People to Watch 2018: Abbey Griswold
Company: Coca-Cola Co.
Title: Senior Shopper Marketing Manager
Education: Xavier University (bachelor’s, management, entrepreneurial studies; master’s, marketing)
Abbey Griswold likes to be on the forefront of change, and from where she sits, she has a good view of the changes in consumer appetites, technology, techniques and the overall retail landscape. As senior shopper marketing manager at Coca-Cola, a position she’s held for just under two years, she thrives on staying creative and innovative. “I want to continue to bring life to our brands in retail outlets and make sure we’re staying authentic and deeply resonating with the shopper,” she says.
A graduate of Xavier University, she began her college career in pre-med. But she soon found her passions lie in business, being creative, and offering value and authentic experiences to shoppers. She stayed at Xavier, earning her MBA, because she realized the importance of knowing how to interact with various customers, clients and internal stakeholders. “Between the two [the undergraduate degree and MBA], it really helped me understand the core tenants of business to propel me into where I am today,” she says.
Prior to joining Coca-Cola, she spent her early career on the agency side, getting a taste of all different types of industries and projects and being charged with helping clients solve those problems. Her experiences were primarily rooted in digital, helping her develop a 360-degree view of all the levers of marketing, she says, and arming her with the tools she’ll need to continue to affect change in future shopper marketing programs.
Griswold leads the beverage giant’s shopper marketing efforts at Dollar General, one of its largest customers, working cross-functionally to implement programs in North America across the entire Coca-Cola portfolio.
The Coca-Cola/Dollar General/USO military platform she created has been held up from all organizations as best-in-class based on the insights and complete omnichannel activation. “It demonstrates how brands and companies can come together to deeply resonate with, honor and celebrate these heroes,” she says, adding that shopper insights revealed that the Dollar General shopper over-indexes with a personal connection to the military.
“The Coca-Cola Co. has a 75-year relationship with the USO,” she says. “We wanted to find the best way to take these key insights and blow out a whole military platform at Dollar General with exclusive collectible cans that can only be found in its stores.” Plans are underway to make the platform and program elements bigger and better for 2019, following a successful two-year partnership.
Griswold believes that to continue to move forward in the world of shopper marketing, it really comes down to keeping it simple. “We need to be able to change quickly, continue to build our brands and figure out how to measure ROI in a very disruptive landscape. But we ultimately need to keep it simple because there are so many options out there.”
And soon, she predicts, we’ll be talking about commerce, not delineating e-commerce anymore. It won’t be in-store and online – those lines are being grayed and will just become part of the shopper landscape, she says. There will be an expectation to provide an easy way for shoppers to shop, and she believes that they’ll continue to expect a seamless in-store experience. “Making sure that our brands are represented in the best way, not only in-store but online, is going to continue to be a challenge and something that we’ll need to work hard to achieve in a world of noise.”