How Marissa McGovern, a Former Beauty Industry Marketer, Helps Large Ecommerce Brands Grow

One thing that continues to fascinate me about working at Klaviyo is the people who work here who were once in the shoes of our customers. 

I recently sat down with Marissa McGovern, senior segment marketing manager at Klaviyo, to learn more about her past experience as an ecommerce marketer in the beauty industry. Read on to learn how she uses that experience to help some of Klaviyo’s largest customers grow their brands. 

 

Katie Tierney [KT]: Tell me a little bit about what you were doing before you came to Klaviyo.

Marissa McGovern [MM]: Before Klaviyo, I was doing ecommerce marketing and merchandising for a variety of industries, everything from the beauty industry to the biotech industry.

 

[KT]: Why did you get into ecommerce marketing and specifically the beauty industry?

[MM]: I come from a family of entrepreneurs and small business owners, and the advice they gave me was, “Don’t think about money, just think about what you’re passionate about and do that.” 

I always loved the beauty industry. I loved feeling like you could put on something like lipstick and automatically feel more confident about yourself—the little self-esteem boost you get by looking and feeling your best. The idea of working for a company that could make others feel great about themselves really interested me. 

I started off in the beauty industry as an assistant in sales operations. I showed that I had an interest in ecommerce, which I knew was growing substantially and would change how buyers could shop. Shortly afterward, I got a promotion and started working for a beauty brand in the ecommerce space.

"I started off in the beauty industry as an assistant in sales operations. I showed that I had an interest in ecommerce, which I knew was growing substantially and would change how buyers could shop. Shortly afterward, I got a promotion and started working for a beauty brand in the ecommerce space."

Marissa McGovern, senior segment marketing manager

 

marissa-mcgovern-klaviyo[KT]: How long did you work in that industry and what brought you to Klaviyo?

[MM]: I did that for about seven years or so before joining Klaviyo. Actually, a recruiter for Klaviyo found me. At first, I was a little bit hesitant because I hadn’t worked at a start-up before and, as a new mom, the culture associated with a start-up made me a little bit nervous. But the leadership team here—in particular, Joe McCarthy, my manager—convinced me that Klaviyo was not your average start-up. There was sufficient funding, the company was profitable, so I came in for a couple of interviews. I got a really good feeling about the leadership team, the background of Klaviyo, and, of course, the people.

The role itself really interested me, too. It was an opportunity to use my skill set, but also develop and grow new skills. So I started Klaviyo in January 2019 and I’m having the time of my life.

 

[KT]: What kind of experience did you need to have to come in as a senior segment marketing manager?

[MM]: Klaviyo was looking for someone who could step into a customer’s shoes and understand their day-to-day, which I could certainly do given my experience doing ecommerce marketing and merchandising in both the beauty industry and the biotech world. At the same time, they preferred someone who had an MBA and who could work cross-functionally with many different groups to gather research about various industries and trends in order to come up with good go-to-market strategies for my customer segment.

"Klaviyo was looking for someone who could step into a customer's shoes and understand their day-to-day, which I could certainly do given my experience doing ecommerce marketing and merchandising in both the beauty industry and the biotech world."

Marissa McGovern, senior segment marketing manager

 

[KT]: What does being a senior segment marketing manager entail? 

[MM]: First and foremost, it’s really about understanding the brands in a particular segment. I try to understand everything about the people who work at those brands—everything from their pains, their gains, the industry they’re in, their tech stack, and then formulate a marketing plan to try to engage with them and to get them to ultimately consider Klaviyo. I do that through multiple avenues, such as events, content, programs, partnerships, and more. We have a really strong cross-functional team here, so it makes my work very enjoyable.

I spend a lot of time talking with our existing customers, learning about their challenges, where they come from, what prompted that move to Klaviyo, what type of success they’re seeing with Klaviyo, what types of campaigns they’re running, which flows they’re using, and sharing ideas for things they could do that they might not be doing already. 

It’s really interesting to learn from our customers across all these different industries. As much as I sometimes think I deeply understand the customers I work with, I’m continuously finding little nuances so that’s one of the ways my job definitely keeps me on my toes.  Half of my time is spent on learning from existing customers and the other half is spent on planning how we can acquire more customers to come on board with Klaviyo. 

"It’s really interesting to learn from our customers across all these different industries. As much as I sometimes think I deeply understand the customers I work with, I'm continuously finding little nuances so that's one of the ways my job definitely keeps me on my toes."

Marissa McGovern, senior segment marketing manager

 

[KT]: Tell me a little bit about the particular segment you support. What types of companies do you work with?

