Episode 42: Inside the Box Marketing

Guest: Jackson Jeyanayagam CMO, Boxed.com

Giving customers a little something extra can go a long way. Just ask Jackson Jeyanayagam, CMO of Boxed.com. Founded in 2013, this e-commerce startup doesn’t only deliver packages – they also deliver joy. Customers who order from Boxed can expect heartwarming trinkets like handwritten notes and creativity kits that explain how to turn the delivery box into a castle for the kids. That joy isn’t limited to consumers either. Boxed.com embraces employees in a big way too:

On the Renegade Thinkers Unite podcast, Jackson explains how Boxed.com maintains a radiant brand image. There’s a good chance you’ll smile on more than one occasion during the episode, which you can listen to by clicking on this link. (These show notes were prepared by Jay Tellini.)

Here are some special Q&A selections from the interview:

Drew: Zappos delivers “wow.” Boxed.com delivers joy. Is there a difference?

Jackson: I think so. I think what Zappos did is actually amazing, especially as relates to customer service. They reinvented what customer service should be like in retail -not just e-commerce. I think we look at it as a little bit more, I don’t say fluffy because it’s more than that but it’s a little bit more nuanced so that delivering joy is obviously the product experience first and foremost. [If] the product is shit, marketing is shit. It really doesn’t matter. No matter how great I think I am or how great my agencies are, it won’t matter. But after that, it’s about delivering joy through every experience when you open the box.

Drew: What happens when I open the box?

Jackson: You see a cartoon face of our founder with a quote on it. When you see a handwritten note in a selfie of your box inside of it, when you get that delivery within a day and you didn’t pay for shipping. When you get a creativity kit where you get crayons and markers and instructions on how to make your box into a castle to celebrate Beauty and the Beast so you can do that with your kid. We do that. We offer that for free. It’s those little touches that for us is all about delivering joy, not only from your products that are there and you paid a good price for it, but all those other touch points that is a little bit more nuanced to us specifically.

Drew: What have been some things you’ve focused on to help the brand grow when you got here?

Jackson: Bringing media in-house allowed me to get closer to our acquisition efforts so we could start focusing on finding the high-value customers, and we did in a few ways. We did a pretty big segmentation [study] with the Cantor Group. It’s actually just finalizing right now where we can better understand our current customers and the potential opportunity with new consumers, [which is] something a lot of big brands have done for decades – customer research segmentation.

Drew: Then what happened?

We were lucky enough that we have first-party data. We knew a lot about our customers, but we hadn’t bubbled that up into themes and thematic around who are our four or five ideal customers based on lots of different factors. So we implemented that, and then started applying that to our acquisition efforts so we can be more focused and more specific on who and where we spend money for acquisition. The idea that okay, we’re just dropping a value-driven promo at 15% off on average and just targeting people we think would like Boxed, that’s great. But you don’t really know a lot about them and they’re really probably going to come in on the deal, and then the next time they shop they are looking for whoever has the best promo code.

Drew: What’s the goal?

What we want to do is attract you in with a great promo code. But if we know a little bit more about you, we know what drives you, we can lead with something that’s more important to you around a specific product or value prop versus me or someone else. And that’s where I really want to focus this data to drive better decisions on how we target and acquire new customers.

Drew: What’s the culture like at Boxed?

Jackson: Honestly Drew, this is one of the things that attracted me the most to Boxed. My interview [was] with Chieh Huang, CEO, one of the four founders, and my boss in the warehouse, for four hours. 90% of the conversation was about this values-driven initiative that he has undertaken with the co-founders around what this company stands for. And two examples of that are once he found out that a lot of employees were struggling with personal financial issues like sending their kids to college and weddings, which are maybe the two most expensive life things that happen in your world.

Drew: How did he help them?

Jackson: One thing that Chieh said as an immigrant, came here when he was one, his family really valued education. He had the chance to go to college himself and go to law school. He wanted to take care of that for our employees. He put his own equity, his own piece of the pie, money aside so if you’re an employee at Boxed and your kids are going to college, he’ll pay for tuition for four years.

Meet the Guest

Jackson Jeyanayagam is currently Chief Marketing Officer for Boxed.com, leading all marketing efforts for the fast-growing e-commerce start-up. Previously, Jackson was Head of Digital for Chipotle responsible for leading all digital marketing efforts including mobile, content, social media, CRM, and analytics.

In his prior role, Jackson was SVP, Digital Strategy at Taylor where he built and oversaw the digital marketing practice group and supported a number of brands including Diageo, P&G, Nestle, Jordan Brand, NASCAR, Starwood, 3M, and Capital One. Before Taylor, Jackson was a Director at Citizen Paine where he led social media integration and influencer marketing for Old Spice as well as Dentyne, working closely with each brand team and their collective agencies to create and implement through the line campaigns.

Jackson started his career at Waggener Edstrom, working with clients such as Microsoft and T-Mobile. Personally, Jackson serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Oregon Alumni Association as well as the Arts & Business Council of New York. He is also on the Advisory Board for Dynamic Signal and DriverMiles.

What You'll Learn

  • Tips for delivering an emotionally-rich customer experience.
  • Benefits of creating a specific vision for your business.
  • How to recruit passionate employees.
  • Advice for growing a startup.

Quotes from Jackson Jeyanayagam

  • I love being brand-side because I can go that deep and think long-term with one specific goal in mind.
  • It is hard to really understand the brand—the voice, the tone—and constantly come up with great creative that really speaks to…the brand.
  • Brands that have a higher purpose tend to resonate with our customers more so than brands [that] don’t.
  • I try not to be the traditional cliché marketer.

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