Jenny NeSmith at Empire Communities: Marketing Director of the Year

Atlanta Real Estate Forum congratulates Jenny NeSmith with Empire Communities for being named the 2020 Marketing Director of the Year at the 40th Annual OBIE Awards. Presented by the Atlanta Sales and Marketing Council, the OBIE Awards are the premier awards given to those working in the Atlanta new home construction industry.

A thought leader in Atlanta homebuilding, Jenny currently serves as marketing director for Empire Communities overseeing the development and execution of sales and marketing campaigns and lead generation to contribute to the national brand’s new home sales. Having started her career in advertising at one of the southeast’s leading brand strategist and creative agencies, NeSmith joined Empire, formerly Edward Andrews Homes, in April 2014 as marketing coordinator to oversee the launch of the company’s rebranding and newly developed website.

Jenny transitioned into the role of marketing director after just one year and immediately made an impact on the company’s success through increased web traffic and lead generation, a digitally-focused sales center and design experience and the launch of innovative digital media campaigns to further drive brand awareness and sales results.

Most recently, in 2019 Jenny oversaw the merger-driven rebranding of Edward Andrews Homes to Empire Communities. Over the course of less than one year, Jenny and her team successfully migrated the former brand to that of Empire, rebranding all offline and online assets, sales center experiences, and digital advertising campaigns, successfully doing so on time and under budget.

In April 2020, Jenny partnered with her Empire colleagues to launch the new global Empire website covering territories throughout the US and Canada. Jenny served as a primary component of strategic decisions around user experience and lead generation tactics and since the advent of the new website, Empire is experiencing a 60% YOY increase in web traffic.

During Q2 and Q3 of 2020, Jenny was then tasked with the challenge of positioning Empire Atlanta’s marketing and sales platform to be fully digital with the onset of COVID-19. Immediately, Jenny led her team in bringing all digital tools to the forefront, while increasing communication and adjusting budgets to meet the shifting market demands. As a result, Empire exceeded its Q2 sales goals and from January 2020 to June 2020, the company generated a 60.2% increase in leads YOY with a 52% online sales contribution to all sales, the industry-standard being 30%.

As Jenny leads with a market- and data-driven sales and marketing approach, she is always well-versed and focused on key demographics. She is a valuable player in positioning and branding during the earliest phases of development, and she participates in product design to ensure that Empire’s offerings and pricing are meeting the demands of the market and today’s homebuyers.

Within Empire, Jenny is a valued team member and is revered as a strong and respectful leader, ensuring well-maintained connectivity between both marketing and sales, as well as each other department.

“Jenny is way beyond her years when it comes to navigating the challenges in the highly competitive world of homebuilding,” SVP of Sales & Marketing in Atlanta Caroline Simmel said. “With a deep understanding of lead generation, relevant content, placemaking and the discipline to harness all marketing elements into industry-leading campaigns, Jenny is a true talent. Her commitment, dedication and passion is unstoppable.”

Jenny is also an active participant in ULI’s Young Leaders & Women’s Initiative groups. In late 2019, she was selected to the ULI Young Leaders Group Mentorship Program. Within Empire, Jenny serves as the speaker for the company’s Culture Committee and acts as a charity board member in support of local charities including Meals on Wheels Atlanta and the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

As an industry leader, Jenny has been featured as a Zillow New Construction panelist and frequently joins Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio to discuss innovative sales and marketing tactics in homebuilding. She has also been featured on Do You Convert’s (DYC) Marketproof Marketing podcast.

“Jenny is a fearless marketing leader,” DYC Marketing Strategist and Managing Partner Kevin Oakley said. “She has led her company through a digital transformation in both the marketing and sales departments of the organization. She did so by modeling the willingness to adapt personally and spent the time and energy required to bring along the entire team with her.

“She also understands that change isn’t made simply to change, but to get better results for employees and customers,” Oakley said. “Jenny knows the importance of great storytelling, placemaking, and creative design. It is this unbeatable combination of inspiring creative and data to light the way, making Jenny an unmistakable marketing powerhouse of our industry.”

For more information on Jenny or Empire Communities, visit

The Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association’s OBIE Awards celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2020. The awards began in 1980 and have grown throughout the years to include more than 100 building, remodeling, marketing and personal achievement categories. The OBIE Awards are named after the obelisk shape of the actual award given. To see all of this year’s OBIE award winners, visit Make sure to like, share and comment on this story.

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