Office Hours: I'm head of performance marketing at Walmart+. I'm Roma Vakil.Featured

Hi everyone! I'm Roma Vakil, head of performance marketing at Walmart+. I was previously head of marketing at Acorns and global head of consumer subscription marketing at Bloomberg.

Ask me anything about marketing, eCommerce and fintech, and leading teams.

Thanks so much for joining us @romavakil!Elphas – please ask @romavakil your questions before Friday, October 8th. @romavakil may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites πŸ”₯πŸ‘πŸΎβž•
Hi Roma πŸ‘‹ thanks for being here! My question is about paid social strategy: when first starting out, is it best to create a broad audience with massive reach or more targeted audiences with narrower reach? With the former, the benefit is that you're not introducing bias into who you think your ads will resonate with, but the drawback is you know less about who exactly you're reaching. With the latter, the benefit is you know more about interest/behaviors of people engaging with your ads, but the drawback is you might be excluding entire segments who would be interested in your product. It's a big of a "chicken or egg" situation, would love your thoughts! 🐣
Hi Laurel - This is a great question. My recommendation is to start broad so you can get the scale, experiment & gain learnings around what's working vs. not working. Once you have more data, you can begin to build smaller segments that you can reach with more customized content. Ultimately, I like a hybrid approach - for example, you target a broad audience but layer on personas so you can customize messaging & creative. Hope that helps!
Just a fun question that has been making the rounds on some of my groups. If you could give yourself a rappers name based on your role within Wal-Mart what would be your name?
This is one of my favorite questions :) I might borrow the famous real rappers name Master P and say Master PS....for Master Problem Solver. Every day is full of its unique challenges & fires to fight but I like to approach them with a growth mindset and figure out a solution.
@romavakil thank you for being here. It may be a simplistic question, but when creating a campaign for marketing, how far should one go with polarization to catch people attention. I have a program to teach women to code for free ( and I wanted to run a campaign where I say β€œhe’s getting the jobs” pointing out that men are getting all the tech jobs (women only make up 19% in Robotics & Ai) but everyone on the team vetoed it because they said I was making men evil. But I think I was just pointing out the fact that men are getting the jobs because women are less trained to code. My call to action was to evoke emotions but some women said that they knew it was true but we should not say it directly as it may offend people. What’s your thoughts about when to be polarizing and speak directly to a problem and when to tiptoe around it πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜†or not point it out at all? Where is the line?
This is a great, yet complex question :) My personal opinion is that it depends on a few things: your brand (are you part of a more conservative or provocative brand), your audience (do you think your target audience will be inspired or take offense to a bold statement) and your tone (balancing the delivery to feel powerful but not aggressive/in your face). I personally like provocative, bold statements to capture a user's attention but it really depends on how comfortable your brand is with taking that approach - and if you're OK with any backlash that may follow & prepared to stand by your statement. I know that's not a super black & white answer but hope that helps!
That’s so helpful! Now I see why it’s important to be clear on your brand. Yeah, if everyone on my team took offense then they clearly are not of the bold provocative culture. And as far as my brand yeah I’m highly competitive so this helps me to see that I’m willing to make those kind of statements and defend them. In a speech yesterday I made the bold statement about sustainability and that our planet is at the point of no return. It annoys me that people view stating the harsh reality (that weather will become more harsh and we will have more casualties due to global warming and that we have to plan in to our retirement the reality of the poor planetary conditions) as dystopian and negative. Somehow I see it at motivating and reality. Your answer is SO HELPFUL!
What's your best advice for marketers without a large team? Where should we we focus our manpower?
It's a great question & one that many people who work at start-ups face! I think it depends on your goals & being very thoughtful about prioritizing your efforts on the highest impact initiatives. Don't try to boil the ocean. Another tip - try to lean into automation as much as you can. For example, it's a lot of work to deploy manual CRM batch campaigns - but if you can automate your key messages through trigger-based programs, that's a bunch of set-up work up front, but then you'll see that effort pay off in dividends.
Thank you for taking questions! I’m curious to learn what makes performance marketing different from general marketing.
Great question! Marketing is a broad-term and there are many different types of marketing from brand management to advertising to performance marketing. Performance marketing is a very data-driven area of marketing where you're hyper-focused on optimizing results through experimentation - whether that's new creative, messaging, offers, or programs - to scale results. Acquisition, lifecycle marketing & customer retention fall within the realm of performance marketing.
Hello Roma, Thank you for taking the time to engage in this forum. What drew you to Walmart? What are the most impactful trends you are seeing in your industry? How do you share constructive feedback effectively? Cheers, Amanda
Thanks for the great question Amanda! I joined Walmart for a few reasons including...their focus on innovation, a customer-first mindset, & the opportunity to work with smart, collaborative people. In terms of impactful trends in the industry, we're seeing a couple of things including a shift from focusing on products/price/supply chain first to an increased focus on the customer experience. We're also seeing an increasing volume of new membership programs to attract loyal customers who shift more of their spend/wallets to those brands they have membership with. For delivering feedback effectively, my approach is to always be authentic & transparent -- as well as making it clear that I'm delivering the feedback (both positive & negative) in an effort to look out for my team member's best they can improve in the future. Showing positive intent is very important when delivering feedback! Hope that helps.