Kady S., SVP Global Head of Marketing at Klaviyo
, is interested in building entrepreneurial, diverse, and effective marketing teams that grow and scale alongside some of the world's most impactful consumer brands.
As a former engineer with 20+ years of experience in marketing for tech, CPG, and DTC companies, she is uniquely positioned to use data, customer insights, and integrated brand strategy to deliver industry-leading results.
Throughout her career, she has led Fortune 500 and pre-IPO companies that have scaled to millions of users, global teams, and double digit growth. She was part of the team that helped lead Dropbox through a successful IPO and truly loves that phase of hyper-growth at fast-paced, innovative companies.
When she is not leading marketing for high-growth B2B and B2C brands, she is a Venture Advisor at Relay Ventures, a frequent guest lecturer at Stanford, a keynote speaker, and guest contributor for several leading business publications. She is also an avid reader, a perpetual student, and (most importantly), a very proud parent.
Life is a team sport, we can’t go at anything alone. Being additive to people and situations not only make things fun, but it also makes things way more satisfying and meaningful.
MEDIA 7: Can you please take us through your 18+ years of helping B2B and B2C businesses grow?
KADY S.: For as long as I can remember I have always been interested in growth. I was always drawn to logic-based problem solving, and I figured studying engineering and computer science would give me access to the new jobs being created by software companies in India at the time. My first job out of school was working for Intel as a software programmer where I learned languages like C, C++, Java, and others -- but I wanted to learn more about business, so I decided to pursue an MBA at UNC Chapel Hill, where I really discovered my passion for marketing. I ended up going into consulting for a few years because I enjoyed being exposed to all different altitudes of problems. After stints at a few different companies, I landed at Electronic Arts where I helped drive growth for their mobile business. From there I joined Dropbox as the Global Head of Growth Marketing and Integrated GTM, where I also drove demand generation for the enterprise. That ultimately led me to Owlet Baby Care, where I took on the position of Chief Marketing Officer, becoming a strategic storyteller for the company and driving global marketing efforts to build brand equity and raise awareness. What’s exciting is that I’ve had marketing responsibilities within so many different areas and business models -- entertainment and gaming, technology, connected devices, and now back to SaaS. Each of them had their special epiphany moment that contributed to where I am today.
M7: How does Klaviyo help businesses drive revenue using marketing automation platform?
KS: Our core mission is to help businesses grow, and we do that by focusing on owned marketing channels, which most brands aren’t fully optimizing. We know by now that customers are looking for personalized experiences, so our job is to help businesses leverage the data they already have from their e-commerce platforms and integrate it into one place, which makes it easier for them to personalize their customer messages (via email and SMS), generate more conversions and ultimately, more revenue. By offering the best-personalized experiences, infinitely scalable customer infrastructure, expert guidance, and complete ownership of data and relationships, we are giving businesses a different playbook to grow faster in ways they can control.
Plenty of people never thought they would end up where they did, but almost all of them had discipline, rigor, and a deep learning mentality. Be flexible with your goals but really clear on how you spend your day/week/life.
M7: Forbes has recognized Klaviyo as one of America’s best startup employers in 2021. What has been the strategy behind achieving such prestigious recognition?
KS: We’re ambitious, collaborative and most importantly, we’re customer-first. We believe in building a really great culture by giving all employees challenging work, hiring remarkable people, and giving everyone problems to work on that are interesting and impactful.
We focus on personal and professional learning and growth - it’s one of the cornerstones of our business. Many companies don’t invest enough in developing people, but if you’re investing in people, why wouldn’t you invest more in making them better? We are interested in helping people become the best they can be.
M7: What do you consider the biggest challenges in marketing these days?
KS: One of our biggest challenges right now is solving the regulations on third-party data practices. Between Google delaying its cookie block until 2023, Facebook’s updated in-platform reporting data, and Apple’s new privacy updates, digital advertising as we know it, has changed. There has been a lot of disruption in our space, and we are tasked with helping our customers understand what this means for them and teaching them how to build a brand that withstands customer data privacy changes. We recently launched a campaign to help educate our customers and other entrepreneurs on these changes and will be continuing to talk about this throughout the year.
Maybe it’s programming, excel manipulation, or data analysis, but no matter your role, particularly in marketing, this will be more and more crucial in the future.
M7: What marketing channels do you use and which ones do you see as the most promising given your target customers?
KS: After launching in 2012, Klaviyo historically relied on word-of-mouth marketing for brand awareness and visibility. Today, we’re in the midst of launching some of our first campaigns, brand activations, and influencer-marketing program - a huge milestone for the company as we look to make Klaviyo a household name. We are confident that through these campaigns, powerful PR, an engaging content strategy, as well as clever influencer marketing and strategic partnerships, we will establish Klaviyo as a sophisticated and expert partner in helping our customers grow. These channels will combine to create a seamless, holistic customer experience from prospect to long-term Klaviyo and establish the company as a brand that stands for something bigger than email or SMS.
M7: What is your advice to young women, trying to pave their way into Marketing?
KS: I love this question. There are things five things I’d recommend to anyone trying to get into marketing:
Put yourself in uncomfortable positions: Given the speed with which the world is changing, unless you are constantly learning, you will fall behind. The best way to pack a lot of learning into a very short amount of time is to take on a job where you probably know 50% of what to do. It’s highly uncomfortable and very hard, but the only way to optimize for long-term success.
I can’t emphasize this enough - learn some hard skills: Maybe it’s programming, excel manipulation, or data analysis, but no matter your role, particularly in marketing, this will be more and more crucial in the future.
Be totally authentic: Someone famous said don't be the best, be the only. There is no point wasting time being someone else when you can be the best you possible.
Hold your goals lightly but path tightly: Plenty of people never thought they would end up where they did, but almost all of them had discipline, rigor, and a deep learning mentality. Be flexible with your goals but really clear on how you spend your day/week/life.
Be additive: Life is a team sport, we can’t go at anything alone. Being additive to people and situations not only make things fun, but it also makes things way more satisfying and meaningful.