Name: Shane McCarthy
Title: Chief Marketing Officer
Five years ago, if you would have told Shane McCarthy he would be working for a startup, he would have laughed.
He still laughs about it.
Sandboxx’s Chief Marketing Officer may still consider his biggest career change a whimsical mistake that’s worked out quite well.
Not long ago, Shane used to work in software technology. Now, he spends his days analyzing marketing data, setting marketing direction and meeting with partners.
“I wouldn’t exactly say I applied,” Shane jokes. “I was roped in.”
He first heard about Sandboxx at a house party from Swamy, Sandboxx’s Chief Technology Officer. Swamy asked Shane to put together a marketing plan for the fresh startup.
From there, the rest is history.
A history, he says, he would be happy to repeat.
For Shane, knowing his work directly impacts morale and the joy of service members across the world is his work’s reward.
Plus, it’s offered him a behind-the-scenes look at the military he would have never otherwise seen as an Irish transplant.
His dad came to visit from Ireland last year, and Shane took him to a Coast Guard training, an experience they both enjoyed.
“It was the first time showing him the work I do and getting a behind-the-scenes look at the military,” says Shane.
And there’s always work going on behind the scenes, especially in the military and startup communities. Even more so with a tech startup.
“A lot of the growth and success of the app comes down to the technical side of it,” he explains. “There’s no marketing if those apps don’t work right. I’m really proud of what our engineering and marketing teams continue to do to optimize our product and increase app engagement.”
With the use of Sandboxx, it almost seems instantaneous that recipients get their mail. Especially when users consider all the other ways a physical letter could be delayed — lack of stamps, unprinted photos, no time for a post office trip, and more.
Those letters, he says, are everything to military families. It’s essentially the technological glue that keeps them connected.
Each user story Shane has heard is touching in its own way, but some stand out more than others.
Like a young 19-year-old father awaiting photos of his first newborn while at boot camp.
“It would have taken another week to get that photo,” Shane says.
The goal with Sandboxx, though, is to fast-track mail to those awaiting family members and their servicemembers.
And while letters are certainly a majority of the Sandboxx focus, preparing young recruits is another important objective for Shane and his marketing team.
“One of our main goals for our entire military lifestyle is how to make that military member more successful,” he says.
A big part of that objective is preparing recruits with useful information before they head off to boot camp. Last year, Shane and a few other Sandboxx staffers met with recruits in the Great Lakes area.
A lot of the young recruits admitted they had a fuzzy idea of what boot camp really meant prior to enlisting. That type of insight is what gives Sandboxx insider knowledge of how to create even more valuable online content.
“There’s a big unknown there,” Shane says of recruits heading to boot camp. “Being able to tell the kids beforehand to make sure they are mentally, physically, and spiritually prepared is important.”
From a marketing standpoint, bringing industry authority with an authentic voice has helped Sandboxx connect the best with its users.
“This community is extremely loyal, protective, and vocal,” says Shane. “Brands do not get a second chance when they are not honest with this community in particular, which is great.”
While it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride, Shane says watching the Sandboxx app go from a few users a week to thousands a day makes it all worthwhile.
That, and watching the personal growth of his young coworkers.
“One of the proudest things for me is seeing how the people have grown with the company too,” he says.
If the startup world has taught him anything, it’s that he’s never done learning.
“Personal growth and new challenges mean that the job is never boring,” he says. “And having awesome people around you makes sure it is never overwhelming.”