Social Influencer Series | President at Jebbit, Jonathan Lacoste
Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Jonathan Lacoste - the President of Boston interactive content company, Jebbit. He is simply one of the most dynamic and talented young leaders that I have met and to see what his team has been able to do with this tech startup he co-founded as an undergraduate is remarkable. I met Jonathan in the early stages of Jebbit's development at an incubator project and was blown away by the technology, which was designed to make digital advertising more effective.
My approach to marketing has always been client-centric. How can we help the client accomplish their goals? How can we help the client produce optimal results? That is what impressed me the most about Jebbit's mission. They didn't want to sell more ads - they wanted to find a way to make ads more effective by creating an experience for the consumer that in turn benefited and drove results for the advertiser. I am not a big fan of indiscriminate hashtags, but #brilliant!
Jebbit is a mobile interactive content platform that enables marketers and digital publishers to engage, profile and convert any audience. Marketers use Jebbit to drive lead generation and conversions. Publishers use Jebbit to drive digital revenue from their ad sales and provide better data to their advertising partners. You can test-drive a Jebbit experience here with a case study for Boden USA.
Jonathan, you left college to start Jebbit and embark upon this incredible startup success story. What was your inspiration?
The initial idea came from an experience millions of people have probably had before. We were watching a Hulu video online, a 30-second pre-roll video appeared and our first instinct was to open up a new tab and go to Facebook; completely ignoring the video ad. While Jebbit doesn't do video advertising, it opened our eyes to how ineffective digital marketing could be and we decided to tackle that challenge.
When did you really know you had something - the ah-hah moment?
We had a few different "ah-hah" moments depending on the product or stage we were at. The first one was when our campaign for Reebok went viral back in 2013. It performed so well we ran through tens of thousands of Reebok promo codes in less than 48 hours and it appeared as the #2 search in Google. For an 8-person startup, that felt like we were on to something.
What challenges do you see marketers facing today?
The biggest challenge for any marketer is fighting for attention. There's a finite amount of time and more than enough digital content for us to engage with. We're constantly bombarded with ads, offers and content all day long - so to answer your question, the biggest challenge is breaking through that clutter and capturing these "micro-moments" of attention.
What innovation excites you the most for 2016?
I think investors, marketers and the press missed the boat on Augmented Reality (AR) and focused too much on Virtual Reality (VR). To make my point, all I'll say is Pokemon Go :)
How important is the role of data in the world of modern marketing?
It's paramount. In fact the way marketing is trending, you won't be an effective marketer without a data tech-stack to help you capture and activate your data across all marketing campaigns and content.
What advice would you give the next generation of whiz kid entrepreneurs who want to come up with the next big idea?
Starting a company has never been easier than it is today. You have the world at your fingertips and more free resources available than previous generations. Find a problem you are passionate about solving - and work relentlessly on solving that problem for 5-7 years, and you're bound to be the next "over-night" success in the eyes of the media!
On a more serious note, it is sad that some of the brightest people of our generation are focused on getting people to click on ads. To future entrepreneurs, please dream bigger and help us solve some of the world's real challenges.
Jonathan Lacoste is the President of Jebbit. He was named to Forbes 30-Under-30 and is a columnist for Inc. Magazine where he writes the CMO Corner. Mark Keaney is a Regional Sales Manager | New England @ Sprinklr. I created the influencer series to interview and feature the best and brightest minds that are helping brands find consumers and consumers find brands.