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Improving Arts Websites with Data and Curiosity
Episode 19

Improving Arts Websites with Data and Curiosity

CI to Eye with Jenny Kreizman

This episode is hosted by Erik Gensler.

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Erik and Jenny talk about flexing one’s curiosity to learn new skills, what it is like to be a woman in a highly technical role, and how arts organizations can better use website analytics and optimization to improve their web experiences.

Erik Gensler: Well, Jenny, thanks so much for being here.

Jenny Kreizman: I’m so happy to be here, 20 feet from my desk. (laughs)

Erik Gensler: (laughs) You’re from North Carolina. What brought you to New York City?

Jenny Kreizman: This job. (laughs), New York City wasn’t on my radar as a place that I wanted to live. I grew up in North Carolina. I went to school in North Carolina. so I knew that I needed to do something a little bit different, and a city was definitely feeling like the next step. I had a friend who moved to Chicago when I was younger, and I spent a lot of time there, so that was kind of my city experience. So I always thought it would be Chicago. but as I was applying for jobs, this one popped up and it was like a match made in Heaven, and it brought me here, and whether I wanted to be here or not, here I am. (laughs)

Erik Gensler: Well, it popped up because we worked with your organization.

Jenny Kreizman: Yeah, that’s true. You did. Carolina Performing Arts.

Erik Gensler: I remember you reached out to me and I was like, “Well, we just have to first make sure that your boss is cool with this.” (laughs)

Jenny Kreizman: (laughs) Yes.

Erik Gensler: And you were like, “He knows.” Was like, “Okay, now we can talk.”

Jenny Kreizman: Yeah, yeah. We had hired Capacity around that time to, to work at Carolina Performing Arts, which is a presenter with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And I remember the kick-off call with you guys, and I was so excited, ’cause I think it just, I didn’t even realize that this was a thing you could do, and it’s so closely aligned with what I was interested in about my job at the time, which was dealing with the website, managing emails, thinking about social, and knowing that I wasn’t doing it effectively. And the idea that there were people out there that were, and that I could be with them, was really exciting. and it was a natural end to my time there. Those, positions, the kind of coordinator-level positions, I think see like a turnover around every two or three years or so, and I had worked with the organization as a student, and it was time for a change. So everyone was on board.

Erik Gensler: Well, we’re very lucky to have you.

Jenny Kreizman: (laughs)

Erik Gensler: How did you find your way to the analytics team? I think it’s a interesting story of your sort of progress, here at CI.

Jenny Kreizman: I started here as a digital marketing assistant on one of our campaign consulting teams, which I loved. And about a year in, I knew, our analytics team was expanding here, and I had always been really interested in the technical side of kind of the campaign work and how the data gets between platforms, how do we track conversions? How does the puzzle fit together? I was never really satisfied everything just working.

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jenny Kreizman: I needed to know why it was working. When we started using new reporting tools, I wanted to, you know, figure out the challenges there and tweak things and, again, understand why things were working, and I think that helped me feel like a better fit for a team that was a little more technical. so I spent a summer on analytic summer camp doing half of the job I was doing previously, and half analytics work, to kind of get a feel for it. Which I really appreciated the opportunity to try before just really switching gears entirely, ’cause it moved me a bit away from what I thought I would be doing for a while.

Erik Gensler: How long have you been on the work force total?

Jenny Kreizman: Four years.

Erik Gensler: Four years.

Jenny Kreizman: Mm-hmm.

Erik Gensler: And, I just have to say, that’s astounding. You’ve only been in the work force for four years, particularly because over the last year or so, you’ve become so strong in all these really complex tools, like far better than I am. These tools and, and platforms and programming languages, and not just Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, but really, web programming and logic, like writing regular expressions and understanding CSS and HTML and JavaScript. And those are really intimidating platforms. So, I’m curious, how did you approach learning these things that can be just super intimidating?

