lopez was the Grand Marshal for the Apple Blossom feature parade earlier this year.

Having grown up in the suburbs of Washington, DC I really love living in the country and I think Winchester is one of the best places to raise a family. Speaking of which, my husband David and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary earlier this year. We have three kids, Hannah – 9, and twins, Daniel and Olivia – 7. I tell my kids often that they are so lucky to live where we do, to which they either stare at me blankly or roll their eyes.


A recent family photo, which was taken at a local dairy farm. I love the access to so much local agriculture in Winchester.

I did my undergraduate studies at Appalachian State University and majored in Communications.  If you’ve read my profile then you already know that the App State mascot is also the Mountaineer, so I like to tell people I can only attend schools where the mascot is a bearded man carrying firearms.


The Appalachian Sate mountaineer mascot, named Yosef.

WVU Mountaineer

The WVU Mountaineer

In my professional life I work for a $5 billion, global IT company as their global online marketing manager. This basically means I manage a network of about 30 websites across six different continents. I really love being part of a global company and getting to work with people all over the world. In fact most of my team resides in South Africa, which means I keep some pretty odd hours. Most days begin with a 6 a.m. conference call, and occasionally they end with a midnight call. But on the positive side I get to work from home, often in my pajamas.

I believe myself to be an online marketer at heart. Although my family has no idea what I do – seriously, just the other week at our Thanksgiving meal I quizzed my family members and asked them to tell me what it is they think I do.  I got everything from “you build websites” (yeah, like 15 years ago) to “ aren’t you the head of marketing?” (umm thanks for the promotion, but no). The only one who got it right was my cousin’s fiancé and she’s not even technically family yet (another of the many reasons why you rock, Jessica)!

But I digress. I really do feel like online marketing is a part of my DNA. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way implying I’m an expert on anything! In fact I’m pretty much humbled on a weekly basis with how much I don’t know and all that I should be doing better/faster/smarter in my job. What I mean when I say online marketing is part of my DNA is that it infiltrates most of my thought process and decision making in every aspect of my life.  I think in Facebook status updates. As soon as my kids say something funny I start mentally doing to the math to see if I can get it down to 160 characters. I scan QR codes at stores and restaurants just so I can evaluate if the destination is mobile-friendly. I email companies back to point out the typos in the eDMs they sent me. And, perhaps most embarrassing of all, after I post a blog update to my tiny old blog with only one follower (thanks mom-in-law), I check the analytics hourly to see how many people have read it.

Online marketer's DNA

The DNA of an online marketer

Perhaps it is my love of online marketing that led me to choose an online grad program. Or maybe it’s being accustomed to working remotely and at odd hours. Possibly it’s the fact that I’m a working mom trying to juggle career, family and school. Between you and me, I’m pretty sure it’s a little bit of all three that has made the IMC program such a good fit for me. I look forward to the second half of this crazy journey and sharing some of it with all of you.

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3 Responses to “What does the DNA of an online marketer look like?”

  1. Mama Pinky Says:

    If I keep reading articles like this maybe one day I’ll truly understand the complexity of your career. Very well written article and love your sense of humor! It’s been a pleasure to watch you learn and grow over the years.

  2. Are targeted ads an invasion of privacy or an improved browsing experience? « WVU IMC Student Blog Says:

    […] my viewpoint is tainted because, as I’ve already written on here, I’m an online marketer at heart, so I appreciate any new technology that will allow me to drive more qualified sales leads to my […]

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