Sam Davis

Insights Brainiac

Johnson City, TN

With more than a decade of impressive ad agency and client-side experience, Sam found her home on the insights side of the marketing world when she joined the Smarty Pants crew in 2022. She brought with her an insatiable curiosity and tenured marketing savvy.​

Sam is an energetic, natural-born storyteller with years of experience understanding consumer behaviors, cross-category communication strategies and cross-platform marketing methods. She’s a professional unicorn who effortlessly navigates brand strategy, positioning and product development and has deep knowledge of successful campaign tactics that help clients achieve business objectives.​

As an “Insights Brainiac,” Sam applies her business and brand experience to qualitative and mixed-method research initiatives across categories and consumer segments. Her responsibilities include everything from study design, project management and fieldwork to moderating, analysis and reporting. ​


In her most recent role at Creative Energy—Ad Age’s Small Agency of the Year—Sam was a client-facing brand executive leading multiple client teams across foodservice, tourism, healthcare, manufacturing and technology sectors. She developed the agency’s primary research practice and fielded various research initiatives via focus groups, online surveys and more. After identifying that what got her out of bed in the morning was deriving insights that help business leaders better understand their end-users, she pursued a role entrenched in extracting consumer insights and applying them to innovation, positioning and marketing. Obvi, she’s in the right place!​

Sam is truly a “Jill of all trades,” and her career trajectory is a reflection. She got her professional start as a public relations coordinator at Regal Entertainment Group. She went on to serve on the corporate communications team at Eastman Chemical – a TN-based Fortune 500 company—before making a move to a digital marketing firm leading business development and content marketing strategy.​


Sam is an alumna of the University of Tennessee. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication with summa cum laude honors while double minoring in Spanish and Business Administration. She’s quite the brainiac and over-achiever! ​

Passionate about creating opportunities for younger generations to thrive, Sam is a member of the University of Tennessee’s Alumni Advisory Council for the Haslam College of Business’s Marketing program. In this role, she provides input to help develop career-ready curriculum along with professional coaching and mentorship to undergrad students interested in marketing and market research careers.


Sam lives in Johnson City, TN, with her husband and two young children. She serves on the board of her kids’ preschool and the Board of Directors for Girls on the Run—a non-profit organization committed to teaching elementary-aged girls problem solving skills and confidence.

When she isn’t mom-ing or driving community impact, Sam enjoys the Appalachian Mountains, craft beer, live music, cooking and exploring new restaurants across the globe.​


Fun Facts

  • Is a high-school swim team record holder in the 100-meter butterfly​
  • Had a 185-gallon saltwater aquarium in her living room while growing up!​
  • Is an avid Tennessee Volunteers fan, even when they’re losing​
  • Is most proud of successfully planning and pulling off a marriage proposal in a movie theatre (with a custom movie trailer!) that made national headlines​
  • Isn’t willing to admit she’s a Southern stereotype who married her high school sweetheart and returned to her hometown to raise a family