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96: Jay Livingston’s career has gone to the dogs, and he is loving every minute of it 

Jay Livingston CMO at BARK

In this week’s episode of “Marketing Today,” Alan talks with Jay Livingston, chief marketing officer at BARK, the company that created the immensely popular BarkBox, which led to its other endeavors: BarkShop and BarkRetail.

Livingston joined BARK after a 20-year career at Bank of America, where he held senior leadership roles in every functional area of global marketing and strategy, from digital commerce, consumer/retail, and small business to commercial banking and brand management.

After a two-year “hiatus,” which found him immersed in angel investing as well as traveling and restoring automobiles, he is now the CMO at BARK, the wildly successful company that caters to dogs and their owners. BARK is everything Livingston was looking for as he reentered the realm of marketing: A company that was consumer-facing; produced a physical product; not only that, the product had to bring people joy; and, last but not least, the company had to be headquartered in New York. As Livingston relates in the course of his discussion with Alan, BARK has been all of that and more.

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • From banking to barking: Livingston talks about his 20-year career at Bank of America, angel investing, and finding the right fit at BARK. (1:28)
  • Livingston: “We’re really all about making dogs happy. So whatever we can come up with that does that we will launch quickly and give it a shot.” (3:32)
  • BARK’s growth plan and the challenges of expansion. (6:04)
  • The difficulties of retail for a digital-first company. (7:49)
  • Livingston on not chasing growth: “You’ve got to stay true to who you are.” (11:36)
  • BARK and the magic of customer engagement. (14:31)
  • Livingston relates some of the best advice he ever received about investing in growth companies. (17:54)
  • Two things that fuel Livingston: (1) Being in NYC, surrounded by people at the top of their games. (2) The idea of creating something and seeing it grow.