Founded by Jeff Kauffman, Jr., Parachute is a bespoke marketing and media consultancy with 18 years of innovation experience.
How it all got started
Jeff's marketing career began in 2005 when he launched a MySpace page for Skydive Dallas without asking the owners. After making 10 skydives at this Dallas-based dropzone, he wanted to help grow and engage their customer base while exploring his passion for next-generation marketing strategies.
As a marketing student at Southern Methodist's Cox School of Business, he knew social media was about to change the internet and how businesses built brands.
In 2005, social media wasn't even a job companies were hiring for. There were no playbooks. Most businesses saw no value in committing resources to social media and web2 initiatives. By launching a MySpace page for Skydive Dallas, Jeff was able to explore new frontiers in marketing strategies before the rest of the world began playing catchup.
While gearing up to make a skydive, the general manager of the Skydive Dallas approached Jeff and said, "Hey, are you running a MySpace page for us?"
Jeff thought he was about to be told to shutdown the page and leave the dropzone. To his surprise though the GM said, "We have survey cards that customers fill out after making a skydive. One of the questions asks 'how did you hear about us'? There are a lot of people saying they found us through MySpace. You're doing a really good job. We should give you free Skydives. How many should we give you to keep running our MySpace page?"
At that moment, Jeff had just won his first client. He asked for four skydives a month as compensation. As a poor college student, Jeff was also working two jobs while going to school full-time. The four skydives a month would allow him to make one skydive a week, which would help him get more involved in Skydive Dallas's community allowing him to create more content for the dropzone's MySpace page.
In 2007, Jeff launched Facebook ads for Skydive Dallas while sitting in his business law class at SMU. He used his own credit card and ran ads for a month before presenting the results to the dropzone's GM.
Jeff had grown Skydive Dallas's Facebook page to become the largest skydiving page in the world on Facebook. With no guidance and just a knack for figuring things out, the ads were so successful at driving new customers for the dropzone that Jeff was given unlimited Skydives.
In 2008, Jeff entered his final year of college. In addition to skydiving and working two jobs, he also launched a social network for Dallas musicians. The social network began as a class project in the advanced entrepreneurship program at SMU—but Jeff wanted to take it a step further and launch it into the wild. The social network also produced a community based monthly digital magazine and organized local events at bars and coffee shops.
Between his social media work for Skydive Dallas and the social network for local musicians, Jeff was awarded top entrepreneur of the year in his graduating class of 2008 at SMU.
Working with iconic brands
After graduating college, Jeff entered the enterprise agency world and began working with iconic brands such as Chick-fil-A, Dr Pepper, GameStop, Charles Schwab, Hobby Lobby, and The Salvation Army. He channeled his entrepreneurial spirit towards his client's businesses.
His first large scale social media assignment was to launch Fruit of the Loom on Facebook in 2010.
To-date, Jeff has managed over $500 million in media budgets for his clients.
He's led cross-channel media initiatives that span paid social, search, television, radio, digital video and audio, influencer, and out-of-home.
His first agency P&L managed $30 million annually in billings for social media services and was built over the span of just three years.
From setting up a pixel, to leading cross-channel media teams, to building a multi-million dollar P&L and business unit, Jeff has done it all. He's one of the few people who can work alongside CMOs, CEOs, and seasoned marketing executives while also rolling up his sleeves to get into the weeds of any martech or adtech platform.
The denim shop
While working full-time at his agency gig in 2017, Jeff decided it would be fun to launch a side project that would stretch the limits of his marketing and business acumen.
He launched Deep Ellum Denim and set out to become the best denim shop in Texas. In just two short years the shop achieved its goal.
Adweek talked about 'How two agency strategists embarked on a quest to find and sell the best denim on earth',
DMagazine named Deep Ellum Denim the best denim shop in Dallas in 2018 in their Best of Big D awards. The side hustle quickly became the talk of the town. Even with its profitability, both Jeff and his business partner kept their full-time agency gigs and reinvested every penny the shop made into growth. By 2020, the shop was so profitable that Jeff decided to lease the retail space next-door and attached a full-service cocktail bar to the denim shop. The bar was to be named, Lightning Lounge.
Unfortunately COVID-19 had other plans. Just days before the construction team was scheduled to break ground on the cocktail bar in March of 2020, the state of Texas ordered all retail establishments to close shop. The final permits to begin construction would never been issued.
After six months of navigating COVID-19 and with so many uncertainties ahead, the difficult decision to shut down the operation was made.
Despite the ultimate outcome, Jeff is proud to have created a denim shop that was loved by so many across the state of Texas, while simultaneously still running his $30 million agency P&L. The lessons learned and memories made throughout this time period are priceless.
Web3 and emerging technologies
Jeff has a long track record of being at the forefront of technology trends and the impact on the relationship between brands and their customers.
During the whirlwind that was 2020, Jeff also gained a deeper interest in web3. As someone who had followed crypto and blockchain technologies since 2017, he was well aware of their growing applications.
Despite not knowing anyone in the industry and having zero web3 connections, Jeff found himself among the very few people interested in NFTs and social tokens before they entered the zeitgeist.
In October 2020, Jeff was posting daily on Twitter. He leveraged social listening to rapidly learn about the web3 conversation taking place on Twitter. This proved to be an incredible networking strategy as it caught the attention of web3's industry leaders. Even Vitalik, the founder of Ethereum, tweeted at Jeff asking him to explain the insights he was posting.
By January 2021, Jeff was invited to join web3's leading consumer crypto incubator and DAO, Seed Club. This is where he worked alongside industry pioneers to re-imagine how the internet could create radically new businesses and experiences.
Soon after the incubator, Jeff launched JUMP, a community for marketing and advertising professionals who are passionate about web3. In less than one year, both Morning Brew and Business Insider called JUMP the best community for marketers to learn about web3 and emerging technology.
Today, the community calls jumpnation.xyz its home. Jeff is proud to say the community's platform and services are entirely built and run by a core team of community members that span three continents—all of whom met online through Discord and Twitter.
Over half of Fortune 1,000 brands and every enterprise agency holding group have someone subscribed to JUMP's email newsletter.
Marketers who want to surround themselves with like-minded professionals that are passionate about web3 and emerging technologies should join JUMP.
The next frontier of marketing is here. Web3 platforms are enabling new channels for brands to generate awareness, build community, and drive sales.
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