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Henrique Saboia didn’t always know he loved marketing, but when he discovered his passion for bringing products to market, talking to customers and delivering a message, there was no turning back. After stints at Cisco Systems, Twitter and Lyft, Henrique landed at Kiva, where he currently serves as the Vice President of Growth. On this episode of Marketing Trends, he explains what his goals are as a marketer and how the work he is doing at Kiva is helping to bring about a virtuous cycle of lending and doing good all around the world, especially with women and in underserved communities.

3 Takeaways:

Kiva does traditional marketing, but rather than optimize for profits, they optimize for impact

– Storytelling is the most important tool in Kiva’s marketing toolkit

– Building a passionate user base is the holy grail for marketers

Key Quotes:

“How do we get more people aware of Kiva? How do we get more people to make loans on Kiva and to find someone to connect with around the world and support that person? And then, that creates a virtuous cycle of lending and of doing good and supporting people globally. So the success metric for us is, are we getting more users to try Kiva and to become the loyal lenders on the platform?”

“What’s really different about [our marketing strategy] is that instead of optimizing for profitability, we optimize for impact.”

“Storytelling is the most important tool we have at Kiva. And I think actually as marketers, what we’re doing is storytelling. We have to figure out what story you would want to tell, and then when you get to tell it, what channels do we want to use to broadcast that story? And Kiva is no different except that we happen to have more great stories to tell than most brands out there.”

“What’s really interesting about the Kiva platform that really sets our community apart is that we are overwhelmingly impacting the lives of women in these communities, and women internationally.”

“The challenge we have as a marketing organization is how do we get to what’s really beneficial to our customers? Very few people are Googling, ‘How do I participate in microfinance?’ That’s not a thing. Most people are looking for, ‘I want to give back’ or, ’I want to do some good. I want to pay forward. What are the best ways for me to pay it forward?’ So how do we insert Kiva in that decision set?”

“Marketers spend their whole careers trying to get people to be really passionate about the service or the product that they offer. I came into Kiva assuming no different, thinking a big part of my job would be to convince people that Kiva is a great place for you to be engaged in. But, it turns out our user base is so passionate about it already. They get it. In fact, they feel ownership over the Kiva brand. They’ve been with us for years and years and so that makes our jobs in a way a little bit easier.” 


Henrique Saboia is the Vice President of Growth at Kiva. Prior to joining Kiva, Henrique held growth and marketing roles with companies such as Cisco Systems, Twitter and Lyft. Henrique has a Bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

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