A versatile marketing strategist, Lou Killeffer is the founder and principal of Five Mile River Marketing (FMRM). Throughout his career, he’s been entrusted with developing some of the world’s most enduring businesses and well-regarded brands, including: AT&T, Castrol, Citigroup, Fed Ex, Labatt, Nikon, Sara Lee, Schweppes, Timberland and UPS.

Before FMRM, Killeffer was managing director, strategy at Sterling Brands, directing engagements for brands seeking growth through revitalized positioning and new product innovation. Before Sterling, Killeffer was CMO at Merkley+Partners, where he integrated marketing efforts across the agency while directing business development that doubled the size of the agency behind $450MM in new billings. Prior to Merkley, Killeffer was CMO of the internet startup BenefitPort after serving many years as EVP, Managing Director of the Americas at Ammirati Puris Lintas, where he was a member of the Chairman’s Advisory Council.

Killeffer received his degree in English and Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He’s a recipient of Bronze, Silver and Gold EFFIE Awards for advertising effectiveness from the American Marketing Association, and served as a Global EFFIE judge. A former member of the New Business Committee of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, he’s also served as a visiting lecturer with the Advertising Educational Foundation, and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Rights Fund II — an equity fund focused on the development of intellectual property rights.

In 2017, Killeffer returned to his alma mater as adjunct professor in the School of Media and Journalism, teaching the capstone "MEJO 673: Advertising Campaigns" course, culminating in real-world pitch presentations to the marketing leadership at client prospect Chobani.

Now, at the request of the University, Killeffer's teaching a new course of his own, "MEJO 490.5: Advertising in the Age of Alexa, AI, and Algorithms or: How to Stop Worrying and Build A Dynamic Brand” — exploring established advertising and brand theory and their rapidly evolving best practices in response to decades of continuous digital disruption.

Five Mile River Marketing is a strategic marketing consultancy helping leaders look ahead, embrace change and succeed through go-to-market strategy; management alignment; integrated marketing planning; and brand positioning and marketing communications. Clients include Nestlé Waters NA, Hearst, UBS, Yamaha, Nestlé Canada, Nova/WGBH, AIGA, Signals Analytics, Royal Caribbean and Vivaldi Partners Group. Killeffer blogs frequently on marketing, branding and innovation at fivemilerivermktg.com/blog while also serving as editor-at-large at Innovation Excellence, the world’s most popular online innovation community.

A continuing student of society, technology and culture, Killeffer's a century cyclist, an offshore sailor, a White Mountain hiker, a printmaker and wing and clay shooter. His proudest accomplishments are his three children, and his heroes are Caravaggio, Jefferson, Churchill and Queequeg. His unfulfilled personal ambition is to win the Newport to Bermuda Race.




  • B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill