Profile: Jon Troy, Director, Category Strategy & Retailer Insights, Campbell U.S. Sales
Jon Troy has had a varied career in shopper insights. His unorthodox path has spanned decades and categories that have included general merchandise, household products, health and beauty, OTC and food. He’s worked at a diverse mix of companies that includes Boston Beer Co., A.C. Nielsen, Proscape Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, Church & Dwight and Campbell Soup Co. Today, Troy brings that varied experience to bear as leader of the category strategy and retail insights efforts for the newly formed Campbell U.S. Sales organization, which includes the Campbell Fresh, Plum Organics baby food, Pepperidge Farm and Campbell Soup Co. businesses.
In what ways has your diverse career helped you be more effective in your current role?
TROY: It’s given me a great perspective across the entire box. You learn that much of this stuff is transferable. Things that I’ve used in the past and learned in categories like Tylenol and analgesics and pain relief also work in laundry detergent and cat litter. Understanding the consumer at the point of purchase and meeting their needs, that doesn’t change dramatically from category to category.
How do retail insights fit into your organization?
TROY: We structured our new organization to make sure that insights are at the heart of what we do. It’s really a key driver for our sales organization and one of the key strategic pillars that our leadership is committed to excelling in.
What are some of the key skills required to excel in retail insights?
TROY: I think the most important is intellectual curiosity. You need a passion for wanting to know why. It’s always about why. A lot of people who are less involved in insights tend to mistake information for insights. But insights are truly about why the information leads to uncovering opportunities. And then the other piece that is important is a bias toward action. As organizations, we don’t need more insights that are interesting. We need to meet shopper needs and drive category and brand sales.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the insights discipline?
TROY: It’s the same thing that’s been a challenge for a long time. I think it’s exacerbated over the last few years. That’s patience. Uncovering deep insights and bringing them to action just takes time. We’re getting better at doing it faster. Technology certainly helps. But the world is moving in some cases faster than we can deliver great insights.
How are you addressing that challenge at Campbell?
TROY: One of our solutions is always having an insights pipeline by working with our customers and partners who are doing the research for us to have constant insights. It may still take 12 to 18 months to get something from concept to execution. But if we have a lot of them in the pipeline, we’re delivering more often than every 12 to 18 months, and that helps a bit.
What do you see as being next for the insights discipline?
TROY: One is virtual reality. We see some interesting technologies coming out where you can collaborate with people in virtual rooms and work with consumers in that same kind of environment. Another is online and omnichannel. That’s going to continue to grow in importance and value. Foresight research is also definitely emerging into something that we believe will be a difference-maker.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your work?
TROY: Personally, I’ve been doing this for a long time, and right now I couldn’t be happier. It’s a great place to be and continues to be exciting. There are more and more points of purchase and new demographics and new learning. It’s not like once you’ve nailed the shopper, you’re all set. Things continue to change. And that’s really exciting to me.