Has Klaviyo found the key to a successful sponsored content strategy?

By
Elsie Bernaiche
,
Account Executive at ThoughtLeaders
May 14, 2020

Klaviyo is an email marketing platform created for online businesses featuring powerful email and SMS marketing automation. Approximately 7200 companies use Klaviyo, mostly from the retail industry. Klaviyo is most often used by SMBs generating $1-10M in annual revenues. Even though Klaviyo has only 0.76% of the market share in email platforms, they’re definitely one of the leaders in sponsoring content in the marketing world. As their slogan states, Klaviyo is “where eCommerce businesses come to grow”. 



Breakdown of formats, mentions, and category trends

YouTube: 62 mentions from 19 Thought Leaders

Podcast: 483 mentions from 31 Thought Leaders

Newsletter: 110 mentions from 20 Thought Leaders

Blog: 9 mentions from 7 Thought Leaders


Klaviyo has tested across all formats, but is clearly leveraging podcasts, specifically in the marketing category. Interestingly, they are not being mentioned on many technology channels, instead seeing a higher number of Entrepreneur and Lifestyle partnerships. 


They first appeared in sponsored content on podcast in Sept 2014 on the E-commerce Influence podcast. On the episode, Justin Winter of Diamond Candles discusses his nearly $20M in growth and how e-commerce efforts got him there. He mentions Klaviyo as a sponsor and also reviews how their product could help someone achieve success similar to his own. 



They’ve actually continued to sponsor on this channel consistently for a total of 72 times running thru March 2020. 


Another long-time relationship Klaviyo has hit upon that is driving results for them is the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast. A combination of marketing, entrepreneur, and pure entertainment, this channel is a triple threat, appealing to multiple target audiences that are well-suited for Klaviyo products. We have the micro business “mom ‘n pop” shops, the SMBs, and the enterprise-level businesses that can all benefit from Klaviyo’s offerings, and they’re definitely attracting these audiences with the content from this podcast. 


Klaviyo began sponsoring this podcast in Dec 2014 - in fact, it was their second sponsorship piece EVER. Now, this podcast has become their strongest relationship with a whopping 110 total sponsored episodes still running thru May 2020. 



The strategy

Here’s an excellent example of a sponsored episode where Klaviyo is being praised by the podcast host as the “best email marketing platform that I personally use”. Then Klaviyo follows up with an offer of a free trial, which is guaranteed to drive higher click-thrus than discounted pricing or some of the other promotions we see in this space. 


They’re also going the extra mile by sponsoring super relevant content - in this episode, the host breaks down how a business should handle financial downturns due to coronavirus. As a SMB or entrepreneur listening to this episode, hearing the mid-roll mentioning Klaviyo and seeing the caption, I could only conclude that Klaviyo is a tool that could help salvage my business. Many business owners listen to podcasts daily as a form of ongoing education in their industry, and through sponsoring this podcast Klaviyo is accessing an audience looking for solutions to optimize their business output. It’s the perfect scenario for any marketer looking to use influencers to sell your product. 



How do they compare with their competitors ?

So what are the other email marketing titans doing in comparison to Klaviyo? MailChimp, one of the largest competitors, is sponsoring content but in very different areas.

Much of MailChimp’s mentions are actually affiliate - most of the newsletter and blog activity you’re seeing is directly related to MailChimp’s email newsletter hosting service, where they plug in a button at the bottom of any emails sent through their service. 



While this does count as a form of marketing, this is not directly sponsored content. MailChimp may be able to rely on organic traffic, but they’re missing out by not adapting a targeted strategy like Klaviyo. We can see from the content breakdown that most of the newsletters being sent through MailChimp are in the lifestyle category. The very small engagement they offer within the templated emails combined with the broad demographic means that very few marketers are receiving these types of emails and even less are actually showing interest in MailChimp by clicking that button. 


According to MailChimp, they have over 7M businesses sending newsletters to the world at large: that’s 7M newsletters MINIMUM, with anywhere from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. MailChimp may just have the largest organic pool of opportunity in existence, but they aren’t maximizing the impact by sponsoring a core group of marketing and business newsletters that they support. There are endless options for MailChimp to tighten up ship in the newsletter world that they themselves helped build. (Keep track of brands like this using our platform’s “watch section”.)



Conclusion

MailChimp isn’t the only company increasing sponsorship in newsletters as of late: Klaviyo continues to target specific content and partnerships that will drive results, and there are some amazing examples here:

On May 8th Klaviyo appeared both in the Entrepreneurs on Fire podcast and in the EoF newsletter that runs parallel. Jake Cohen is the head of Product Marketing at Klaviyo and a guest of the show. On the exact same day they are running an offer in the EoF newsletter. 

This is a great example of using multiple levels and approaches to content sponsorship and is an approach so well-suited to B2B.


Another approach we are seeing is the content piece like this example, seen in the specifically marketing-focused Digiday Daily newsletter.

Here, they are again targeting topics around coronavirus but also positioning themselves in relation to marketing. This tidbit mentions how e-comm sales have increased around mood/wellness-related products. A topic sure to get clicks, Klaviyo is ready to swoop in as the premiere e-comm solution to help business owners and entrepreneurs capitalize on all of this extra traffic by sponsoring content like this.


Klaviyo is a great example of a company with a well-rounded, multi-faceted sponsored content strategy, one that is clearly working given the consistent growth they have had over the past two years. Outpacing key competitors could be the winning strategy for a brand like Klaviyo, who is looking to steal more of that market share in the years to come. Their plan is more solid and targeted than any of the other email marketing platforms we’re currently tracking, so stay tuned for more updates on Klaviyo’s success!