Jenny Kreizman: I feel grateful to have had good mentors. So I got a lot of teaching here that I really appreciate and a lot of education. I was given room to play and try things. A lot of those things intimidated me, too, at first. I think when the idea was first broached of me moving to focus on analytics my first thought was I can’t do that. I’m not the right person for that. So even though I had, this curiosity for the technical piece of my job, I still felt like there was a barrier between me and this presumed, you know, technical side of things. I was just talking to a friend who is a software engineer, and she went to like a coding Boot Camp to learn all of that, and we had a conversation where she said, “I think anybody can do this.” It’s just words that, and it’s a language that you have to learn, and it’s, the lingo, and there’s definitely a lot of gate-keeping in that industry in particular, and I think a little bit of that can bleed over into any, any organization that feels a little more technical. Where it feels like there’s barrier to entry if you don’t talk the talk. So a lot of it was just learning how to ask the right questions, how to understand bigger concepts so you can drill down into smaller concepts. And it wasn’t all at once. It wasn’t like a switch flipped on in my brain and I understood JavaScript. It was, “Let’s just have a conversation once about the idea of JavaScript, and then let’s just look at it a lot.” I read a lot of random articles on the internet. I do a lot of Googling. I signed up for free code academy courses to learn more about HTML and CSS. So it was really about finding free pockets of time to dedicate to learning, and I feel very fortunate that it’s my job to do that. And I recognize that who has a million other tasks may not be able to find the time to teach themselves JavaScript, but if you start by just thinking about the bigger framework, that could be really helpful.

Erik Gensler: Yeah, I think that’s a really nice segue into talking about how arts marketers, I think are very intimidated by some of these platforms. And year every year when we do our digital marketing benchmark survey, we see that consistently 90% of arts marketers feel like they’re not using web analytics, its potential, and I think that’s particularly confusing and frustrating, because it’s a free tool-

Jenny Kreizman: Mm-hmm.

Erik Gensler: … and like, look at all the pretty charts and graphs. So, I’m curious, having really spent a lot of time understanding the tool and helping arts organizations use these tools, why is that number still at 90%?

Jenny Kreizman: I think it’s what we were just talking about. it just feels so intimidating. I think it’s that, it feels intimidating because it’s numbers. I studied global studies in college, and arts entrepreneurship, which I think is somewhat related to what I’m doing now, but there’s not, there’s no math in there. There’s no science in there. And for the longest time, I was afraid of Google Analytics, ’cause it was numbers. And it was new words and new metrics that I had to think about. And I felt like it required a whole set, a whole suite of technical skills that I didn’t have to even utilize it at all. So I think that’s one barrier to entry, is it feels mathematical, it feels, it is quantitative, but it feels like it’s something that’s not for me, because I come from this humanities space, and that’s definitely not the case., I think it’s time, it feels like another platform you have to learn, and it’s easy enough just to log in. The first screen that Google Analytics lands you on must be the most important pieces of information, so let me just write down the numbers that I see. I’ll learn a couple ways to like reset the date range, and I can report on, you know, visits to my site, the amount of time people are spending there, and I’ve, quote, unquote, done Google Analytics. I’ve checked the box over in my report. So I think that the, the next step of going a little bit further feels like there’s a void between that, that first step and what comes after that, and I think there’s so much in the platform. There’s like a hundred reports. people don’t know what to do. They don’t know where to look. They click around and they see things that look interesting, but they don’t know what they mean, and everyone just gets overwhelmed, and, and turns it off and goes back to what they were doing before. That feels easier.

Erik Gensler: Right. So, what advice would you give them in terms of how to approach it past that first logging in, viewing the dashboard?

Jenny Kreizman: I think there’s two things. one is not to be afraid to click around and explore things. You’re not gonna break anything just by doing that. And then two, even separate from Google Analytics, not in the platform, one of my favorite exercises that we do here that really changed the way I think is this kind of site objective KPI definition exercise, where you take a few steps back and you actually ask yourself, “Why do I even have a website? What is the point of my website?” And then you come up with an answer, which is your primary site objective. It’s to sell tickets and drive revenue. It’s to provide information about grants or education initiatives. And then from there, you ask, “Okay, well, what are the most important metrics for understanding if I’m doing a good job at meeting that objective?” If it’s sales and revenue, then I care about sales and revenue. How many tickets did I sell online today? what’s my e-commerce conversion rate? And you come up with like 10 metrics that are really important to look at on a regular basis, and that narrows down all those reports you need to look at. You don’t have to go look at some fancy behavioral flow report every single day if all you really need to know is the percentage of people that come to your site that bought tickets. and from there you can dive in a little deeper, but I think that’s a really helpful place to get started.

Erik Gensler: I think it’s really helpful understanding those frameworks and, and understanding it’s narrowing down goals, ’cause there’s just so much noise, but I think one thing that makes it click for a lot of people is what Google Analytics really is, which is-

Jenny Kreizman: Mm-hmm.

