Hormel Embraces Its Shopper Mission, Changes Culture

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Hormel Embraces Its Shopper Mission, Changes Culture

By Ed Finkel - 05/25/2018
Shopperations’ Olga Yurovski presents alongside Hormel Foods Corp.’s Rebecca Campbell.

Schaumburg, Ill. — Shopper marketing exists on the cusp between sales and marketing, which puts the discipline in the perfect spot on the organizational chart to pinpoint dysfunction that stems from silos and call it out, said Olga Yurovski, CEO and founder of Shopperations Research & Technology. She presented alongside Rebecca Campbell, shopper engagement manager at Hormel Foods Corp., at the Path to Purchase Summit in March.

“You are also bilingual,” Yurovski said. “You’re not sales or marketing, but you understand what both are talking about. We are the bridge. We should not be concerned about the identity of shopper marketing. Embrace your mission of being a bridge.”

All organizations have silos to one degree or another, and they’re never helpful, she said. A recent survey conducted by Shopperations showed that 60% of people agreed that silos are a problem at their organization, 72% said silos result in too many meetings, 72% said they spend too much time with reporting, and 70% agreed that silos result in higher administrative burdens.

“Middle management feels the burden the most; they have to be understanding of what their teams are doing, synthesize it and communicate up,” Yurovski said. Survey respondents said things like, “I did not want to micromanage and distract my team, but to answer a question from my boss, I had to interrupt them.”

Other results from the survey included: 28% said their organization does not handle project management well, 17% said they can’t say where their budget stands, and 42% said their tools and systems contribute to silos. “A lot of people use Excel and PowerPoint. Nothing has changed in 20 years,” Yurovski said. “We’re drowning in spreadsheets.”

Additionally, 58% of respondents said they don’t measure shopper marketing activity adequately. “You’re not in the c-suite,” she said. “How can you fight silos on your own? First of all, they’re destructive of productivity. There’s a lack of trust between functional silos. They suspect the worst when they don’t have information. That causes them to double-check and double-check and move slowly, rather than quickly say, ‘This makes sense. I will make money.’”

Silos also can cause people to find greener corporate pastures, Yurovski said. “People lose information by letting people go to a different department or a different company. A new person comes in and they have to start from scratch, and the cycle repeats itself.”

Hormel’s Campbell faced these problems at her company, which focused on changing its culture about a year ago and put forth “build bridges” as a cornerstone cultural belief, she said. “Did we have a problem? Heck yeah, we had a problem.” But the corporate culture initiative, which had support from the top, “set the perfect foundation for me, across our organization, to work cross-functionally and deliver results … across sales and marketing.”

At the outset of the initiative, Campbell’s “conservative” estimate would be that Hormel had 23 different people managing shopper marketing budgets, more than 100 separate budgets and more than 500 promotions across more than 50 brands. “Without these senior leaders being our champions, it wouldn’t have gotten done,” she said. “We are being strategic and trying to grow the business day in and day out.”

Hormel developed a new shopper marketing and e-commerce department up to the VP level, and at Campbell’s encouragement, Hormel turned to Shopperations and uploaded all of its spreadsheets into the company’s software, which provides a single dashboard with all budgets and programs in one place. “That allows us all to collaborate in real time,” she said. “It allows us a place to visualize and store contacts and content for one particular campaign. I’ve spent a lot of my time chasing particular components. This allows everything to live in one place.”

The dashboard can be shared internally or externally to communicate what shopper marketing is doing at all times rather than having to work on ad-hoc requests for information from other departments or from customers, Campbell said. “It’s also helped with budget reconciliation; it allows me to recap where we’re at. Before, when I needed to reconcile a budget, it took a week. It’s been a tremendous change.”

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