Carolyn serves as the Vice President of Marketing for AppsFlyer, for the North America region. Beyond her commercial role, she nurtures the entrepreneurial spirit as an MBA@Rice faculty member and a founding board member of Silicon Valley Leadership Community.
Recognized with accolades such as LinkedIn’s “Top Voices” and Product Marketing Alliance’s “Top 100 PMMs,” Carolyn is celebrated for bringing products like Facebook Attribution to global markets, building high-performing marketing teams, and thought leadership in ‘women in leadership,’ ‘marketing management’ and ‘mobile growth strategies’ through key speaking engagements for educational and professional events. Carolyn built her career portfolio through leadership roles at technology powerhouses including Moomoo, Facebook, Visa, and Yahoo.
In your own words, what’s your role in the app business right now?
Currently, my role in the app business at AppsFlyer is threefold:
An evangelist. I gain exposure to cutting-edge industry thoughts and policies that are not universally recognized. I feel a moral duty to disseminate these innovations, striving to keep my marketing peers at the forefront of change.
An educator. My interaction with AppsFlyer’s clients and service teams provides me with valuable, real-world case studies. These experiences inform and consolidate best practices, equipping me to guide clients and industry practitioners effectively to avoid costly errors and accelerate their impact.
An advocate. I stand in solidarity with marketers, who often operate under challenging circumstances. They are required to make critical decisions based on imperfect data but remain accountable for their work’s outcomes. Committed to supporting their needs, I actively advocate for solutions that enhance their marketing decision-making capabilities.
How did you end up working in apps? / get started?
Drawn towards the mobile sector’s exponential growth since 2010 and my innate passion for exploring new possibilities and solving uncharted problems, it was inevitable that I would venture into the mobile economy. My initial step into mobile marketing began with incremental involvements, including an interim CMO for a few mobile startups I had invested in back in 2015. My full dive into the deep end came when I welcomed the opportunity from Moomoo to establish their brand and build a marketing team in the US, marking the commencement of my leadership journey in mobile marketing.
What are you most excited about in apps right now? (tech, trends, people, verticals)
Mobile apps are becoming a must-have for brands to engage with their customers. Meanwhile, 67% of 400 marketing stakeholders surveyed by the World Federation of Advertisers say that a “shortage of talent” is hindering their growth plans. The opportunity to educate more marketers on mobile marketing will help transform both their companies’ growth and their career advancements.
What other companies in the app space do you rate/ inspire you and why?
I find inspiration in mobile app service integrators and mobile growth influencers. They exemplify the power of early adoption, using advanced tools to drive efficiency and distinguish themselves. However, industry-wide transformation hinges on most practitioners having access to contextual guidance and awareness of the latest industry developments.
Tech providers like AppsFlyer are well-positioned to provide such innovation and education. My upcoming goal involves increasing collaboration with these entities and transforming some of our AppsFlyer clients into potent mobile growth influencers.
What do you like most about working in apps?
What invigorates me about working in the app industry is the opportunity to drive innovation. Unlike the web economy, the mobile economy’s playbook remains largely unformulated, offering an exhilarating challenge. Innovating monetization and engagement models, discovering new acquisition channels, calculating unit economy, and refining ROI analysis – these present intriguing intellectual puzzles to solve daily – an aspect I thoroughly enjoy.
What one thing would you change about the app industry / market?
The one thing that I would change about the app industry is education. While veteran mobile industry professionals may feel like everyone knows about mobile, the overall online business world finds the mobile app economy opaque, niche and mysterious. It would be ideal if we could have more talents trained in the basics of mobile economy early on so that more professionals can be better equipped to take on the much-needed mobile-driven omnichannel strategies.
Where do you think there’s an opportunity for apps / or unmet needs?
Using AI to make our work more efficient. The complexity of mobile marketing analytics, amplified by ongoing privacy changes, presents a ripe area for AI intervention. Another example is in creative optimization. There is a constant need to refresh mobile app discovery campaign creatives, a daunting task for many.
Imagine if we could automate the process of discerning which creative elements work best for a specific channel or audience, freeing marketers to focus more on storytelling rather than time-consuming data mining. AI could potentially be that game-changer.
If you weren’t working in apps what would you be doing?
I’d love to spend more time doing deeper research into key questions facing marketing executives, perhaps through pursuing a PhD. For example, when should you care about branding metrics as a gaming business vs a D2C brand? How much should you invest into branding vs. conversions, in Year 1, Year 2, Year 5, and so on? What should be your compass when evaluating the success of marketing: revenue, conversions, brand equity, or brand lift? And what kind of talents should you have at different business growth stages?
iOS or Android?
iOS. No explanation needed.
What app(s) have been most useful to you over the last year?
Amazon. As a mom of 3, I have relied on Amazon for a lot of last-minute needs, ranging from school supplies to costumes for school plays.
What’s on your Spotify / Music party playlist?
Low-fi music. Makes me feel more connected to my kids, who apparently influence my music choices.
Any Netflix/ TV show recommendations?
Actually, I’m more of a movie person than a TV show person. My most recent movie favorite is On The Basis of Sex, depicting the early life stories of the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Another one of my favorites is Little Women.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
Talk to me about new cooking recipes. Not only a foodie, I also enjoy the process of cooking, which is both creative and meditating for me.
Do you know someone driving change and growth in the app industry? Nominate an app leader here.