Erik Gensler: … a tool to understand how your website’s performing, and what it’s not.

Jenny Kreizman: Mm-hmm.

Erik Gensler: And what is it not?

Jenny Kreizman: What is it not? (laughs) It is not a tool to tell you a, the true success of all of your marketing campaigns, which I think people, lean on it for. and I think it can be tempting, because there is a report in there that makes it look like Google Analytics is telling you all the traffic from email, all the traffic from social, all the traffic from AdWords. So it must be able to tell you which one of those channels is most successful. That is one of the misleading elements of Google Analytics. I think there’s a lot of metrics and reports that are a little bit misunderstood, and that one in particular, I think, is dangerous, because the way that Google Analytics reports on the success of those channels really undervalues channels that rely on impression-based activity, like social platforms. We know that so much of interaction on social is someone viewing a video or a really engaging piece of content, engaging with that maybe on their phone on social. And then later, they remember you as an organization and they come back through other means. And because of the way those reports are configured, Google Analytics can’t know that somebody saw a piece of your content on social, and then came to the site through other means. So it really does undervalue the, the value of an impression on those channels. So it really isn’t the platform to understand how successful your marketing mix is. What it is, is the platform for understanding when somebody clicks through from those channels, what are they doing on the website. The, the actual in-the-moment behavior on your website. How are people engaging with the content you’ve created? The modules you’ve created, the elements of your website. How effectively is that serving them? That’s what it is the platform for.

Erik Gensler: What are common mistakes that you see in how organizations are implementing Google Analytics? I think also the simplicity of the platform, of being able to log in and see these charts and graphs.

Jenny Kreizman: Mm-hmm.

Erik Gensler: I don’t know if people are questioning that, the integrity of that data and-

Jenny Kreizman: Mm-hmm/

Erik Gensler: … and, and how it’s all set up. So I’d love you to talk about, when you, when you start working with an organization, you look at the implementations, and what are some of the, the challenges you come across?

Jenny Kreizman: I think websites are complicated. They’re clunky, some of them are built poorly. and anytime we add code to a website, which is what you have to do to install Google Analytics, there’s potential for issues. And I think we have websites for a long time. They go through upgrades every now and again. We tweak things. And anytime we tweak our website code, we have the potential to tweak our Google Analytics code. So I think even in that basic installation, when you first set it up, and maybe you’re not the person who set it up. You probably inherited a set-up that somebody on your team 10 years ago said, “We gotta get that Google Analytics down.” (laughs) And so you’ve just inherited the set-up and you haven’t really questioned how it’s installed. So I think revisiting that and making sure it’s done properly is helpful, ’cause a lot of, like you said, data integrity issues just come from that tiny piece, like it accidentally gets put down twice on some pages, or we created this whole new interactive experiential part of our website and we forgot to put Google Analytics down ’cause we weren’t thinking about it. So there could be pages that don’t have it, pages that have it more than once. pages that have it but it’s set up incorrectly. So I think that that’s a huge thing to be the first thing to look at if you’re auditing your set-up.

Erik Gensler: Mm-hmm. And then past that, sending it up to capture more than just the initial click data.

Jenny Kreizman: Yeah, yeah. So, out of the box, when you first install Google Analytics, you have some great information about your website. You know, how many people are visiting and you know what pages they’re going to, but you’re lacking a lot more of that custom stuff. So a few things are just boxes you have to check in your Admin settings. By default you can’t see a gender breakdown of people who come to your site or, age distribution. That’s just a box that you have to check. because of privacy, I guess, you have to enable it. But then there’s richer, more custom interactions, like things that you can click on that don’t cause a new page to load, like a drop-down accordion, or playing a video, or even non-click things, like scrolling on the page or when certain elements become visible. All of that requires a much more custom set-up. there’s a lot of great tools that facilitate that, but it can be a bit more technical. So I think if you just have an out-of-the-box implementation, you’re missing a huge part of the story. What people are doing on your website. And even if you can’t create those technical solutions yourself, you can start to think about, what are those actions that I wanna understand about my website? ‘Cause then it makes the conversation with a technical partner a lot more productive.

Erik Gensler: Right. How can arts administrators best use Google Analytics?

