Tell us a little about your background and what your current role is at MealPro?
I developed a solid background in marketing and finance for my B.A. in Economics at UC Santa Cruz, as well as a strong appetite for entrepreneurship. I recognized an untapped need in the lifestyle of millennials and of fitness minded professionals in general: we all look for healthy food, for meals that can support our athletic goals and that are customized for each one of us. That was the vision behind MealPro, a fitness meal delivery service that operates exclusively through an e-commerce portal. We built out this vision with a small team of web developers, personal trainers, and nutrition specialists. I play many roles in this startup, but focus on our digital marketing strategy and on extending our footprint with the target audience in the web. I engage directly with developers and designers, to ensure that every element of our positioning is consistent, and that our customers have a positive experience when they navigate our digital property, and of course when they enjoy our meals!
How did you hear about the SF State’s College of Extended Learning?
I was researching applied marketing programs with a rigorous academic curriculum. What stood out to me is that the classes at SF State are taught by industry professionals and the program is very thorough, as it addresses all aspects of digital marketing from Analytics to social media. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that lessons take place in a real classroom, not just online, and this led me to expect a high bandwidth exchange with instructors and with fellow students. It turned out, this was indeed the case.
What program did you participate in and what attracted you to enroll?
I participated in the Social Media Marketing Program. I found meaning in the program as I saw classes to all be conveying the same message from different angles of digital e.g., social, PR, web… It seemed like a great way to bring it all together, and to compare and contrast each type of media.
What courses were most impactful in helping you grow your business and win new customers?
My favorite was Social Media - I learned how crucial social media can be to both the Awareness and Retention stage of the buyer’s journey. Our instructor broke us up into groups and we discussed how we should differentiate our messages depending on the social media platform we were using. As I look at the marketing strategy I have developed at MealPro, I recognize many of the insights that I have gleaned during the Social Media class.
What teaching moments in the classroom were especially helpful?
Throughout the semester our instructors arranged us in small group to bounce ideas off each other and work on case studies. I found the peer-to-peer interaction to be not only intellectually stimulating but also personally engaging, as it turned my classmates from familiar faces into friends. Some of us still keep in touch today.
How did SF State’s College of Extended Learning help you reach your goals?
Prior to the class, MealPro’s social media operated primarily as a company billboard. After the course, I was able to turn MealPro into a revenue generating platform, that not only raised awareness for our brand but also drove traffic to our website and made our offering more relevant. What I learned about Google Analytics allowed me to better segment traffic and to understand better our lead generation sources. This reduced the guesswork and allowed us to double down on the best channels for revenue growth.
What advice would you give to other prospective students – especially entrepreneurs - interested in entering SF State’s College of Extended Learning programs?
Take advantage of every opportunity to better understand and characterize the company you work for or the venture you have started. Use yourself as a case study! Throughout the program, teachers will assign you projects such as analyzing the social media strategy of a company of your choice. They encourage you to pick the company you know best, and you will end up bouncing off new business ideas under their expert supervision. Also, be open to peer feedback - some of the best ideas for MealPro came from my classmates.