How simplicity leads to scale and success for Zoove with CEO Joe Gillespie

Analog to digital. If you are a marketer you’ve undoubtedly woken up in a cold sweat from nightmares about how to bridge this seemingly impassable gap. The distance from the TV to the couch, the newspaper to the store or the billboard to an action – this is the Holy Grail of marketing. If only you could measure activity and move people to action.

Enter Zoove and their StarStar product.

I sat with this company about 2 years ago as they got set to launch their product offering and since then Joe Gillespie, President and CEO, and his team have been busy. They have secured a number of top tier clients in CBS, Disney, XFactor, American Idol, the NFL, Dunkin’ Donuts, ESPN, the Weather Channel among others as well as raising over $40 million in funding to fuel their vision – and what a vision that is.


Here is a quick reference of what we covered in the show. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip

What is Zoove 1:40
Joe Gillespie’s great work history 4:00
Why Joe came to Zoove 5:50
Zoove as a platform 8:30
What was the challenge of changing consumer behaviour to use the StarStar service 9:50
Case study: Dunkin’ Donuts and MIB3 13:15
How does Zoove sell their service to brands 15:30
How has Zoove influenced ad placement and design 19:00
What are some examples of client wins 20:58
What has worked for your customers 25:00
What is the call volume of activity on Zoove 28:25
Future of Zoove? Enabling Commerce? Identity? 30:30
How do companies market StarStar with their brands 34:30
Where is the short code industry heading 36:50
Who are your customers – are they launching or do they have an existing audience 39:30
How does Zoove play in location based marketing 41:15

My key takeaways

Just like most entrepreneurial organizations, focus is one of the most important factors in success and you can see that very clearly from Joe. He understands the need to bring a singular task to his team and get that done. It doesn’t mean you don’t blue sky and ponder but the focus to his board and his team needs to be on the right things for the right time.

Understanding what their customer needs to accomplish is paramount to their success. Joe understands where his customers need help and focuses on that in order to help them succeed. My favorite statement from Joe is “Simplicity = success. Success = scale”

Brand ownership
Enhancing someone’s ability to sell their product also has to reinforce their brand. This has always been an issue with me around people using QR codes without branding or including multiple URLs on a page where people can go. Send them to one location with one purpose – close the loop. With Zoove, your brand is in the action: **DD, **IDOL, **NFL, **WARS – you get it. Own your brand. Enhance your brand.

Delighting the audience
Joe said this many times throughout the episode and I find this incredible advice to focus effort on. At the end of the day, when the product is rolled out and the campaign is in full force you don’t want to find out you’ve missed your mark by not enabling delight. Always keep it in focus as you build product and services. Ask yourself every moment if what you are doing will delight your audience.

What do you think? Also, what do you think of the new format for the episodes? Do you like the chapters for quick reference? The takeaways? What else would you like to see. Leave a comment or two below or email me.

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About Joe Gillespie
Joe Gillespie Zoove Joseph Gillespie joined Zoove as President and CEO in 2010, overseeing all business operations and strategy for Zoove. Under Joe’s leadership, Zoove has launched StarStar Numbers across all of the top wireless carriers in the US, reaching 95% of mobile consumers, and announced its first major campaigns with brands including: Suzuki,, Good Morning America (ABC), The Early Show (CBS), cable programming networks, consumer packaged goods companies, and others.

Joe joined Zoove after stepping down from an accomplished career at CBS, and initially serving as an advisor to Zoove’s Board of Directors. Most recently, Joe served as executive vice president of CBS Interactive Technology & News, which includes,, CNET and At CBS, Joe was responsible for vision and execution, ensuring that continued to complement CBS News broadcasts in an innovative manner, and CNET continued to lead the market in developing engaging, authentic brand experiences.

Joe joined CBS after it acquired CNET Networks for $1.8 Billion in 2008. Joe joined CNET in mid-2004 as chief marketing officer, and eventually oversaw CNET’s Web 2.0 strategy, including several brand extensions to attract new audiences and advertisers. These extensions included CNET TV,,, Car Tech, and the CNET Blog Network.

Prior to joining CNET Networks, Joe served as executive vice president, chief operating officer, and acting chief executive officer of Paul Allen’s Vulcan Ventures’ TechTV, which was acquired by Comcast in 2004 and merged with G4. Before his tenure at TechTV, he was executive vice president and chief operating officer of ZDTV, a Ziff-Davis, Inc. Company. He also served as executive vice president of corporate sales and marketing for Ziff-Davis, Inc, a pioneer in the development of trade press with publications like PC Magazine. Joe spent his early career in sports media with companies including CBS Sports, National Broadcasting Company and Sports Information Database, Inc. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism/communications from Rutgers College and is a current member of its advisory board. Joe lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and his pet black Lab. In his free time, he enjoys music, cars, golf, and hiking in the Marin Headlands with his dog.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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