Kahuna Strategic Services: 4 Learnings from the First 60 Days

By: Katrina Cho | March 6, 2017 | Campaign Strategy, Kahuna


It’s been a couple of months since Kahuna Strategic Services launched in December 2016. The core mission of KSS is to accelerate marketer agility and improve the way modern marketers communicate with their valued customers. As a team, we’ve focused on helping our clients achieve actionable ways to drive engagement, conversion, and retention and have since had the opportunity to engage and work with some of today’s most successful and innovative companies.

We’re excited to share our insights with you—and to get you thinking more about the status of your own marketing strategy. Read on for 4 core learnings:

Learning #1: A positive relationship with your customer base can be more impactful than an incentivized deal.

Many companies are understanding that their users are not just “customers”—they’re people. As companies pivot into a modern marketing mindset, the importance of relationships, personality, and presence with your users is increasingly tied to revenue.

We saw this when we partnered with one of our clients to send a New Year’s campaign with a time-optimized greeting and no outright sales-oriented call-to-action. Users reacted favorably. The campaign drove a historic number of purchases that opened up the opportunity and proof-of-concept for an investment in a user community and relationship that does produce ROI.

Learning #2: The challenges of today’s marketer are always changing, and as a result, there is no standard solution set.

Just as companies need to understand the dynamically changing customer needs, we at Kahuna Strategic Services also need to understand what companies are in need of the most, depending on their state of business. Some companies are looking for growth hackers, others need an extra arm for execution, and many need better insights.

We are excited to be in a space where there are so many opportunities to conquer the growing market needs. We have dedicated ourselves to remain at the forefront of marketing trends and technology while also staying true to the art that is marketing.

One of our strategists, Christina Harewood, has been in the marketing space for 15 years, creating strategies for some of the world’s biggest names. She explains that a key challenge for marketers today is that “While the rules of marketing as a craft have never been static, we’ve seen immense technological shifts in the last few years and the playbook is still being written as we update what we thought we knew. As such, there is a strong desire amongst marketers to be guided towards what’s meaningful versus what’s just noise.

Learning #3: Brands can be defined by more than one vertical.

People do not see themselves as part of a segment but rather as individuals who are engaged by highly personalized messages. Similarly with brands, they don’t see themselves as just one of a segment but organizations with connections to different types of brands. Many successful companies rely on their ever evolving key differentiators to highlight their value proposition, so categorizing their brand gets more difficult over time.

You could be teetering between a Lifestyle and Utility brand or perhaps between Health and Gaming. As a result, we have tailored our benchmarking analysis to be flexible enough to allow for multiple vertical views that provide a more holistic definition of companies in the market. We have seen that the way a brand can stack up in their “intuitive” vertical is often not how they stack up in the vertical they aspire to be in. By providing this flexibility in benchmarking, we have enabled marketers to identify areas of opportunity for both marketing and product improvements, effectively preparing them for market shifts and brand pivots.

Learning #4: Marketers are genuinely interested in understanding the application of art & science in marketing relative to today’s technological landscape.

We are seeing more and more marketers adopting this practice. We took a look at our customer base over the past 8 months and it was astounding to see that overall, Kahuna’s AI-optimized messaging produced a 17% uplift in engagement and a 7x increase in conversions.

With this type of information now readily available, marketers are becoming much more comfortable with letting technology optimize their strategy. This all suggests that there is a harmonious relationship emerging from the application of machine learning technology to traditional marketing.

Final thoughts

Our team is passionate about disrupting the status quo. We are a team of experienced marketing strategists who strive to refine the art of marketing and amplify our message by leveraging the most advanced technology that has been developed over the years. With our rich marketing experience, powerful mission of accelerating marketer agility, and state-of-the-art technology, we are confident that we will change whole marketing organizations to deliver the most optimized and intelligent strategies that give greater ability to focus on the creative side that resonates with today’s customer.

In these 60 days we’ve learned that regardless of our role, vertical/industry, or professional penchants, we as marketers are all in the crux of a pretty unique time in marketing history. We are facing more hypotheses and fewer vetted answers about how the art of marketing will continue to be influenced by technology. Nevertheless, we also learned that most marketers are up for the challenge and looking forward to harnessing all of these unknowns.

Do you relate to these points? Are you looking to revolutionize and power your approach to marketing? Get in touch with the Kahuna Strategic Services team today. We would love to connect and help you take your marketing strategy to the next level.


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Author: Katrina Cho

Katrina Cho is a Client Strategist at Kahuna. She is inspired to create and execute marketing campaigns that are innovative and results-driven for both enterprise and growth-stage companies. Prior to Kahuna, Katrina worked at Responsys and Oracle Marketing Cloud where she provided strategic consult and direction to implement key marketing initiatives for Fortune 500 companies. In her spare time, she loves to travel and grow from her experiences with new places and people.

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