Mark Stern, The Physical-Digital Connection: Creating Memorable Brand Experiences – 624


Mark Stern, Custom Box Agency

Our guest in this episode is Mark Stern, a visionary entrepreneur who’s redefining how brands connect with their customers. As the founder and CEO of Custom Box Agency, Mark merges tangible products with digital marketing to craft memorable and impactful customer experiences. In our engaging conversation, Mark shared his insights on creating deeper brand engagements through sensory experiences.

Key points discussed include:

  • Intentionality in Physical Branding: Mark emphasizes the importance of moving beyond traditional swag, advocating for tangible products that serve a specific purpose and enhance the brand experience.
  • Enhancing Digital with Physical Experiences: He discusses how physical elements can complement digital strategies, activating all senses and creating a more immersive experience.
  • Personalized Customer Journeys: Mark stresses the necessity of understanding and simplifying the customer journey, using personalization to tailor experiences and remove barriers, ensuring a seamless and engaging customer interaction.

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Blend the tangible with the digital to create experiences that resonate on all sensory levels. @marksternofficial on #Innovabuzz podcast Share on X

Show Notes from this episode with Mark Stern, Custom Box Agency

In the ever-evolving landscape of brand engagement, the quest for a deeper connection with customers has led to the fusion of physical and digital realms. Mark Stern, founder and CEO of Custom Box Agency, stands at the forefront of this revolution. From his base in Austin, Texas, Mark’s visionary approach redefines customer experience, blending tangible products with digital marketing to forge memorable brand engagements.

The Genesis of a Visionary Approach

Mark’s journey from strategic consultant to industry trailblazer underscores his unique perspective on brand-customer connections. His creation, Custom Box Agency, epitomizes the marriage of physical presence with digital finesse, aiming to elevate the traditional customer experience to one that resonates on a personal level in our digital age.

The Power of Tangible in a Digital Age

In a world increasingly dominated by digital interactions, Mark champions the tangible. He argues that physical experiences add a crucial dimension to digital engagement, providing a sensory depth that purely digital approaches lack. Mark humorously critiques the conventional use of swag, or “Stuff Without A Goal,” advocating instead for intentionality in every physical branding effort. It’s not just about sending gifts; it’s about crafting an experience.

Crafting Immersive Brand Experiences

Drawing inspiration from immersive environments like Disney World, Mark illustrates the potential of physical elements to complement digital platforms, thus enhancing the overall brand experience. This approach not only bridges the gap between the brand and its audience but also activates the senses in a way digital alone cannot.

Understanding and Simplifying the Customer Journey

Mark’s methodology focuses on understanding the customer journey in its entirety, advocating for a streamlined path that guides customers to their desired outcomes efficiently. He emphasizes the importance of a strategic onboarding process that aligns with the customer’s needs and removes potential barriers to engagement, ensuring a smooth transition into the brand ecosystem.

Personalization at the Core

At the heart of Mark’s strategy is personalization. He believes that custom experiences, ones that truly embody the essence of a brand, forge stronger connections with customers. This personal touch, whether it’s through a customized box or an AI-driven personalized message, serves as a powerful tool in establishing a memorable brand identity.

From Corporate to Creative: A Personal Journey

Mark’s transition from corporate America to entrepreneurship highlights a significant mindset shift. This journey not only reflects his personal growth but also shapes the ethos of Custom Box Agency. Mark’s story inspires a reconsideration of the conventional path, emphasizing the value of authenticity and personal vision in creating a business that truly stands out.

Conclusion and Call to Action

In blending the physical with the digital, Mark Stern and Custom Box Agency illuminate a path forward for brands seeking deeper engagement with their customers. This approach not only enhances the customer experience but also sets a new standard for brand interaction in a digital age. As we reflect on our own brand strategies, let us consider how we might incorporate Mark’s innovative methods to create more memorable and impactful experiences for our customers.

Let’s embrace the tangible in our digital strategies, and in doing so, connect with our customers on a level that transcends the conventional, crafting brand experiences that are not only memorable but also deeply personal.

Your customer journey should start with clarity and end with satisfaction. Simplify the pathway to engagement. @marksternofficial on #Innovabuzz podcast Share on X

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round 

Here are Mark’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. No. 1 thing to be more innovative – Develop a better process; making something more efficient is true innovation.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Embrace quiet moments like walks, showers, or naps to allow your subconscious to work through ideas.
  3. Favourite resource – Filestage, for streamlining design feedback and ensuring that what goes to print is exactly what’s intended.
  4. Keep project/client on track – Understanding what truly matters to them, showing that their success is your success.
  5. Differentiate – Be authentic and infuse your personal essence into your offerings; there’s only one you, and that’s your competitive edge.


Mark encourages listeners to not worry about having all the answers. Instead, focus on connecting with the right people who can help you achieve your goals faster. Embrace the mindset that anything is possible and seek out collaborators who can bring your visions to life.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Mark by visiting the Custom Box Agency website, or connect with him directly on Facebook or LinkedIn. Look for Mark Stern and share your thoughts on today’s insightful discussion!


Cool Things About Mark

  • Adventurer at Heart: Trekking from Melbourne to Adelaide, Mark’s love for exploration fuels his innovative business mindset.
  • Fitness Enthusiast: A five-time Spartan Trifecta holder, Mark’s dedication to health showcases his discipline and perseverance.
  • Taco and BBQ Lover: Mark’s passion for tacos and BBQ adds a relatable, down-to-earth charm.
Every touchpoint is an opportunity to deepen customer relationships. Consider each sensory experience. @marksternofficial on #Innovabuzz podcast Share on X

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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