Written by WOM Member: Samantha Iodice
Mother, leader and entrepreneur, Danielle Major knows that life is rarely what you expect it to be, even with the most perfect of plans. Founder and CEO of Smart Convos AI, Danielle can tell you exactly how quickly your original plans can evolve into something most unexpected and rewarding!
Motherhood, Surprises & New Ventures
Danielle began her college years aiming to become a behavioral scientist. Not surprisingly, interest in behavioral psychology is wildly common among digital marketers, but Danielle wasn’t aware of this just yet. During college, she became pregnant with her first daughter which altered her life, career and plan in every way imaginable.
While pregnant and preparing for motherhood, Danielle cultivated skills she already possessed in graphic design as a UX/UI Designer with extra help from her husband. Seeing her work become a living creation online sparked the fire which would fuel a passion for web design. Her enthusiasm, interest and excitement for web design inspired Danielle and her husband to launch their first business. Major Web Pros was a full-service digital agency focused on building websites for local Atlanta businesses. From the debut of Major Web Pros in 2010, Danielle and her husband scaled their business growth, adding in additional services including email marketing, social marketing and advertising services.
In 2017, Danielle and her husband started to take notice of AI and its increasing popularity. After some idea exploration and additional research, the couple devised a plan for their first SaaS company, Smart Convos AI. The initial concept was built on the ability to create chat applications and place them inside display ads using AI chatbots to power this interactivity.
Hard Work, Inclusion & Focus Pays
In 2019, Danielle’s company Smart Convos AI was accepted into Atlanta Tech Village’s ‘It Takes a Village’' Accelerator Program, which aims to support inclusion and diversity efforts among tech businesses. While in this program, Danielle was also accepted into the ATDC at Georgia Tech under the guidance of Jacqui Chew, a start-up accelerator program focused on helping Georgia Technology entrepreneurs grow successful businesses. By the completion of the accelerator program, Danielle was leading a team of five at Smart Convos AI, which was 80% female. Over the past year, her team has significantly grown their customer base and increased ARR times five!
Rising To The Challenge, Every Day
As a CEO, mother and wife, Danielle must wear many hats and change them frequently throughout the day. This hat dance is compounded by the current circumstances of the pandemic and the implications of having school aged children. Suddenly, Danielle has a new hat thrust upon her as teacher, to balance alongside the others. Her life is challenging, but she manages it with grace and focuses on organization.
Danielle’s day begins with helping her eldest daughter with her virtual school, checking emails while making breakfast and scheduling all meetings needed during nap time. This leaves her little time for the busy work necessary to manage and lead a company to success. Danielle typically logs back on at night after the children are tucked in, and from 8pm to 3am works on the tasks she does not have time to focus on during traditional business hours. But all of that work in the wee hours of the night is paying off. Danielle and her husband are building out a new offering in their software called BuyFromAI.com, which will be an interactive shopping experience leveraging the conversation AI technology within Smart Convos.
Prediction: AI Will Shape How Consumers Communicate
Danielle’s predictions for where MarTech will grow in the next five years is based on changes in the way consumers communicate and use technology. According to Danielle, “[Right now], consumers have the ball in their court, 100%. Making [consumers] feel heard and reflected in a brand is paramount. Personalization is key.” Danielle firmly believes AI will assist the transition through two-way advertising communication as the industry evolves past standard push-only methodology. “Building ad campaigns people can interact with (conversational ads / conversational marketing) and talk to should be the next wave that takes over the next five years.”
Recommendation Alert: Top Reads
One of Danielle’s favorite books is Traction by Gabriel Weinberg. “It’s a great book (not only for startups) but for marketing and advertising as a whole. It talks about the bullseye strategy, how to find your customer and speak to them in each type of channel available.”
Advice & Support
Danielle has a powerful story and message to be shared with anyone striving for success, especially when the tables get turned on your plans. She recommends and advises women to “be brave with your ideas and speak up.” Danielle says, “Don’t be afraid to try new things that haven’t been done before.”
Written by WOM Member: Samantha Iodice