The Shifting Foundation of Ecommerce
The future of commerce is being built all around us, and while so much of the industry changes on a daily basis, there are still some fundamental truths that anchor brands and allow them to find success in the digital and retail worlds. On this roundtable episode of Up Next in Commerce, I got to dig into exactly what those foundational elements are with Mike Black, the CMO of Profitero, and Diana Haussling, the VP and General Manager of Digital Commerce at Colgate-Palmolive.This was such a great discussion that touched on so many different topics that brands big and small should be paying attention to. For example, what are the three key levers that influence ecommerce sales? How should you be developing KPIs that will actually mean something and lead to more profitability and growth? Why is omnichannel the way of the future and what channels should companies be investing in? Mike and Diana have the answers, which they have gathered through long and impressive histories in the ecommerce world — Mike worked at Staples and Nielsen, and Diana has held roles at places like Campbell’s, General Mills, and Hersheys. These two really know their stuff and they were so much fun to talk to. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Main Takeaways:Pulling the Right Levers: There are three basic levers that influence ecommerce sales: availability, findability, and conversion tactics. If you can’t ensure that you reliably have products to offer people, that those people have an easy way to find the products, and that they are given reasons to actually make a purchase, you won’t be able to grow or increase profits. You Reap What You Sow: Being a first-mover on any platform is one of the investments that has the highest potential payoffs. Companies that took Amazon and Instacart seriously from the get-go have created a huge advantage for themselves in the ecommerce space. By having a head start in one place, you also free yourself up to explore elsewhere while your competition tries to keep up in the first spot you’ve already dominated.You Want Them to Want You: As a brand, you have to firmly establish a value proposition to present to customers, especially when you are trying to extract information or gather data about them. Give customers concrete reasons to want to engage with your brand and earn their trust so that they are more likely to keep coming back. Then use the data they give you to provide even better experiences and products over and over.For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---Transcript:Stephanie:Hello, everyone. And welcome back to Up Next in Commerce. I'm your host, Stephanie Postles, CEO at mission.org. Today, we are back with an awesome round table with some amazing folks. First up, we have Diana Haussling, who currently serves as the VP and General Manager of Digital Commerce at Colgate-Palmolive. Welcome.Diana:Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited for this conversation.Stephanie:Me too. And next we have Mike Black, who's the CMO of Profitero. Mike, welcome to the show.Mike:Thank you very much. Also, very excited.Stephanie:Yeah. This is going to be a good one. I can just feel it. I can see the energy between you guys. I can see you got a lot to say. So, it's going to be a good one. So, I would love to start as I always do with a bit of background so people know who we're chatting with. So, Diana, maybe if you could start with… I see you have a long history in the world of CPG work for… I mean the most well-known brands that I can think of, and I was hoping if you can kind of go through that journey a bit?Diana:Yeah. So, I've been lucky enough to work at four major CPG organizations. I cut my teeth with Hershey in sales and really was able to understand, not only retail, but direct customer selling. Moved over to General Mills where I stiffed my toe in the water in marketing. Loved working on those brands and getting a taste of a larger organization. And then I shifted to Campbell's where I spent the bulk of my time. Campbell’s will always have a special place in my heart.Diana:I spent a lot of times there, ping-pong back and forth between marketing and sales. I created a couple of roles for myself. One of which was the lead of e-commerce, where I established the e-commerce organization there before leaving and coming to my new love, Colgate-Palmolive. Super excited to be part of the Colgate family. I lead a digital commerce team called the Hive. It had that name before I got there. But I'm attributing it to the Beyonce now that I'm there.Stephanie:I love that.Diana:I'm so super excited to be at Colgate. There's just a ton of energy and growth around e-commerce and our primary focus is on digital transformation which is a perfect segue for this conversation.Stephanie:Yes. I can't wait to get into that. All right, Mike, a bit about you.Mike:Yeah. So, I started my career in retail. I started my first real job was at Staples, the office products company. And I was responsible for public relations there. Opening new stores in different markets, and really got a firsthand