Jenny Kreizman: I think Google Analytics is best used when it’s not just a tool for reporting what happened last week. You know, how many site visitors did we have? How much time did they spend? But when we use it as a tool to inform decision-making about the future. that requires a lot of the things we already talked about, like making sure our data is reliable, that we can trust it, that we’re tracking all of the things about behavior on website. And it also requires putting on our analyst hat and actually telling a story of user behavior. So those KPIs that we talked about earlier, conversion rate sessions, stuff like that, will tell us the, what is happening, but they don’t really tell us the why. So we dig a little deeper. We learn why things are the way they are, and we tell a bit of a story about user behavior on our website. And once we have a story, we can really build a website that meets user needs. And not just build a brand-new website, but optimize our site. So make changes to it based on what users are telling us with data. There’s a great quote, and I, I can’t source it, but it’s that “The plural form of anecdote is data.” So maybe one person calls the box office and complains that they can’t find certain information on the detail page, but data can tell you that 3,000 people went to the detail page and only, you know, 4% of them actually bought tickets, and it can flag an issue for you. And then really putting ourselves in the shoes of our users and thinking, what is the problem? How can we isolate it? How can we optimize for it? Is gonna help put you on a path to creating better experiences for your users. So, data is really gonna help you focus, prioritize, isolate problems on your website or successes on your website. And really just help you understand what’s happening there in the first place, because so few people know.

Erik Gensler: Right. We’ve been doing a lot of work lately around website optimization, and you just presented it in Boot Camp-

Jenny Kreizman: Mm-hmm.

Erik Gensler: … about website optimization, and I think that is, to me that pulled all the nebulous pieces together about how to use Google Analytics and how to optimize your website. So I’d like you to talk about website optimization. Well, first of all, what is it?

Jenny Kreizman: Yeah, so what is website optimization? So the idea, I guess, what we were talking about at Boot Camp and what I’m talking about here is iterative optimization, ’cause I guess optimization is just improvement. but this idea of iterative optimization is the concept of small improvements rather than major overhauls, and we talk about it so much in the context of going through a major website redesign, as I’m sure many of the listeners of this podcast have suffered through. (laughs) I don’t know anyone who finds it a hundred-percent enjoyable process. So, arts organizations and many other organizations have a tendency to create these gorgeous websites and then let them sit for like three to five years until they start to look dated. They’re not quite reflective of our design standards, who we are as an organization. And then they go through another major overhaul and the process repeats itself. So iterative optimization thinks about the website differently as something that is constantly evolving through small changes that we make to improve user experience. So rather than overhauling the total website, how can we look at our production Detail pages? And then within our production Detail pages, how can we look at the side bar? Or a call to action? Or the way our calendar is configured? Or the hierarchy of information? So just small pieces, making small changes, like ultimately have the same impact, which is an improved user experience and improved conversion rate.

Erik Gensler: . And there’s some really good tools to help with that. That I think pair very nicely with Google Analytics that you talked about it at Boot Camp. I’d love you to talk about Google Optimize.

Jenny Kreizman: So going hand in hand with iterative optimization is this idea of AB testing and proving that our theories about web behavior are actually effective. So just like you can redesign an entire website, and the hope is that it’s an improvement, there’s always the chance that it’s not an improvement. What if you invested all that time and all those resources and conversion rate is down? Same thing that happened with iterative optimization. You can’t just say, “Oh, I feel like this content would do better on this side of the page, so I’m just gonna move it.” that could hurt your conversion rate, and because correlation does not equal causation, there’s no way to prove that the change you actually made had an impact. So we pair iterative optimization with AB testing to ensure that our changes are actually gonna be effective. And the idea behind AB testing related to the website is we are able through tools, like Google Optimize, to send half of visitors of a page to one version of the page, like the preexisting version of the page, and half of all visitors to another version of the page, where we’ve just changed one thing, like the color of a button or the button’s placement, or we’ve changed copy. And then in a controlled environment, we’re able to analyze our results and say, “The change led to a 10% lift in conversion rate,” or “It didn’t, it, you know, broke everything and conversion rate is down.” And we know with confidence how we wanna move forward. And the idea isn’t we just stop there and we only one, run one test. If we have a better-performing version of the page through iterative optimization, what’s the next step? What’s the next iteration of the page? How do we keep improving and keep growing? ‘Cause no website is perfect.

Erik Gensler: Can you give an example of one of those tests that has been successful? Where you’ve seen a, a lifting conversion because of a test, the change you made?

