Spotlight on Jake Ellenburg / by Haley Smith

Meet Jake Ellenburg - sales aficionado who utilizes marketing skills to get the job done. As the Chief Marketing Officer of X Mode Social, Jake's love for authentic company branding with a dash of his humor is what really sets him apart from other marketing gurus.

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I like to call you a marketing guru. What first piqued your interest in and passion for marketing?

It's a great nickname, but I'm honestly not that great at marketing. I'm still learning new things every day and would say my real skills are in public relations.  Marketing is definitely a passion of mine though, and I'd say it's been that way since I was a kid. I've always had a knack for sales, but never really enjoyed selling people things. So marketing and advertising has allowed me to use my talents for selling, but combine it with various creative aspects. 

Tell us about X-Mode Social, the company of which you are the CMO.

X-Mode started as the college safety app "Drunk Mode" way back in 2013. After building Drunk Mode to over 1.5M users, the company started to pivot into data curation. We built our second app, "Walk Against Humanity" to over 250,000 users in three months as a test for our location SDK. After a lot of testing, we felt comfortable enough to completely pivot to X-Mode in 2017. Now our SDK is in over 200 different location-based apps, and we're collecting data on over 8M people daily (completely anonymized of course). Our goal is to eventually use this location data to not only build some amazing consumer-based products but hopefully utilize big data to make the world a better, safer, and smarter place. 

 

Because you help build the brand of many companies, what advice do you have for young entrepreneurs getting in touch with the branding for their own companies, and how should they best express it?

This is a tough question because usually, I like to get behind the hood and see what the company is doing before giving much advice. But, one thing I always tell people is that unless you're curing cancer, don't act like it. It's terrible advice, I know, but for some reason, I loathe formal businesses. I've never understood why companies talk to people like they're selling them something, rather than talking to them as a person. 

Easier said than done, and again, I know, because it's easy to find yourself in a "hello fellow teens" situation. I just wish more companies had the startup mentality. When I show up to meetings with a bunch of folks in suits and all we're talking about is location data, it just throws me off. It could just be I like to wear hoodies and hate shaving though.