Employee Q&A: Get to Know Luke Nielson, Marketing Manager

What is a Marketing Operations Guy to do: Ping Pong or Yoga?

Luke Nielson is CashStar’s marketing operations “guy”—because, you know, everyone needs an ops guy. He manages the company’s marketing automation and customer relationship management platforms, which drive much of the marketing department’s activities. While he also helps with special projects, most of his time is spent executing marketing campaigns.

We sat down to talk to Luke about his experiences at CashStar and his favorite things about Portland.

How did you come to work at CashStar?

A few months after graduating from college, a friend working here on the client success team let me know about an entry-level opening on the marketing team. Now, three years later, I’m thrilled to have grown with the company and the marketing team.

What’s your favorite thing about working at CashStar?

Ping pong and yoga in the office are pretty tough to beat! But in all seriousness, we have a solid team here at CashStar and I enjoy working with talented, smart colleagues that really care about driving client success. Not only is the environment great, but it’s really exciting to collaborate with the world’s leading brands as we push the gift card ecommerce market forward.

What would you say is the number one takeaway or insight you have gained from working in the gift card ecommerce and digital gifting industry?

The industry is still in a high-growth phase so we’re innovating new products rather than solely optimizing existing capabilities as is common in more mature industries. Recent innovations like private label credit card support and on-demand activation may not seem exciting at first glance, but they’ll drive continued success for our clients. Leading the gift card ecommerce space requires continuous innovation and the product and engineering teams here at CashStar deliver just that.

Portland is getting a lot of media buzz these days due to its growing startup scene. Got any tips for people trying to join in?

The scene is definitely gaining momentum! Several groups put on events and most bring out a really diverse community. Attending PubHubs was a great way to get my bearings and make connections when I first started working in the area. There’s also a handy and fairly comprehensive calendar of startup events here in Portland.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Portland?

Flatbread Company is my favorite nearby place for food—it serves organic pizza, right here in Portland’s “old port.” You can pretty much see the restaurant from our office, so it’s literally only one minute away. You have to get a spot on their waterfront deck in the summer, and it’s best to snag a table near the wood-fired clay oven in the winter.

What are you up to when you are not at CashStar?

I always seem to have a few different things going on, and one of my latest ventures is Seasonal Maine, a subscription commerce startup. We ship the best Maine items 4x per year to subscribers around the country, even as far away as Hawaii! It’s a compelling niche for a lifelong Mainer like myself, and the subscription model keeps me from getting bogged down with fulfillment. When I’m not reading/thinking/talking about other businesses I’m probably finishing up some renovations on my house—a labor of love for the past two years!

Thanks for your time and insights, Luke. And the restaurant recommendation!