When Netflix named Saint John CMO in June, it wasn’t exactly a surprise.
She’d spent the previous two decades working in executive roles at some of the world’s most formidable brands and tech companies, including Apple Music, Beats Music, PepsiCo and Uber. Saint John was the first African-American woman to join Netflix’s group of C-Suite executives and the streaming giant’s third marketing chief in less than 18 months.
At Apple, she spearheaded campaigns geared toward growing consumer brand recognition and loyalty around the world. She made a name for herself at Apple’s 2016 Worldwide Developer’s Conference, when she managed to get a room full of tech developers to rap— slightly—along to The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.”
In June 2017, Uber hired Saint John to repair the company’s reputation and morale. One year later she left to serve as CMO at entertainment and sports agency Endeavor. And she reportedly left that job after receiving a $7 million-a-year offer from Netflix.
Over 15 million people subscribed to Netflix in the first three months of 2020, marking record growth for the top subscription video-on-demand service. In all, Saint John will be responsible for marketing to the 182.8 million Netflix subscribers.
She joins the streaming behemoth at a time when the company is up against a slew of new competitors, including Disney Plus, HBO Max and Apple TV. But Saint John, who says she learned at an early stage in her career to “trust her gut,” seems to have plenty of ideas up her sleeve about how best to promote shows on the streaming service.
The exec told a packed crowd at the 2019 online marketing festival in Germany that performance marketing is key to success. “All of our businesses and corporations require a level of intimacy with our consumer that can only be reached through performance marketing,” she said. “[We need to understand] what are the expectations of our audience? What do they want us to know about them and therefore we can service them better.”
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