Digital 40 Over 40 2017: Michelle Klein, Marketing Director, Facebook

Michelle KleinMichelle Klein
Marketing Director, Facebook

Michelle Klein teaches brands how to be thumb-stoppers. She travels the world teaching marketers how to tell a gripping story in three seconds—the amount of time it takes someone to scroll down a mobile screen.

Klein speaks from experience. Before joining Facebook in 2014, she spent eight years leading the global reinvention of Smirnoff with digital creativity. Notable campaigns included the "Nightlife Exchange," a splashy, five-month-long social-media experiment that united partiers in 50 countries. The 2010 global promotion included blogger outreach, an owned mobile channel and, in partnership with MTV, a multi-part documentary, culminating in Smirnoff-themed parties in 14 countries. As VP of global marketing, she also launched Mixhibit, an app that let people remix content from their social networks into personal video clips. She also redesigned the packaging and modernized the product range. Watermelon vodka, anyone?

Klein joined Facebook in 2014 to oversee global client and agency relationships, becoming marketing director for North America a year later, tasked with helping advertisers, agencies, small-and-medium businesses and Facebook's marketing partners understand social and mobile, which she calls "the next mass-media revolution." As the platform has grown to 1.86 billion monthly users, Klein points out that people love Facebook for giving them access to the constantly unfolding stories of the people they're connected with.

Most recently, Klein took that message on the road with Facebook IQ Live, a touring presentation to introduce agency staffers to the network's breadth of actionable data and consumer insights.

The peripatetic Klein is a frequent speaker at industry events and advises new graduates to take every opportunity that comes their way—advice she's lived by. Born in South Africa and raised in Australia, Klein began her career in public relations, wrote a weekly column for the Sydney Morning Herald, then moved to London as global group director of the British Airways account at, where she helped the airline get online.

She sits on the board of directors of Women in Need, a provider of services for homeless women and children, where she helps the non-profit use social media to build awareness of this cause. She's also co-writing a children's book with a famous child psychologist. No doubt they'll have some wisdom to share with the coming generations of Facebookers.

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