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Ep. 13: Peter Horst, Former CMO of Hershey Company

By Exact Media

 We interviewed Peter Horst, former CMO of Hershey Company, in our latest podcast. Horst shared his biggest challenges, his thoughts on finding balance, and his best advice to the next generation of marketers.  Here are our top three favorite highlights: On facing challenges.   “Well, I'd say the most challenging might have been the last one I had, which was Pop Secret Popcorn, and that had been for years, I think something like 10 years running, the most successful new product. It was just, you know, an absolute darling of the company… And about 10 minutes after I took the job, a whole bunch of things came together to just bring all that growth to a screeching halt.   “The penetration of the microwaves as an appliance in the home tapped out, penetration of microwave popcorn tapped out, the patent on the technology they gave at a product superiority expired, price brand… changed the world from this wonderful glorious place with 35% growth every year to absolute dead halt, flat.   “That required not only figuring out what was going on and developing a strategy for what to do about it, but it also meant convincing everybody around me who had built their careers on the strategies that had gotten to the brand at that point, gotten the brand to that point, convincing them that it was time to really shift gears and let that go and do something else because the world was a very different place.” On work-life balance.   “I put through this filter of the value by being there physically versus what's it going cost, not just from a family perspective, but every trip you take means you're not with your team back at the home office and, you know, that has a form of cost, too. So I just try to make sure that every time I jump on a plane, it was for a clear and obvious benefit that couldn't be achieved some other way.” On what he’d say to a 30-year old. “This is the time to be bold. You’ve got some good experience under your belt. You know what you're doing. You've got some expertise but you're young enough that you can swing it for the fences. Whether that means being bold, and wherever you are think big, take risks, push the envelope, or if that means jumping into something that feels the nobody's making and the sweaty palms kind of opportunity. That will be a time to don't overly self-edit and don't play it too safe.”

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