We are delighted to welcome Karina Kogan to Oura as our first-ever Chief Marketing Officer.
At Oura, Karina will oversee all aspects of marketing including brand strategy, product marketing, paid media, creative, research, social media, communications, eCommerce, partnerships and ambassador/influencer marketing.
Previously, Karina was SVP and Global Head of Product Marketing at Peloton. While there, Karina led Peloton through a time of immense growth, overseeing go-to-market for all Peloton connected fitness and digital products, as well as media, lifecycle, corporate wellness, and marketing analytics.
Prior to Peloton, Karina spent over two decades in marketing and general management roles, with a focus on tech-enabled media and digital transformation. She has held senior executive posts at WarnerMedia, Participant Media, and SpinMedia.
Karina is based on the East Coast and lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, and two dogs.
We asked Karina about her decision to join Oura, her thoughts on the world of wearables, and how she feels her past experiences will serve her in her new role.
What brought you to Oura?
“Oura hits on so many passion points for me as a marketer. It’s a product that I use and love (even before joining). It’s a product that helps people live better, healthier lives. And, it’s a product that’s fundamentally changing an industry and disrupting a very big category with a massive total addressable market. It’s invigorating and inspiring to help shape a brand that has the opportunity to change human behavior and culture, and for the better, at that.
Oura is also at a really fun inflection point in its growth. There’s already so much momentum in the business, but I look at the growth in the last year and it’s clearly heading for that tipping point where the scale train will start to go even faster. I couldn’t help but want to hop on for the ride!”
Why is this an exciting time for wearables?
“Although consumer tech spending was predicted to slow in 2021, global wearable shipments grew 32.3% YOY during the second quarter of 2021, ultimately indicating that consumers are prioritizing and tracking their health and activity in growing numbers. COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities to each individual’s well-being and Oura answered this call to action by providing an innovative technology to help people understand and improve their everyday health.
The expanding interest and demand for healthier lifestyles, spurred in part by COVID, opens the door for wearables to step in and help consumers cultivate better habits. In this regard, Oura is by far more interesting to me as a consumer, and a marketer, than all the other wearables in the market. For starters, if you are buying a product to get data on your health, then accuracy should be your top priority. Oura is one of the most accurate wearables in the world today due to its form factor. The finger is a more reliable source from which to pull data like heart rate and temperature due to its proximity to your arteries. It’s kind of poetic that a deeper understanding of our health is just at our fingertips. And, Oura is a powerful tool to help you unlock this higher level of self-knowledge and wellbeing from that very source. What consumer does not want that?
There’s so much to educate consumers about with regard to how to use their Oura data. Oura can help you become more dialed into your state of wellness including helping you to identify whether or not you may be getting sick before you even experience symptoms. It can also help you understand the impact your daily habits are having on your sleep quality, and therefore empower you to make changes that can improve your overall health. Your Oura Readiness Score can aid in informing your decision to push yourself or be more restful on a given day, and for athletes, this can be valuable for injury prevention. Cardiovascular health, stress management, women’s health…these are all things that Oura’s personalized data can help you understand about yourself and therefore improve upon.
Aesthetically speaking, Oura Rings are also really sleek and appropriate for all-day use. The ring is not only comfortable to sleep and work out in, but it looks great dressed up or down.”
What areas will you be particularly focused on exploring as you join the team?
“One major focus for me will be to work with the team to clearly communicate our value proposition to consumers. This will involve building a very detailed communications framework that considers all the reasons our target audience should want to buy our product (e.g. data accuracy) and help them overcome whatever barriers to purchase they might have.
The Oura Ring is incredibly powerful and its benefits are manifold. But advertising is all about communicating your story in a very short and pithy way in an otherwise very crowded media environment. The communications framework is going to be critical to our success. How do we show people in less than 30 seconds the power of Oura? How do we spark that “Ah-ha! I want that!” moment? We want to inspire interest, generate curiosity and educate consumers that Oura can help them gain a better understanding of their health and empower them to act on that knowledge.”
What expertise are you bringing to the Oura team?
“I have spent 25 years in marketing and general management positions operating at the intersection of tech, media, and consumer platforms. As a result, I have honed my skills in building integrated and cohesive experiences that connect the dots between what consumers see in advertising and what they experience from their first interaction with a product, all the way through to loyalty. Many organizations call that “product marketing,” because at the end of the day it’s about knowing who your customer is, how to communicate your product benefits to them, and then making sure you deliver on that promise.
I’m also a very data-driven marketer who’s always had a knack for using data to tell a story. It’s something that I really love to do. To work on a product that delivers a treasure trove of data to the end-user really plays to my strengths. We have a ton of opportunities to better express in simple and compelling ways how Oura’s unparalleled data can help improve your life.
And finally, my experience as an operator will be part of what I bring to the table. This could show up in many ways, from establishing smooth processes for our cross-functional projects to building internal communications that ensure we’re all rowing in the same direction with the same cadence, expectations, priorities, and KPIs.”
How is the marketing industry evolving, and how do you envision Oura fitting into this evolution?
“The industry, particularly in the health and wellness category, is changing rapidly partly because technology is changing rapidly, but also because of COVID. COVID was a massive curveball that most consumers didn’t see coming and it has forced all of us to think differently about our health.
It’s evident that we’re living through a time of significant transformation and disruption in the health and wellness industry. Younger consumers, especially Gen Z, are drinking less and spending more on their physical and mental wellbeing than previous generations. As a culture, we’re evolving from a focus on illness treatment to illness prevention. And new technologies have also given consumers more control (e.g. access to their health data) and convenience (e.g. telemedicine) than they’ve ever had before. Oura is well-positioned to service today’s consumers with something that they really want: accurate data about their well-being and a form factor that’s comfortable, stylish, and convenient.”
What role will clinical and scientific research play in your marketing strategy?
“Oura Rings have been used in multiple research initiatives including the UCSF TemPredict study, which recently published peer-reviewed results showing the connection between wearable device temperature data and the detection of fever onset. Most recently, the Oura community worked together with UCSD to share data and personal experiences from past pregnancies to move women’s health research forward together.
Through this study, Oura is dedicating efforts to an incredibly underserved market in the digital health sphere. Although women make up a majority of the global population, technology has not yet caught up with the complexities that come into play with pregnancy. That’s where Oura is looking to step up the digital health game. The initial results out of UCSD are showing that Oura’s technology could help empower women to identify important changes in their overall health.
We’re so encouraged by our clinical and academic partnerships thus far, and will remain steadfast in supporting independent research and investing in new use cases across sleep, recovery, activity, illness, mental health, and women’s health.
Ultimately, our findings help to reinforce Oura’s accuracy and bolster our brand positioning – which has to be grounded in building trust with consumers and health experts, alike. By supporting research and consistently committing to providing the most accurate personalized health data to consumers, we get closer to realizing our mission and delivering on our brand promise to empower everyone to realize health as a daily practice.”