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Kelsey Robinson

Senior PartnerBoston

Partners with industry leading consumer-facing companies to drive top-line growth through ideation and implementation of strategies, including customer analytics and insights, e-commerce and omni-channel, digital marketing and customer acquisition, CRM personalization, category strategy, and store productivity

Kelsey partners with executives to integrate digital into all facets of their business and marketing strategies. Drawing on extensive experience in digital marketing, customer relationship management, and customer analytics, she helps clients drive sales performance.

Since joining McKinsey, Kelsey has advised executives as they seek ways to drive overall growth and to improve the effectiveness of their marketing. Focusing on fostering strategic and sustainable business growth, she has partnered with companies in the retail, consumer tech, telecom, travel, and media sectors.

Examples of her work include the following:

  • leading an e-commerce transformation for a global apparel retailer that achieved double digit year-over-year growth by maximizing paid traffic, owned traffic, personalization, and site performance
  • building the firm’s expertise and depth in online marketplaces—identifying strengths and growth avenues for retailers and brands on leading online marketplaces across various categories, identifying highest subcategories of risk (and opportunity)
  • leading the firm’s customer acquisition work with a focus on strategy for and optimization of digital marketing, including sophisticated targeting and personalization
  • creating a category growth strategy for a specialty retailer, combining customer research and insights with market price strategy to develop a go-to-market plan
  • developing a new market growth strategy and retail store expansion approach for a consumer electronics company, identifying de novo locations
  • leading a CRM transformation for an online retailer, more than doubling the value of owned marketing channels through a personalized communication approach fueled by advanced analytics
  • defining a new strategic direction for a leading online publisher, including digital asset strategy

Kelsey is also a driving force behind McKinsey's partnerships with and Women in the Workplace and leads McKinsey’s West Coast Gender Initiative. Kelsey co-led McKinsey’s research into fostering the success and participation of minorities and girls in STEM education. She has authored numerous articles on talent in the digital era and independent workers, published by McKinsey and other leading business media.

Before joining McKinsey, she worked at Digitas, a leading global digital advertising agency, where she led efforts focused on cross-channel digital media strategy, online advertising analytics, and tech-enabled customer targeting.

Published work

How generative AI can boost consumer marketing,” McKinsey & Company, December 2023

US holiday shopping 2023: Consumer caution and retailer resilience,” McKinsey & Company, November 2023

Don’t wait—create, with generative AI,” McKinsey & Company, August 2023

Beyond belt-tightening: How marketing can drive resiliency during uncertain times,” McKinsey Quarterly, June 2023

US consumers send mixed signals in an uncertain economy,” McKinsey & Company, April 2023

US holiday shopping 2022: ’Tis the season to be (cautiously) optimistic,” McKinsey & Company, October 2022

The Great Uncertainty: US consumer confidence and behavior during inflationary times,” McKinsey & Company, August 2022

How US consumers are feeling, shopping, and spending—and what it means for companies,” McKinsey & Company, May 2022

Rise of the inclusive, sustainable consumers,” McKinsey & Company, April 2022

The value of getting personalization right—or wrong—is multiplying,” McKinsey & Company, November 2021

US holiday shopping 2021: Strong demand meets big challenges,” McKinsey & Company, November 2021

A customer-centric approach to marketing in a privacy-first world,” McKinsey & Company, May 2021

Omnichannel shopping in 2030,” McKinsey & Company, April 2021

Why every business needs a full-funnel marketing strategy,” McKinsey & Company, February 2021

The great consumer shift: Ten charts that show how US shopping behavior is changing,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

Performance branding and how it is reinventing marketing ROI,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

How marketing leaders can both manage the coronavirus crisis and plan for the future,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

2018 Women in the Workplace,” McKinsey & Company and Lean In, October 2018

Amazon Prime Day: What the real lessons are,” McKinsey & Company, September 2018

Perspectives on personalization @ scale,” McKinsey & Company, July 2018

Where stores can still compete—and win,” McKinsey & Company, November 2017

Meet your new MOM (Marketing Operating Model),” McKinsey & Company, March 2017

Independent work: Choice, necessity, and the gig economy,” McKinsey Global Institute, October 2016

Managing talent in a digital age,” McKinsey Quarterly, March 2016

What it will take to make the tech industry more diverse,” Harvard Business Review, March 2016

The Prime Day play: Three lessons from Amazon's one-day event,” McKinsey & Company, September 2015

Connecting talent with opportunity in the digital age,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2015

Don't wait for IT; Marketers can drive growth now,” McKinsey & Company, December 2013

Past Experience

Digitas, LLC
Strategy and analysis


Harvard Business School

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BS, management science