2015 40Under40 Winner: Dhanusha Sivajee

Dhanusha Sivajee, EVP of Marketing, XO Group Inc.

Connecting with loyal customers is not a new practice for Sivajee: She quickly learned the significance of faithful consumers in her youth, working as cashier in several businesses owned by her self-employed immigrant parents. Fast forward to today, and Sivajee possesses the same ability to understand customers and their needs. She successfully increased target audiences at AOL, as well as Bloomberg Mobile, leading a team that created the award-winning Bloomberg Businessweek iPad app. Marketing a new mission for XO Group Inc. allowed Sivajee to increase user engagement of the company’s flagship brand for wedding planning, The Knot, by 5x since the relaunch of its website.

Defining moment: As marketing manager at HBO, I worked closely with the research and analytics team. A deeper analysis of data led us to different conclusions…. It showed me the power of storytelling using data, and the importance of developing insights-driven marketing strategies.

Words to live by: “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” As you move up, down, and sideways in your career, the key to success is defining it for yourself and staying true to your own ambitions.

Strategy shift: Brides are following trends, but putting their own personal spin on them…. This prompted us to create the “yours.truly.” brand positioning that is reflected in all of our products, imagery, and in the real weddings we feature on The Knot.

Up next:  The trend of seeking, being matched, and connected with experts and coaches like personal trainers, personal shoppers, is intriguing. I’m curious to see how we can tap into this trusted expert role as we move into a more “expert on-demand” cultural phenomena.

Advice to young marketers: Always be very clear about who your customer is and what problem you’re solving for them.

Kristin LaFratta

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