[MM]: I work with our larger-sized customers. It’s funny, usually, if you say the name of a brand that I work with, most people have heard of it. Many of these brands have a global reach and they also tend to have brick-and-mortar stores in addition to their online presence. Some of them have wholesale components to them, too. Generally speaking, they have very large and complex systems, structures, and teams which means their purchasing cycles are longer than those for our smaller-sized customers.

 

[KT]: What are some of the things that you help those brands do that are similar to what you used to do when you worked as an ecommerce marketer?

[MM]: I help them understand quite a few things. There’s a shift that’s happening in ecommerce now, especially among these larger complex businesses. Many are used to these legacy technology systems in which they almost feel trapped in some ways because they weren’t necessarily built for ecommerce. They were built for other channels and ecommerce was an afterthought, which makes them wonky, inflexible, and difficult to use. Today, there are more ecommerce-specific technology systems on the horizon—companies like Klaviyo, for example, that are more flexible and nimble while packing a huge powerhouse punch.

I work to make brands that are dealing with these legacy systems aware that modern, ecommerce-specific solutions, like Klaviyo, exist and help them see how they can use them to grow in faster and more impactful ways that will ultimately give them the creativity and flexibility to do many different things they’d otherwise not be able to do with other systems.

"Many [large, complex brands] are used to legacy technology systems in which they almost feel trapped in some ways because they weren't necessarily built for ecommerce... I work to make brands that are dealing with these legacy systems aware that modern, ecommerce-specific solutions, like Klaviyo, exist and help them see how they can use them to grow faster. "

Marissa McGovern, senior segment marketing manager

 

[KT]: What are some things larger brands should be thinking about early in the new year to set themselves up for a strong year of growth ahead?

[MM]: Because they’re larger businesses, many of the brands I work with often have fiscals years that are a bit different than your traditional calendar year and they differ from brand to brand. But let’s just take the calendar year as an example. If your fiscal year starts on January first, I see most brands tend to have their next year’s plan done in probably Q3. As the new year approaches, I’d say continue to follow your plan but, of course, be flexible. Things you don’t plan for can come up. You could find yourself running out of inventory. You could have new competition emerging in your space. There could be an economic change that impacts your business or your customers. Making sure you stay flexible with your plans allows you to swerve, pivot, and take advantage of new opportunities that could come your way.

 

[KT]: What’s been a particularly interesting thing you’ve worked on since you’ve come to Klaviyo that’s helped an ecommerce brand grow? 

[MM]: As part of our account-based marketing strategy, for some brands, I would do almost an audit of their email strategy. I’d sign up for their emails, abandon my cart, purchase a product, and look at the whole email experience. Sometimes, I’d compare them to another brand, highlight the things they’re doing really well, and offer up some ideas on things they could perhaps do to improve or learn from.

This strategy resonated really well with some of the brands I featured in this content series. With one brand, in particular, it resonated so well that they brought my evaluation to their management team, and that sparked a discussion about how they should think about changing their email strategy and even their marketing automation platform for the following year. It’s resulted in some great relationships with brands, which have ultimately become customers.

 

[KT]: What are some of the things about working at Klaviyo that you like most?

[MM]: The people that I work with. There really are no incompetent people here. I have fun bouncing ideas off other people and learning from them. The breadth of experience that my peers, colleagues, and leadership bring to the table that I can learn from is something I really enjoy. Klaviyo promotes an always be learning mentality, which I appreciate. And I love the autonomy that we’re given. If you believe that there’s a great way to connect with a customer, grow additional revenue, or create a better customer experience, and you suggest a plan that’s likely to yield a positive return, you’ll more than likely be able to run with it. It’s encouraging, and it’s one of the many reasons I came here.

"The breadth of experience that my peers, colleagues, and leadership bring to the table that I can learn from is something I really enjoy. Klaviyo promotes an always be learning mentality, which I appreciate. And I love the autonomy that we're given."

Marissa McGovern, senior segment marketing manager

 

[KT]: What’s your most memorable moment as a Klaviyo?

[MM]: There have been a lot, but I’d say my most memorable moment happened at Klaviyo:BOS earlier this year. I was given the opportunity to emcee a discussion with three of our customers, many of whom I’d spoken with before the event. They represented brands whose businesses I really admired. We had someone represent the beauty industry, someone from the health and wellness industry, and someone from the outdoor and wilderness industry. One of those customers I had actually written a case study about, so it was really great to put a face to a name.

 

Think a career at Klaviyo is right for you? We’d love to meet you! Learn more about what it’s like to work at Klaviyo and apply on our careers page.

 

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