During this episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Marcus Startzel, chief executive officer at Whitebox. Whitebox is powering the DTC economy, providing an entire eCommerce operation in a single package. They combine all the functions of the eCommerce process into one service, making it easy for a manufacturer or a brand to sell on a global level and shrink their overhead. They just closed a $5 million Series A funding round led by TDF Ventures. Startzel’s previous experience includes chief revenue officer at AppNexus, chairman and CEO at MediaGlu and general manager at Millennial Media.

On the show today, Startzel discusses the direct-to-consumer economy, many of the current trends in DTC, some examples from his client base at Whitebox, what Whitebox is all about and who is doing DTC well from large companies to smaller digitally-native companies. He also discusses the importance of having powerful awareness campaigns, great reviews and having strong partners.

Startzel defines Whitebox by saying, “In its simplest form, Whitebox is an eCommerce technology sales and logistics platform. Very plainly spoken, we help our clients sell stuff and move stuff as they engage with consumers.” 

What does it take in Startzel’s opinion to succeed in DTC? “The bottom line is you have to have a great product. Great products shine. You could have great marketing that sells an average product. But when you are talking about standing up a direct-to-consumer today and taking it to market, it’s got to start with a great product that answers some consumer demand.” 

In terms of advice, Startzel shares, “Be more confident in your talents. You can do much more than you think.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Where did Marcus start his career? (01:23)
  • Marcus shares what transferable skills he learned as a submarine officer. (03:01)
  • What is Whitebox? (04:55)
  • What role does Whitebox play in the DTC space? (06:16) 
  • What does it take to stand up for a DTC brand? (11:34)
  • Are there other advantages of selling on other platforms other than their own? (14:14)
  • What advantages does Whitebox provide to the customer? (19:10)
  • Are there any large companies that he feels are playing the DTC game well? (22:09)
  • Is there an experience in Marcus’s life that has defined who he is today? (26:03)
  • What advice would he give to his younger self? (29:56)
  • What fuels Marcus Startzel to keep going in his career and life? (30:55)
  • Are there brands that he thinks we should pay attention to? (32:17)
  • Where does Marcus see the future of marketing going? (33:56)

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.