Chief Executive Officer
W/ since October 2010
Aaron Burnett is CEO and founder of Wheelhouse Digital Marketing Group, a fast-growing digital marketing agency recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the best places to work in the United States and by both Seattle Magazine and the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the best workplaces in Washington State.
His more than two decades of business and entrepreneurial experience was defined by an early realization: that conventional, mercenary business practices offer little joy or fulfillment. Instead, Aaron has cultivated and built a thriving company based on an unwavering focus on helpfulness, generosity, and joy. Wheelhouse is the culmination of Aaron’s experience and commitment to values-driven decision-making. It’s a story told through performance, such as:
- The 50 percent year-over-year growth the company has enjoyed for the past five years – all through referrals from delighted clients.
- Inclusion in the INC 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in the United States for each of the past four years.
It’s also a story told through people—by strings of adjectives, straight from Aaron’s colleagues, employees, and clients: “trustworthy,” “astute,” “imaginative,” and “scary smart,” to list a few.
Every point of Aaron’s career has been marked by his ability to leverage technology and his own creativity to drive growth. At McCaw Cellular (later acquired by AT&T, becoming AT&T Wireless), Aaron started as a data-entry temp and was hired as a full-time employee within three weeks after identifying key technical insights by identifying patterns in maintenance data that previously had gone unnoticed. Within nine months, he was leading a team of 75 and within five years, he rose to VP of Sales & Marketing. Along the way, he led a development and data-science project that produced a highly accurate predictive model for consumer call activity and successfully inventing and developing a telecommunications platform that reduced key network expenses by 80%.
Aaron has an uncanny ability to envision, craft, and share a story—to pinpoint and never lose sight of its core value. His creativity, coupled with a wealth of marketing experience, has led to a fine-tuned strategic acumen that guides his own direction and the direction of his partners and clients. For example, as SVP of Marketing at Speakeasy, Aaron doubled direct and affiliate sales within 100 days of his hire date. In his next role, as VP of Marketing at NetMotion Wireless, Aaron executed a strategy that grew the company’s customer base from 70 to 700 in less than two years.
Among his many other professional accomplishments, Aaron served as the president and principal of Produxs, a UX design firm; was one of four partners in a boutique brand strategy and marketing consultancy with the creator of the Microsoft Windows brand and the former president of Starbucks International; co-founded the first web-based telecommunication service aggregator serving the Hispanic market in the U.S., and developed and implemented a marketing strategy as VP of Marketing for PivotLink that took the company from obscurity to rising stardom in its market.
Wheelhouse is the culmination of Aaron’s experience and commitment to values-driven decision-making. The agency’s culture is grown and protected by twin missions:
- to be the best partner for each client and
- to be the best place to work for as many people as possible.
In 2015, Aaron took Wheelhouse values beyond the office, launching a quarterly “Generosity Day” initiative to serve those in need within the Seattle community.
Aaron’s unique approach at Wheelhouse has been a resounding success—an accomplishment reflected by the company’s glowing Glassdoor reviews and its recent nomination as a Best Workplace in Washington. Employees are happy, turnover is very low, and the agency’s average annual growth rate over the past three years has been 60% with the word-of-mouth support of happy clients.
Aaron’s Media Appearances
Authority Magazine (on Medium)
Dr. D’s Social Network (podcast)
Snyder Showdown (podcast)
The Hot Mic @ Arch DevOps (podcast)
How to Build a Values-based Organization That Boosts Growth
Breakthrough Success (podcast)
Unconventional Business Growth Strategies That Don’t Involve Sales Or Marketing With Aaron Burnett
TINYcon2018 (Main Stage)
“Beyond Happiness: Developing and Fostering a Culture of Joy”
2017 (Breakout Session)
Reviving and Sustaining Culture with TINYpulse
“Aaron Burnett sparked something massive when I invited him to speak at TINYcon. He set an alltime NPS record of 97 — after that it has been pure aggravation getting his time for a repeat appearance. Aaron’s constantly busy now inspiring audiences with his extraordinary journey and learnings. His skills as a public speaker are an absolute dream for any event.” David Niu, Founder & CEO of TINYpulse
Have you met everyone?
Meet the rest of our team
Aaron is CEO & Founder, and a broadly accomplished digital marketing professional. He is responsible for vision, strategy and culture. He’s still happily married to that New Zealander he met in Malaysia and they now have two wonderful daughters.
When Ellie isn’t word smithing caption copy, you can find her adjusting to mountain life after 16 years living in NYC or twirling in an aerial silks class.
Arun is the Vice President of Growth at Wheelhouse DMG. Outside of informing our go-to-market strategy, pricing, operations and strengthening client engagements, you can find him tackling his many interests including cooking, wine, hockey, traveling, hiking, television/film, and attending live music.
Candace is an Account Director at Wheelhouse DMG. When she’s not helping our clients to shape their story and grow their brands, you can find her enjoying live entertainment and growing hops for beer with her husband.
Laura is Senior Media Strategist in our Virginia office. She is a Richmond, VA native and Seattle wannabe (she’ll settle for visiting a few times a year). Laura loves keeping up with the latest paid search trends, winery tours, and any activities where she can bring her Golden Retriever, Penny.
When Cas isn’t identifying emerging marketing tools and trends that will help elevate client brands, you can find her plotting her move from Oklahoma to Washington, checking out local breweries, or working on training her pup, Opal.
When Becky is not supporting the employees on our team, you can find her tending to her large vegetable garden or in the kitchen whipping up a new delicious creation!