Here is the Interview of Neal Pecchenino who is the founder of Boxi. Boxi is an out-of-home marketing services company that works with brands to place their advertisements on delivery box trucks that are already on the road.
Read here about his entrepreneurial journey!!
First of all, thanks a lot for coming on my blog Neal, you made my day by accepting my interview request. Tell me something about yourself & your entrepreneurial journey?
Thank you. I founded Boxi in 2017 after spending countless hours sitting in Los Angeles traffic, staring at all these blank white box trucks.
It dawned on me that these trucks had valuable real estate that could be used and capitalized upon, so I came up with the idea for Boxi.
Can you please tell my readers about your company Boxi and what it does?
Boxi is an out-of-home marketing services company that works with brands to place their advertisements on delivery box trucks that are already on the road. We help marketers in a number of ways: first, by making out-of-home advertising more accessible by providing scalable, cost-effective campaign options for companies of all sizes.
We’re also creating more inventory in key markets like San Francisco where outdoor advertising space is in short supply.
Do you remember some of the startups and clients that you have worked with? How did it help them?
One thing we consistently hear from our clients is that Boxi makes them look bigger. People see a brand’s ads on our trucks and they assume the contents of the truck must belong to that company. Boximakes companies look much larger than they actually are. I remember Jamie Siminofffrom Ring – one of our early clients – saying that our trucks made their $100million-dollar company look like a billion-dollar company overnight.
What Inspired You To Start this unique and creative business called Boxi?
A few years back, I was working for a company that wasn’t doing particularly well. But I took it as an opportunity to learn, and I made it my mission to see how far we could take the product. I really believe there is no better experience in trying to advertise or market a product that has inherent challenges. That shaped my thinking a lot. It forced me to really think about how to go about building something new, how well thought out the concept needed to be before locking into a business model, and how much research needed to be done before money was spent.
Most startups do not succeed. Building a solid plan and go-to-market strategy for Boxiwas key. In this case, it was my money, so the stakes were higher. When you put your own money on the line it’s scary, but that really forced me to do the hard work upfront.
How is Boxi different from other competitors? What issue does your core product help solve and how so?
All marketers need to build brand awareness with their desired audience, but digital advertising is becoming a very cluttered space. Building your brand online is tough. Out-of-home advertising is on the rise and has been proven to deliver strong ROI, but out-of-home can also be cost-prohibitive and in many cases, the inventory just isn’t there.
Boxi provides an alternative outdoor advertising option at a relatively affordable price to companies of all sizes. With a Boxi campaign, you can sleep at night knowing your brand will be seen by people in the community you are trying to reach.
How we are different? Other than the fact that we offer GPS monitoring and trackability so that people can better gauge the reach of their campaigns, I’d say strong execution sets us apart. It’s difficult to do this business well and there are many operational challenges. My background in technology (and working for underfunded startups) has taught me how to solve many of the problems that this business presents, and I am able to do so without a huge infusion of cash and lots of employees.
We are the first company in this space to solve all the logistical challenges of truck advertising, and I think that’s because we’ve approached this business like a tech startup and we’re not just out trying to make a quick buck.
The biggest challenge with this business is making sure that what we sell gets delivered and is done well. Every truck represents a new problem, and managing execution is a full-time job. We’re very committed to providing unmatched customer service and exceptional execution.
Do you have any Role Models that have influenced you? What Impact they had on you?
My dad. He was a great entrepreneur – although he would never call himself one. He runs a commodities trading company in the agricultural industry. He found a niche that most people don’t even know about and built a business around it. Others I admire and follow would be Phil Knight and Jeff Bezos.
What would you say has been the biggest transformation you have witnessed right when you started the business and now when it has grown?
Well, now we have more resources at our disposal. When we started, we were doing parking lot installs out of my Acura and operating out of my kitchen in a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica.
Now we have a full 4,000 square foot warehouse with employees and all the tools we need. We can produce a higher quality product much faster. Things do get easier as time goes on.
How do you manage your personal life with your professional life?
There is no split whatsoever. They are one and the same at this point. But I’m ok with that!
Can you tell us something about your marketing strategy and what approach has been the best for you?
Honestly, our marketing strategy to date has been fairly focused around creating well-targeted pitches to companies that we feel would benefit from our services….and pursuing them relentlessly! I still can’t believe that some of these big companies like Ring trusted me with their business early on.
But I chased them until they couldn’t say no. We’re just getting started with other things like PR and social media. But nothing works better than pure passion, relentless pursuit, and the belief in your product.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?
I’d say be prepared to be a swiss army knife – use as many tools in your arsenal to get as much as you can do on your own. The only reason I was able to start this business is that I could do 95% of the work myself. Be prepared to wear many hats but then also recognize where you need to seek help and build a network of people that can help fill the gaps. That will help you solve the problems you can’t solve on your own.
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