Michelle Killebrew, IBM Social Business: DMN 2014 40 Under 40 Award winner

Michelle Killebrew
Program Director of Strategy and Solutions, IBM Social Business

Winning ways: Killebrew is all about optimization. With analytics as her guide, Killebrew led and launched the first integrated digital campaign across the IBM Smarter Commerce portfolio, introducing role-based messaging and providing best practices and Web analytics globally to in-country marketing teams. Additionally, her data-led work has resulted in revenue increases across several areas of the business.

Defining moment: “It’s been a number of progressive experiences that have built on themselves. The biggest opportunity is taking advantage of them…. [First], I was the director of marketing for an online retailer. I was able to tinker around with Google Analytics, really look at the user flow and what was made to optimize that user flow, and increase revenue significantly. Then in my next role working for Coremetrics…[I] implemented campaigns with more sophisticated digital analytic capabilities and looked at optimization and trends in a much more sophisticated way. When that company was then acquired by IBM, I was able to pilot specific trends that I had learned from Coremetrics and apply those on a much larger scale with IBM.”

Words to live by: “Concentration is my motto—first honesty, then industry, then concentration.”  –Andrew Carnegie

Head swivel: “When I rolled up my sleeves and really delved into the discussions around content marketing, I realized that this is something that we had already figured out, to some degree, and were implementing it in some of our customer engagement strategies.”

Good advice: “The best thing for [young marketers] to learn is the desire and passion to keep learning.”

First job: “My very first job was babysitting. My first official pay-check job was in a shop in a retail environment. Both of those really teach you to be patient and think about other people’s needs first. In the first instance, it’s the child. In the second instance, it’s the customer. It’s really putting that end-user hat on when you think about how you approach different problems.”

On your nightstand: “I’m currently reading Brisingr—book three of The Inheritance Cycle series by Christopher Paolini.  It’s a fantasy, hero journey about a young farm boy and his dragon [and how] they hope to overthrow an amazingly strong and sadistic king from his control of the Empire. At the end of a long day plugged into the digital world, I enjoy escaping in the storytelling evoked in fiction on paperback. That said, of course there are always life and career lessons that can still be learned and applied: how one gains skills to succeed, the promise of overcoming obstacles to achieve, the importance of people that help you along the way, to name just a few.”

Favorite mobile app: “Right now, I’d have to say TripIt because I’m traveling so much. It really [keeps me] on the ball as to where I’m supposed to be next. If I’m thinking about engagement, it’s probably Hootsuite in that it allows me to stay engaged on a variety of different social fronts and understand how I can engage with my audience while I’m sitting in the airport or traveling in a car on the go.”

Click or tap here to read the stories behind the successes of the other Direct Marketing News 2014 40 Under 40 winners.

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