Work: Mason Thelen

JAHNA PELOQUIN | Updated 5/9/2013

Entrepreneur Mason Thelen wants to “push the boundaries” of marketing.

Mason Thelen

Q: What was your professional background leading up to your current company, Elicit Insights?

A: I have been inflicted with a career ailment I refer to as “professional ADD.” Elicit marks the eighth company I have launched or developed — everything from a record label to apparel companies to specialized consultancies. But I really cut my teeth designing customer experiences and building loyalty programs for companies like Home Depot, NASCAR, Best Buy and Pepsi.

Q: Your company is in the business of “advanced customer analytics and marketing.” What does that mean in layspeak?

A: My business partner Chuck Densinger and I help our clients develop systems, processes and customer interactions — marketing, Web experiences, mobile apps, call centers — that demonstrate their “love” for each customer. We are working hard to develop capabilities that can function as closely to a human brain as possible during the course of a customer interaction.

Q: What drew you to the world or marketing?

A: I always found marketing’s ability to affect people very interesting. While marketing and advertising has traditionally been developed at the lowest common denominator to incentivize consumers on the companies’ terms, it’s evolving into a participative sport between companies and individuals. I started seeing the evolution early in my career and wanted to be involved in pushing the boundaries of what marketing would become.

Q: Despite your busy travel schedule, you still call Minnesota home. What keeps you here?

A: Seasons. I realized early in my 20s I needed four distinct seasons to keep me balanced. Plus we have amazing music and art scenes, our theaters are only rivaled by New York City in number and quality, and the food and dining are a hidden gem. Shout-out to my friend Jack Riebel at Butcher & the Boar for his James Beard nomination for best chef! And there is the obvious answer — my family is here.

Q: You’re a big Timberwolves fan. After this season’s plague of injuries, are you planning to re-up your season tickets?

A: Absolutely, yes. While we were stricken by all of the injuries, including K-Love and Roy out, Ricky coming back midseason and the handful of others, we have the core of a team that could do something special with the right off-season moves. Besides, how else would I get my J.J. Berea fix?

Mason Thelen

Age: 30.

Lives in: Downtown Minneapolis.

Occupation: Principal (owner).

Employer: Elicit Insights.

Start date: 2009.

Education: University of St. Thomas, Schulze School of Entrepreneurship.