MarComm’ Star Parade: Meet Jesse Ketonen

MarComm’s Star Parade is a series where we shine the spotlight on some of the global stars from the Marketing and Communications industry, and Jesse Ketonen, Director of Growth and Operations, Boksi  is precisely that.

Jesse Ketonen

Q) Give us a brief insight into your career so far?

I started working at a social marketing agency when I was 20 and I learned the ways of digital marketing by helping brands like Spotify, Unilever, Schweppes, Disney and Microsoft. 

Now, aged 30, I have founded 3 businesses, worked in leadership positions at a few agencies, been in charge of travel destination brand on the client side and finally, I’ve found my way in a growing martech startup, Boksi, as the Director of Growth and Operations. 

Maintaining a steep learning curve has been my main ambition for the last decade.  At last, I can focus on building businesses using everything I’ve learned so far.  I hasten to add, my learning has not stopped, it is just different. 

Q) What according to you is the strongest tool in your skill set?

Creativity. I am a numbers person, but a creative one. 

It took me a long time to figure out that it’s actually a very valuable asset and not a commodity.

I understand the big picture when it comes to how different businesses can grow.  Creativity helps me figure out how growth works for a particular client/business I’m involved with. At Boksi, the knowledge of content creation and media buying from my past experiences has been a key to success in this role because it helps refine the product-market fit. 

Q) What is your favourite piece of work that you have created? Or a favourite project that you were a part of?

It has to be “Sound of Lapland“.  It’s a concept that binds together two of my passions:  Music & Travel.  With Sound of Lapland, we built a series of subconcepts and campaigns under the “big idea” of raising awareness to Finnish Lapland as a destination for travel, creativity and unwinding from a hectic city life which many people experience the world over. 

There were some really creative outcomes, such as launching a branded ambient album and creating a sound bank for producers. We also did a label collaboration where we brought a global artist on location. It was a one of a kind project for me personally.  I started planning the idea while working at an agency and later jumped to lead the project myself on the client side.  I basically had to take full responsibility for executing what I had planned. 

Q) What is your favourite piece of work you wish you had done?

From a creative campaign production perspective, the first one that springs to mind would be “Epic Split” for Volvo Trucks. It’s a masterpiece of traditional creative advertising. The film integrates a challenging product usp, a creative idea and flawless execution. It’s as entertaining as it is Epic. 

On the other hand, it would have been fantastic to have been part of building a disruptive service like AirBnB or a phenomenon like Game of Thrones from scratch.

Q) Who (if anyone) has been the greatest influence in your career?

Even if I didn’t clearly see the patterns here, I think it’s my dad. I’ve watched him be an entrepreneur in the advertising industry most of my life. I designed and published my first ads in a local newspaper when I was 11 years old with my dad’s help, so I would be biased if I said he didn’t have the greatest impact, even though I mostly look for advice from top industry experts and peers in my work circle these days.

Q) What would you change about the industry, if you could?

A few things.  The industry is still too focused on marketing communications rather than the other important areas of the mix. The 4P model is a good start. Also, showing bad advertising is still relatively too cheap. The auction mechanisms and algorithms are a fantastic cure for this problem. 

Q) Tell us something that people wouldn’t necessarily know about you?

I help emerging artists in branding on a pro-bono basis. I want to help people at the beginning of their careers if I can, because that’s the hardest part of all.  You need to make it with scarce resources and little experience. It feels like I am giving back something I once got from somewhere else. 

Q) Where would you ideally like to be in your career in the next five-years?

I would like to be able to name a few big concrete ideas, which I’ve brought and successfully scaled-up to be a critical part of the business. After all, the work is all about contribution and I am always looking for ways to measure that. I’d like to see become a leading platform for custom-made content sourcing. 

Jesse Ketonen, Director of Growth and Operations, Boksi  

Source: MarComm News

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