Jenny Kreizman: I think one of the really early tests we were running when we first started working, with AB testing was this idea that we know that the mobile experience on our website is not optimal for users. And a lot of that is due to maybe a third-party ticketing platform that we work with, where we’re sending people to a site that we don’t really have any control over. Maybe it’s not a hundred-percent branded, like our organization. And we don’t have a ton of control over that. There’s not much we can do. So our idea was, what if we could give mobile users another experience? They have their phone in their hands. Let’s make it really easy for them to call the box office and talk to a person. So a really early test we ran that we’ve actually replicated across a lot of clients is just next to a Buy Tickets button on our mobile Detail pages, creating a Tap to Call button that links directly to the box office. And I think in every instance where we’ve tested that, we feel it’s powerful enough to duplicate, we’ve seen a huge lift in calls, and we’re able to, by working with the box office, get an estimate of what percentage of those calls lead to conversions, and we see a lift in conversion rates. So, I think if you’re thinking about tests to try, that’s a great one to start with, since we’ve seen it work for so many people. More recently, we ran a test for Jacob’s Pillow to kind of reduce friction on their website. We talked about it at Boot Camp. So they, this was a great example, I think, of, lots of or-, departments working together and thinking about the people on your front lines as really having the, the insight into user experience on your website. So Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, their box office, got complaints that it was really hard to figure out how to buy tickets on a mobile device. And we looked a little deeper and saw that a lot of mobile traffic was entering on the home page. And there wasn’t really a clear call to action on the home page about what to do next, about how to buy tickets. You actually had to open the mobile navigation to even see a “Buy Tickets” button. And using data, we looked a little bit further using Google Analytics data, and saw that like 13% of people were even opening the navigation. So you go deeper and deeper and you start to realize, okay, people are having no opportunity to figure out what the next step is. They’re coming to the site. They’re confused. Maybe they’re scrolling around. And with each of these moments of friction, you’re giving them a poor user experience. Even though the site is beautiful, and it’s responsive on mobile, and it’s easy to use, they created this gorgeous website but there was still an opportunity to improve the experience. So using Google Optimize, free AB testing software, we created a new version of the home page where we just stuck a “Buy Tickets” button right there. And we saw like a 17% lift in people getting to their ticketing site. we added another button to the season listing and saw I think like a 14, 15% lift in people, you know, browsing performances. So that was a really cool one. And it was neat to get lots of departments on board, and I think they went back to the box office and congratulated the person who had brought the idea that it was successful.

Erik Gensler: That’s awesome. I also love the example that you raised from Goodman Theater-

Jenny Kreizman: Yeah.

Erik Gensler: … because that’s, I think that’s one that’s very tactical and easy to understand. So can you share that one?

Jenny Kreizman: Yeah, that one was a lot of fun. So with the Goodman Theatre in Chicago had a production of A View From the Bridge that had stellar, stellar reviews from like ten different publications. just like five stars, “This is a marvel, it’s so innovative.” And we could see that they wanted to get all of those reviews on the page, but wanted to do it in a way that worked with their existing template. And there wasn’t, you know, a module on the page specifically for reviews or a, a bucket to put them in. So they created this rotating carousel of one review after another, and they put it towards the top of the page. But it was about three to four seconds between each review. There wasn’t a way to scroll through them, or any understanding of that you were on review two out of 12. And so our theory was that people weren’t seeing all of this content, that many of them probably didn’t even know it was rotating. So the new version of the page we created our B version. We froze the carousel on one of the reviews, and we took the rest of them and auto-exposed them in the side bar in the right-hand rail, so that as people scrolled down the page, they could just see one after another, all this stellar review content. So it was sort of about overwhelming them with reviews in a way, which I think intuitively may not feel like the right thing to do. It might feel like clutter or noise. But we’re able to test it. So our catchphrase is “You should test that.” And we saw a lift in conversion rate from the experiment of 14%, which was huge. And that page was getting a lot of traffic. The show extended. And we just heard from Goodman, yesterday or the day before that they’re working with their developers to make that change permanent. So now they can say, you know, “There’s, we see the, the effectiveness of this change, and we can back up the money we’re spending on, on making it a permanent change.”

Erik Gensler: That’s amazing. What about a test you ran that didn’t work?

