1. What’s the story behind JumpStart Games – what determined you to join their team and follow this path?
Taylor Lord: I am so lucky to work and help lead different initiatives at JumpStart. It is crazy to think I am the head of Marketing and Web Development, as I used to play these games growing up.
Watching them evolve through the big technological evolutions from CD-ROM to PC based, and then into the mobile universe has been truly exciting.
I am so passionate about the educational gaming space and have devoted a lot of my life to it. As I get deeper and deeper into this world and am helping my company grow, this path is so clearly meant for me.
I am that person who is so proud of their company and products and constantly upselling it to friends and random people I meet.
I love hearing ‘Oh I know JumpStart!’ Without having that sense of corporate or brand advocacy, I don’t think anyone can truly succeed – passion is what brings marketing to life.
2. Which were your goals as you were just getting started?
When first looking at JumpStart’s product base, we have over 40+ games out there, each with their own curriculum, subjects, demographics, target market, etc.
So the first step was a clear outline of the ‘who, what, and where’, creating those accurate personas that help drive every marketing channel. Once we create a base for each product and roll them up into our ‘Big 3 Verticals’ (JumpStart, School of Dragons, and Neopets), the strategizing for success comes quickly after:
- Working closely with production – tying in their roadmaps to create successful launches and continued support
- Integrating Customer Support – to understand what our customers need, like, and want
- Creating marketing channel specific strategies (email, push notification, social, ads, SEO, web growth, partnerships, PR, etc.)
3. How has JumpStart evolved since and what are your future expectations for it?
The company has grown immensely since I have started on day one. While I would love to attribute it to marketing, we have such an amazing production, art, and design team that help create and execute these progressive and incredible games.
As well as strong leadership that sees a wide array of opportunity that continually propels us to where we need to be.
I think when you have strong leadership, strong internal teams leading products it makes it exciting to have a part in that evolution.
As for the future, we have some big releases in 2019. In Q1 alone we have three new products launching as well as a massive update to one of our largest MMORPG games: School of Dragons.
The big ones launched recently: Neopets’ new word/puzzle RPG; Legends & Letters, is an exciting mobile app released on January 17th.
In early January as well, the first two products in our exciting new Academy line ‘JumpStart Academy: Preschool’ and ‘JumpStart Academy: Kindergarten’ were launched. (you can find the rest of the JumpStart Academy here). These games are a pivotal first step in this school2home-learning ecosystem we are building.
4. While we’re at that, what keeps JumpStart Games up-and-going?
Honestly, our community. We are so thankful that each one of our brands has such strong communities and loyal fanbases that we honestly do it for them.
To be able to deliver educational games in a fun and engaging way that kids love while creating a safe environment that is educationally focused that parents need is something we, as a company, are truly proud of.
To see our fans be so passionate and help drive these products to greatness is one of our most prideful accomplishments.
Our team recognizes that in order to create a great game, you must listen to the customer and be customer-driven, not just when creating a new product, but in its lifecycle after launch as well.
5. What are the most challenging aspects of running JumpStart?
One of the most challenging things we see is just the sheer volume of products we are putting out while balancing ‘the next big thing’. I think what has really set us apart is we embrace all the technological changes and shifts in gameplay.
We constantly conduct research on kids and parents to provide unique games for our target market. It is such a vast field in both the education and entertainment industry and to be able to grow while creating is a big challenge we tackle every day.
6. What do you consider to be your biggest achievements?
I consider JumpStart’s biggest achievement to be helping to educate over 60 million kids during our 25-year history.
I am proud that we recently changed our business model and went back into schools this year (referencing our new JumpStart Academy line).
15,000 kids are utilizing our new JumpStart Academy school offerings – JumpStart Academy Math. I am also proud of our School of Dragons science game, which has over 5 million kids playing every month.
7. What do you consider to be the main reason behind your success?
Continued innovation in learning and gaming, new platforms, devices, and learning styles make our business hard but we continue to stay at the top of the innovation curve.
8. Will you tell us something unique about your business?
We are the oldest educational gaming company in the marketplace. We have worked with top Hollywood and toy brands to build branded learning games. Over the years with all of our brands, we have surpassed 200 million game players.
9. How is JumpStart Games helping change society?
I believe one of the biggest changes we are doing to help society is offering a safe and fun universe for kids in a digital age. Our research shows that by the time a child is 6 years old, they know how to work mobile devices, navigate in apps and use the mechanics these devices and applications are offering. We are providing a safe learning experience on a platform that kids are already engaging on.
10. Confession time: is there a game you are most proud of?
This is a hard one, as I absolutely love all of our products and constantly play them. But I will admit, before our company partnered with DreamWorks Animation, I saw the “How to Train Your Dragon” movie in theaters multiple times.
I absolutely love that franchise and those movies. To say the game turned out amazing is an understatement. I love the dragons universe and our School of Dragons product that supports it.
Have another question for Taylor or about JumpStart? Then leave it in the comments, and we’ll be sure to pass it on! 🙂