Woman of Excellence: Kelly Kachnowski

Updated: Nov 19

This month, Kelly Kachnowski was named a winner in the Technology category of the Path to Purchase Institute’s 6th annual Women of Excellence competition. The following is a profile of the qualities and characteristics that earned her the award.

Kelly Kachnowski should be considered a role model for the new breed of “techie” that’s now needed in the business world, an executive who is just as comfortable leading client relationships as working on specs with the IT department.


As Vice President of Commercial Development, Kelly is leading all activity related to The Mars Agency’s proprietary technology platform, Marilyn, the industry's first and only end-to-end commerce marketing advisor.


In the last two years, she has been instrumental in guiding the platform’s design and development, as you would expect from a techie. But she has also engineered Marilyn’s commercial delivery, overseeing the business and marketing plans, the sales efforts, and most importantly, all of our client success efforts.


Kelly didn’t start her career as a technology expert. Her BS was in media studies/broadcasting, her first job was as a radio station music director, and her first role at TMA (after joining in 2010) was planning media for a regional grocer.


But her natural curiosity and growth mindset have always steered her toward new opportunities, and her self-motivation and work ethic help her excel at anything she undertakes. Over the last two years, Kelly has used all of those traits to build an impressive understanding of the technology behind Marilyn and become the ideal person to manage all of the other functions required to bring a platform of this magnitude to market.


Kelly now is working with a growing number of existing clients such as Mondelez International and Conagra Brands to refine and customize Marilyn to ensure that it seamlessly addresses their own specific data needs and delivers on its promise of improving their planning processes.


At the same time, she joins tirelessly with TMA’s internal IT team to continuously enhance the growing platform’s capabilities and functionality and ensure that Marilyn will help shape the future of commerce marketing measurement. That includes building an unrivaled archive of performance data and relevant industry information that will give clients a predictive understanding of future marketing impact.


Kelly’s attention to detail, passion for partnerships, problem-solving mindset and willingness to challenge the status quo have fostered deep relationships with a number of clients — several of which are now actively endorsing Marilyn to other organizations. “We continue to work with Mars because they are an extension of our team here,” Bob Waibel, Senior Director of Shopper Marketing at Conagra Brands, said during a recent Path to Purchase Institute event.


Her deep knowledge of the Marilyn platform’s capabilities and deliverables also make her a critical element of all new business pitches, where her unique combination of technological savvy and personal charm has led to multiple recent wins and served as a perfect way to illustrate the high level of quality service Kelly would provide them as clients.


"The Mars Agency’s mission is to create breakthrough, connected commerce solutions for clients by balancing the smartest humanity with the latest technology," said Rob Rivenburgh, ceo of The Mars Agency, who nominated Kachnowski for the award. "For that goal, we have found the perfect human to be the brains behind the Marilyn platform."

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