Jenny Kreizman: A test we ran that didn’t work. I mean, that’s probably 50% of the tests we run.

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jenny Kreizman: It’s always a, a process. we just ran a test with Wolf Trap, where in their main navigation there’s like four big links, and one of them says Tickets, and that’s the one that you click on when you think you’re gonna go buy tickets. And we were looking at landing pages there and trying to figure out how we could improve the experience of someone clicking on that to find information. and we saw that the calendar page was a lot more visual than the tickets landing page. It seemed like a better user experience just from everything we’ve learned about user experience in this process, for browsing, for understanding what’s on next. It was a little less marketing heavy, so there weren’t these like big promo images that took up a lot of the page. It was cleaner. It was simple. It was more conducive to browsing. So we were curious if we drove users to that calendar page instead, if we could see a lift in conversion rate. And it’s almost fun, ’cause, because Wolf Trap gets so much traffic, we actually ran an A, B, C, D test. So we had four versions of it. It was such a simple change to make. We were just changing where people went when they clicked on things. So we had a lot of different versions we wanted to try. You know, the base line, which is, you click on “Tickets” and go to the tickets page. We tried, you click on “Tickets” but you go to the calendar page. We tried adding the calendar as a separate link to the navigation. and there might’ve been one more, but I, I can’t remember what it is right now. And we were so sure that the calendar page was really gonna be a better user experience, but at the end of it all, we couldn’t prove a lift. everything was sort of all over the place. They all performed relatively the same. In fact, the original page I think held, held the strongest. We did a lot of segmenting. We broke it down by device. We looked at users that would have, you know, more intent to actually click. We got rid of people who we, who, through what we know about Google Analytics data and web behavior, wouldn’t fall into the category of people who would click in the navigation at all. And we just couldn’t, it wasn’t provable. So, you know, back to the drawing board. We’ll try something different next time. But we learned a little bit more about their site, about what their users want. And we were fortunate to be able to try four different ideas at once.

Erik Gensler: That’s awesome. At Boot Camp you talked about the, the mindset of testing and, and I love this. And it’s, it’s, I think it ties into such bigger frameworks about an organization and a mentality. I’d love to hear what, what you think about, you know, how AB testing really relates to, in some ways, mindset and workplace culture.

Jenny Kreizman: It’s so tied into it. I think AB testing in itself is experimentation. It’s not actually optimization. Through AB testing, you’re just learning. You’re just investing in, in understanding your audience. And I think that idea, that we’re not actually doing anything right now. We’re not redesigning the website. We’re just learning about our audience. To be able to do that, to have the freedom to do that, requires a culture that enables it, that encourages you to try new things, to experiment with new software. Not so much like, “This is the shiny new thing, so we have to be doing it. All hands on deck.” But I think, I was just listening to the podcast with, Meghan Keeney Anderson from HubSpot. And she talked about her task force for new ideas, where they put a couple people on something for three months, and they try it, and then at the end they evaluate it. And I think AB testing, that’s sort of where it thrives. It’s not, “Let’s abandon everything we’re doing and this is now the way think about our website.” So I think we need organizational cultures that value that, to use the techie word, agile approach, to doing business, to understanding that there’s gonna be a lot of new things on the market that we’re going to wanna try, and we need to be open to the fact that they may not be right for us. So having support from our teams, from our managers, that allows us to take the time to experiment and to learn about our audience, and to be an organization that values a long-term growth mindset to the website and not a “Everybody let’s pause for a year while we go through this major web overhaul, and then we can go back to doing our jobs.” You know, business as usual. So it really does require shifting the mindset to thinking about long-term growth and investment in serving the user.

Erik Gensler: Absolutely. So speaking of tests, I know you love personality tests-

Jenny Kreizman: (laughs)

Erik Gensler: … and I think here at CI we love personality tests in general, and one thing we do is everyone takes the Myers-Briggs. So, what’s, what is your Myers-Briggs profile?

Jenny Kreizman: So, I am an ENFP. And what that means is that I am extroverted, so it’s E versus I, so I have extroverted tendencies. The next letters are N versus S, which is sort of, are you a, a big picture thinker or are you more about, you know, the steps and what’s right in front of you? Then it’s F versus, what is it? F or-

Erik Gensler: Thinking. Thinking versus feeling.

Jenny Kreizman: Yeah. T versus F. So, I’m definitely a feelings person, which is when you’re making decisions, are you kind of thinking with your feelings or are you stepping back and kind of separating yourself from that? I’m a hard F, like, definitely.

