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Thought Leaders in E-Commerce: Alex McArthur, Chief Marketing Officer of Purple Mattress (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jun 26th 2017

The special mattress e-commerce space is on a tear. We discuss the trends, the why and the how.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as to Purple Mattress.

Alex McArthur: I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at Purple. Purple started January 22, 2016 and just went through an amazing growth phase. Fairly unexpected on our side is how fast it would grow. We sell mattresses and sheets, platforms, adjustable power base, and mattress protectors. Right now, we’re strongly focused on sleep.

Our goals are to go much beyond that and to be a  comfort company – anything that you could use to improve your comfort while standing, sitting, or sleeping. That’s the focus of Purple. I’ve spent about half of my career at digital marketing agencies and the other half at startups. I was a Vice President at SEO.com and did a few startups in the search marketing space. I found myself in a consulting role at Purple and it quickly ramped.

We had a handful of people in the first few months and we’ve grown to 600 people over the last year. It’s been a pretty amazing growth story. It’s 20 years in the making. Our two founders have invented the material. It’s really a startup 20 years in the making. We finally got around to launching this brand. It’s quite an interesting story.

Sramana Mitra: Tell me a little bit about what drove this kind of hyper growth. What are the key levers of hyper growth that has resulted in this kind of performance?

Alex McArthur: Number one is everyone sleeps. Everyone is looking for comfort in their sleep experience. There’s already disruption happening in the mattress industry. Casper and a few other brands had started previously and spent millions educating others that buying a mattress online is a legitimate option. We’ve appreciated the companies that have started before us. They raised money to educate others.

The thing that stands out the most is our material. In the mattress space, people have been launching and relaunching the same materials for decades and acting like it’s something new. Most people sleep on memory foam. Memory foam creates this sweaty canoe-type of fill that you sink into. It’s hot. It’s sweaty. If you look at them a handful of months after you’ve slept in them for a while, you can actually see where you sleep.

Our founders invented a material called hyperelastic polymer which is a gel-type of material that is food-grade. It sleeps very cool. It’s just a totally new experience. The hyper growth came from a great product. Number two, the mattress industry is actually fairly boring. We’ve decided to create a brand that is a little bit louder. It’s very approachable and not quite as stiff as typical mattress companies. Our customers have received that really well.

Our goal is to be approachable and to be like a friend. If you look at our content, this year alone, we’ve had 450 million views across Facebook and YouTube. We invest heavily in video and are very video-first as people get to see the product. You can demonstrate why your product is different from others. Combining those three things – unique positioning, being video-first, and unique product – has sent us through this rocket ship experience.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in E-Commerce: Alex McArthur, Chief Marketing Officer of Purple Mattress
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