1% Better S3,

Shane McCarthy – Marketing Psychology, SEO Strategies & Prioritising Self-Care! – EP148

January 16, 2020



*Excuse Typos – I tend to write show notes during editing*

Shane McCarthy is chief marketing officer for military social media platform Sandboxx. He is originally from Kerry but is now based in the US.  

I first met Shane in 2011/12 when he was running a student board for [email protected] and knew he was destined for big things.

We connected in late 2019 and talked about Shane’s career and journey so far and to dive into some marketing advice, insights and tips that could be useful to you in your own business. I know I’ve taken away some good stuff from it. Hopefully you do to.

A summary of key points covered is below:

  • Setting up a student board for [email protected]
  • The value of volunteering
  • Studying BIS in UCC – a mix between Business & IT
  • Finding a passion for social media and how to use it for business value from an early stage
  • The Psychology of Marketing
  • Setting up Twitter Hour back in 2012 for [email protected]
  • Experimenting with Blogging during College to build his own personal branding
  • Trial and Error leading to better understanding of what works and what doesn’t
  • How to make a blog post discoverable – back then & now!
  • The importance of SEO in blogging – creating good content
  • Creating a SEO strategy and having an SEO checklist before posting
  • The value of Google Analytics to identify what to post about
  • Looking to get ways on other blogs – this helps get clarity on the topic
  • If you can write it or teach it, then you know it! This is key
  • The power of feedback and taking onboard to help get better
  • Moving from Engineering to Marketing shortly after leaving University
  • Getting the opportunity to join a start-up with a focus on marketing
  • Making the decision to leave a permanent role to join a start-up – how?
  • Being able to juggle final year in college and working full-time for Sandboxx in 2014/15
  • Working as Chief Marketing Officer for Sandboxx and what Sandoxx offers to members of the military
  • Starting off initially with a letters service and then building on this
  • Growing to 1.5 million customers and going from 0-50+ employees
  • Reflecting back on the 5+ years with Sandboxx and major lessons learned
  • Working 18-hour days and going from doing everything to being more strategic
  • Building out relationships with government and brands
  • Getting up to speed on military vocabulary and acronyms
  • App Based Marketing requiring softer skills
  • A standout mistake that provided a great learning
    • Giving up on experiments too soon – not staying the course
  • Learning from mistakes
  • Using data and trusting your gut more when making decisions
  • Being Irish brings an advantage when building relationships with customers
  • The Psychology around marketing & how you can use this to your advantage with user personals
  • Looking into User Personas and Empathy Maps to identify and understand customer preferences and choices
  • The Elmer Framework & emotion logic
  • The WIIFM concept – if you can explain the value and benefits to the customer, you’re onto a big benefit
  • Paid advertising v Free Advertising – what to pick?
  • Don’t be afraid to set aside a decent amount of money of your budget!
  • Spend money and test out ideas yourself instead of paying it to an agency
  • Be active and ask others for feedback and input to help with the early stages of what a customer wants
  • Facebook and Google Online Tours and How To guides for analytics and using better tools
  • Learn how to walk before you can run when marketing and test small first!
  • Personal Development and Growth – how to find the balance
  • Self-care as a priority
  • Professional growth with key mentors and groups sharing in the space of marketing
  • Personal growth – spending time meditating and taking time out daily basis
  • Prioritizing sleep, eating, exercise and space time – all are tied in together
  • Making the goals stick each day? Look at what is the one thing that might stop me from doing this!!
  • Quote – “You don’t have to go for the run in the morning, you just have to put on your gear and stand on the porch”
  • What have you changed your mind on or look at differently in the last six month?
  • What is on the radar for Shane in the coming months?


Useful links

Connect with Shane – Shane McCarthy on LinkedIn

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