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jenny Kreizman: (laughs) That’s the one that I feel most strong about. And then the end is P versus J, which is judging versus perceiving, and it’s not like you’re judgmental and you’re not. It’s sort of how you get things done. So J is say, “Okay, I see the due date, and I know what I need to do. Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 to get there.” And Ps are, you know, “I’ll meet you there, but how I get there I’m not really sure.”

Erik Gensler: Right.

Jenny Kreizman: So I think I can lean into one or the other. I think a workplace challenges us to, to… I think Jennifer , your executive coach, who uses the term, “stretch.” So at work we stretch into our J, you know, or we stretch into our T or something like that. So I can stretch a little bit on, on either ends of that, into my introvert or into my J. But I’m pretty much an ENFP.

Erik Gensler: Wow. How have you found that framework to be useful or perhaps not useful in, in working with your colleagues here or clients?

Jenny Kreizman: I think a framework is helpful in that it’s a common language to talk about abstract things. So we talk so much about culture here and how to best serve our teammates. And we recently grew our team. We doubled in size from two people to four. So I think having that common language to understand how people learn, how they ask questions, how they approach problem-solving, is really helpful. But I also think we have to be really wary, and not put people in boxes.

Erik Gensler: Mm-hmm.

Jenny Kreizman: And I think we love personality frameworks here, but it can be easy to fall into the trap of saying, you know, “Oh, well, you’re this or you’re that, so you can’t be this. You can’t be that.” even if it just comes up in casual conversation ’cause it’s fun to kind of, I don’t know, I feel we’ve been taking these quizzes forever, be it-

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jenny Kreizman: … like my Teen Vogue, that asked me-

Erik Gensler: Yeah.

Jenny Kreizman: … which celebrity, whatever, are you? There’s this tendency to wanna identify, and to simplify. But people are complex. We contain multitudes. We stretch a lot into either of those places. So, I try and be really careful in not assuming that people are fixed and inflexible. and always knowing that, that people are capable of change. So I think that’s an important thing to always keep in mind.

Erik Gensler: Certainly. You mentioned the analytics team growing from two to four, and I love that, three out of four of our analytics team are women. And in very highly technical roles, and I don’t think that that is necessarily something you see too much. So I’d love your thoughts on, you know, being, not… I mean, obviously I don’t wanna gender stereotype and these are prickly conversations sometimes, but I’m just interested, because I feel like you’re passionate about this topic.

Jenny Kreizman: I feel very passionately about being a woman in tech, and I think I’ve, I felt that way even when I wasn’t on our analytics team and we were doing… I think this organization is mostly women, and they’re all doing technical work. Again, I think it’s a bit of that barrier to entry with language. But every day, women in this office are solving complicated technical issues, and I think even entering this work environment, that felt very powerful to me. like I said, I have friends that work in tech-tech, and it’s a very different experience there, so I feel grateful every day to work in an office of powerful ladies. So, thinking about analytics specifically, and that presumed barrier because of language or because of skill set, I, something that is really important to me is democratizing information, and making a subject accessible, because so much of it is just the door being opened, and having the opportunity to learn it. And I really try and diminish, language from my colleagues that says, “Oh, well, I couldn’t do that, so I’m really glad you’re doing it.” Or-

Erik Gensler: Mm.

Jenny Kreizman: …this tendency to say, “You’re smarter than me. You get this thing.” But intelligence comes in so many forms. And people here are doing really incredible work, and just because I speak one language, and I have different words to describe what I do, it’s not a measure of intelligence. So I truly believe that everybody in this office could do my job, and it’s just a matter of resourcing and needing to keep people distributed. So, I think it’s just having the time to learn, having the curiosity and the desire to challenge yourself-

Erik Gensler: Mm-hmm/

Jenny Kreizman: …those are things that you can’t just like instill in people.

Erik Gensler: One of the reasons I wanted to talk to you today was really for that, for that, that inspiration, that anyone, with enough will and curiosity can learn things that are scary and become better at them. And I think this is such an amazing example of you coming here with none of these specific skills and now really having such mastery of it. I really think it’s inspiring.

Jenny Kreizman: Thank you.

Erik Gensler: Yeah.

