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345: Being Instinct Led and Data Supported with Jay Livingston, CMO at Shake Shack

Jay Livingston, CMO at Shake Shack

Jay Livingston is not only a great CMO, but he is also an active angel investor, executive producer, and founding member of Unite America. No matter what he is doing, storytelling is always the underlying theme.

In this episode, Alan and Jay discuss the importance of the CMO vibing with the CEO, why he loves working with “passion brands” that have a good origin story, and the unique benefit of overseeing product, pricing, digital experience, and marketing at Shake Shack. Jay tells us how Shake Shacks is living out its mission to “stand for something good” by being an “instinct-led and data-supported” business that partners with local leaders to maintain authenticity while scaling globally.

 In this episode, you’ll learn: 

  • How Jay and Shake Shack weave purpose into everything they do
  • What makes the CMO role at Shake Shack so unique 
  • How Shake Shack is delivering hospitality through digital channels

 Key Highlights 

  • [01:55] The common thread that connects all of Jay’s interest
  • [04:15] Jay’s mid-career sabbatical 
  • [06:30] The criteria Jay looked for in his ideal CMO role
  • [08:05] Shake shacks origin story
  • [09:50] How Jay got connected to Shake Shack
  • [11:20] How this CMO role is different than other CMO roles
  • [15:05] How Shake Shake is maintaining its local relevance while scaling globally
  • [16:50] The data function of the culinary side and guest preferences 
  • [19:10] Digital efforts – where Shake Shack started and where they are today
  • [22:40] The team behind the CMO
  • [23:25] The career path vs. the career meadow 
  • [25:15] Jay’s investment thesis
  • [27:25] The importance of curiosity 
  • [31:00] Why Jay advises going wide with your interest 

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