Maly Ly: 2015 Marketing Hall of Femme Honoree

Maly Ly’s marketing genius is distinctly a product of her background. Arriving in the U.S. at seven years old, Ly learned to overcome language barriers by connecting with people psychologically. Having worked in two of the most disruptive and consumer-driven markets around (music and video games), Ly further honed her ability to connect with people. This work, combined with her experience as an early hire at AdRoll, helped solidify Ly as an expert at crafting powerful messages without compromising brand purpose or identity, or alienating consumers. Now, Ly applies her marketing savvy to Sojern, working to establish the brand as an industry leader.

Marketing strategy: The foundation of my marketing strategy starts with a deep understanding of customers—their needs, problems, and motivations—and how a product or brand can best serve those needs, problems, and motivations. [That knowledge underpins the] unique positioning that resonates with customers. And to approach channels that best engage customers, you have to be willing to listen, to experiment, and to optimize. Additionally, the modern buyer journey—which involves self-directed research, evaluation, and social proof—doesn’t follow a linear purchase journey, so content, programs, and channels have to be mapped to all phases of this journey.

High-quality, relevant, and well-designed content is the key to strong marketing programs. I’m a fanatic when it comes to details, data, and design. Marketing is most powerful when the story, the data, and the visuals work together. These approaches have transformed my two most recent companies, Sojern and AdRoll.

Winning ways: Sojern’s global marketing and sales enablement efforts have helped the company grow at a rate of more than 1,000% on average over the past three years. The company is the only travel technology company to top the Deloitte Fast 500 Technology list for the past two years.

In the past year our team produced news and materials that garnered upwards of 300 million impressions, leading to a 36% increase in Web page views, and a 32% increase in site users. Across social media, in the past year we’ve increased Twitter engagement by more than 500%, and Facebook by more than 700%.

Defining moment: AdRoll secured the number one marketing/advertising company and number seven overall on the Inc. 500 list when I led marketing there. I’d just joined three quarters earlier as the first marketing professional at the company. With a tiny startup budget, little market awareness, undifferentiated positioning, and few sales enablement programs in place, I quickly developed and implemented a marketing plan that helped transform AdRoll within three quarters.

Trend watching: Cross-device. The modern consumer doesn’t follow a linear purchase path. Getting a deep understanding of how and when consumers interact with different technologies is essential for being able to engage with and influence them.

Words to live by: “They sicken of the calm who know the storm.” ? Dorothy Parker

Good read: Just Kids by Patti Smith

Good advice: Learn to listen well, write well, and to interpret data well.

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