Kellee Van Horne
Sr. Marketing Manager, LinkedIn
How did your earlier career choices lead to your current role at LinkedIn?
I find excitement in understanding why people make certain decisions and using that knowledge to help them make better decisions. This passion led me to pursue a career in Wealth Management where I could understand why individuals make investment decisions and learn how to help them improve those investment decisions for themselves and their families. In my first role, I developed a deep understanding of the financial markets and financial analysis, which allowed me to pivot to two leadership roles at startups where I built their finance departments.
In those roles, I also gained exposure to entrepreneurship and technology, which led me to attend Stanford Graduate School of Business. After business school, I knew I wanted to continue working in technology because I love fast-paced environments with evolving challenges. I chose product marketing at LinkedIn because it tapped into my interest in understanding and improving purchasers’ decision making. Since being at LinkedIn, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a number of different products and buyers, expanding my skills as a marketer and business professional.
Tell us what your role at LinkedIn entails and describe a typical day:
My current role at LinkedIn is marketing to the largest customers of our Sales Solutions business. Typically, I’ll spend some time with the sales team understanding the status of their relationships with their clients and brainstorming ways that we can deepen that relationship from both the decision maker and end user perspective. I’ll often have existing campaigns in flight, so I’ll spend some time pulling metrics from our data warehouse and crunching the numbers in Excel to understand how those campaigns are doing. I also spend time with our creative brand teams discussing new ideas for campaigns and how to design them in a way that achieves our goals and fits into the LinkedIn portfolio.
Depending on the day, I have one-on-one meetings with members of my team, which is my opportunity to provide coaching and guidance on ongoing projects. Of all of my daily responsibilities, this coaching is the part I enjoy the most. I love working in a team, and it’s amazing to see the individuals I manage grow, develop, and create amazing work.
What has been your proudest achievement at LinkedIn thus far?
I led a team of marketers to launch the Portraits of Success project, which far exceeded my expectations from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. The goal of the project was to capture customer success stories that bring to life the experiences of our individual users and drive stronger emotional ties with our audience. We developed written profiles, original photography, and a full set of marketing assets. These launched to an audience of existing subscribers, with the goal of driving increased product usage.
After all our hard work, I was proud that subscriber engagement with the success stories we developed was 2X – 3X higher than benchmarks across all of our marketing channels. The campaign was so successful that we repurposed it for other initiatives.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
The most challenging part of marketing is staying true to your top priorities and saying no to other opportunities that arise.
Marketers are often pulled into a variety of different projects because we often have a jack-of-all-trades reputation, but our work suffers when we aren’t able to devote sufficient time and energy to the truly needle-moving work. My career in marketing has taught me the value in rigorous prioritization.
What is your life mission and how does your current role intersect with that mission?
As I mentioned, every role that I’ve held in my career has allowed me to help people make better decisions. I am drawn to opportunities to optimize and improve my own life and the lives of the people around me, and being a marketer allows me to do so. With my current role at LinkedIn, I’m helping to usher in a new era of buying and selling that’s ultimately better for people on both sides of the transaction.
Diversity in tech is a hot button topic right now. What advice would you give to tech enthusiasts of color hoping to work for LinkedIn?
Your network is your most important asset, especially in tech. If you don’t already have relationships at LinkedIn or any other target company, that should be your first step. Especially these days, when most companies are hiring aggressively, the question isn’t whether there are opportunities available. It’s more about whether you have the relationships to stand out above the other applicants who submit their resumes. If you go the extra mile to build lasting relationships, you’ll always be more successful with your application.