Jenny Kreizman: There, there’s been a lot challenging myself. The, the saboteur in my brain telling me I can’t do something or I don’t have the background, so how can I do it? And I know I still have a lot to learn and room to grow, but it really is mindset and acceptance that you won’t know everything, but taking a first step is really the way to get there.

Erik Gensler: Definitely. So speaking of personal growth, what’s something you’ve learned in the last year that’s been profound in the way that you work or think?

Jenny Kreizman: I’ve learned a lot of profound things in the last year, and the many years before that, but I think this year in particular. In my personal life into my global life, has been a year of self-evaluating and thinking about myself as it relates, as I relate to the rest of the world. And I mentioned this a bit in the last question, but I’ve really just tried to stop diminishing myself. I have got one life to live. The people in my life are so valuable, there’s no time to be wasted, on thinking that I can’t do something. So going back to the saboteur, really trying to crush that. And, and stop saying that I can’t do something because of X, Y, and Z. Or, an investment of my time isn’t worthwhile because X, Y, Z. Like time is all we have. So trying to use that powerfully, productively, spent in the company of people I value. This is like very woo-woo, but I’m just trying to cut a lot of toxicity out of my life. And inspire my, you know, friends and people close to me to feel that way. And I think I can apply that to work and my personal life. But that’s really been, I think after all of the chaos of, you know, the end of 2016, it’s just been a, “You got to get your mind right. You gotta get your house in order before you can help other people.” So I’ve been trying to kind of do those things next to each other. Take care of myself and, and take care of others at the same time.

Erik Gensler: That’s amazing. And I think you learned that at a much younger age than, than I did. I think I was well into my 30s before I was able to clearly articulate that so well. So, thanks for that.

Jenny Kreizman: I think I’m gonna be learning it for a long time. But I-

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jenny Kreizman: …I can say-

Erik Gensler: Yeah.

Jenny Kreizman: …you know, very eloquently-

Erik Gensler: Yeah.

Jenny Kreizman: …that I’ve, I am now a, a toxicity-free person, but-

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jenny Kreizman: …it’s easier to say it than to do it every day in practice.

Erik Gensler: Then you read the news and it’s like “Aaah!” (laughs)

Jenny Kreizman: Right. Back into my hole. (laughs)

Erik Gensler: Right. What is something you think you’re really good at, and what is one thing that you’re working on to improve?

Jenny Kreizman: This one’s easy for me. I am really good at talking, and I am always working to be a better listener. Always, always, always. You know, since I was little, it was like, “Jenny, please shut up and let other people talk.” so I think I’ve gotten a lot better about that. Anytime you work with a team, you’re challenged to listen more. Step up, step back. So I’m up like a performer, not in the literal sense. It was never like an actor, an acting student, but I love getting up and talking in front of other people. Talking to clients, talking to groups of strangers. And I’m always challenging myself to be a better listener, ’cause that’s where the hard work is. It requires focus and care and empathy to put your thoughts and feelings aside and actually look someone in the eye and hear them. And I try and do that a, a little bit better every day, but I think it’s going to be a life-long process of learning for me.

Erik Gensler: I’ve seen you grow in that area so much. It’s very noticeable.

Jenny Kreizman: Thank you.

Erik Gensler: Yeah, absolutely.

Jenny Kreizman: I’m working on it. (laughs)

Erik Gensler: (laughs) So this is your CI to Eye moment, and the question is, if you can broadcast to the executive directors, leadership teams, and boards of a thousand arts organizations, what advice would you provide to help them improve their businesses?

Jenny Kreizman: Give your teams time to learn new things. I think this is a theme that’s been repeated in a lot of these podcast CI to Eye moments. People are the most important thing, be it the people on your teams, so giving them opportunities for professional development, to experiment, to not be afraid to fail. To have platforms to share the things that they’ve learned. And then also, to invest in people on the other side of the equation. Your patrons, your visitors. Thinking about them, it’s easy to get trapped in an organizational mindset, but really, it’s about the people that we’re serving. So, people-first approach in everything, I think.

Erik Gensler: I love that. Thank you so much.

Jenny Kreizman: Thank you.

About Our Guests
Jenny Kreizman
Jenny Kreizman
Senior Analyst, Capacity Interactive

Jenny Kreizman is a Senior Analyst at Capacity Interactive. She came to CI with no analytics skills and is now a website analytics and optimization pro. Her story of learning these technical skills is inspirational.

Read more

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