look at how retailers, traditional retailers were being disrupted by e-commerce. The time that I was at Staples was right at the time that Amazon started to make its ways. And I could see the impact of that just in the way that Staples was going to market, and they started to really dial up their own e-commerce efforts to combat.Mike:So, it was really interesting to see that pivotal moment inside from a retailer, classic brick and mortar retailer go through that transformation. So, I started my career there, then I started working in startups. And I eventually found my way to Nielsen. So, I worked in the part of Nielsen where we tested new product innovations for CPGs and worked in their measurement and analytics. And while I was at Nielsen, that's my first exposure to e-commerce and first exposure to this new emerging space of analytics.Mike:And I knew this was the place I wanted to be. It was in the e-commerce space, the intersection of e-commerce and data analytics, and that led me to Profitero where I am now. And we're getting to work with smart people like Diana who is someone I listen to her speak, and then I take notes. And then I sort of borrow some of her wisdom, and she's someone I'm always learning a lot from.Diana:Right back at you, Mike. And if you don't follow him on LinkedIn, you should, because he leads all social for Profitero, which isn't in his CMO title.Stephanie:Wow. I like this. Diana's like your hype woman. So, this is a good match we have here.Mike:The feeling is mutual.Stephanie:Yeah. That's awesome. So, Diana, I mean I'm thinking about you starting an e-commerce team at Campbell's. And then coming to Colgate where they already kind of have one set up, and I'd love to hear a bit about what is it like now versus then? Because I can just imagine you being like, “This is important everyone and I need some budget for it and this is going to be a thing.” Whereas now, it's like obvious. Like, “Yeah. Jump in. Let's go deep and spread the word.”Diana:Yeah. I think, and I'm sure this will ring true to a lot of my fellow CPGers and the struggle on the e-commerce business. If you're at an organization, and this is a completely new space, but you have leadership that definitely sees the potential and the opportunity, it really becomes on you to not only operationalize, but really help leaders understand how to translate e-commerce, how to translate digital to a P&L, to growth projectors, to a strat plan. All those things CPG people are really comfortable with.Diana:And then also to really think about not only what your org needs to be like to get things off the ground, but where it needs to go in the next three years. And typically, you're not in the position where the organization truly understands how to make that work. So, there is a kind of this hybrid role that digital commerce folks have to play in emerging organizations where they're really helping folks navigate, what IT support do I need? What supply chain support do I need? Where should everything sit?Diana:And you can do it on your own, but you can also partner. So, there's a number of groups you can partner with. I happen to know that Profitero has done a lot in this space, and they have, basically, a journey for organizations that you can leverage. But it really is like starting from scratch and building a case for growth. I think the biggest question that you get when it comes to just starting up in an organization is how is this incremental to the business?Diana:And my pushback to that always is, it's not about incrementality. Incrementality is a bonus. It really is all about protecting your base business, going where consumers are going, and ensuring that you future proof your organization for the reality of what our new world is, which is omni. It's slightly different when you come into an organization like Colgate who already has a established e-commerce team or Center of Excellence.Diana:I definitely feel like I came to the land of the willing. Everyone, from the top down, is really excited and energized by the space. And that it's energizing, but it also means you have to redirect all of those good intentions and positive energy to the right focus and the right goal. So, some of the work when you're in a more established organization is really, how do I harness all of those resources when they are abundant? And make sure they're spent in the right places and they deliver. Because there's going to come a time where leadership is going to look back on that cash that they threw in e-commerce, and they're going to say, "What did I get for it?" And you better have delivered on it.Diana:I think the other piece is making sure you understand how to integrate across the organization. It's important to have a strong center, but it's even more important to make sure everybody understands the role that they play in digital, in e-commerce regardless of if they're on the badass teams like the Hives of the world.Stephanie:Yeah. I mean the one thing I hear a lot of brands struggling with though are around metrics. I mean from working at bigger companies in the past, I've seen people kind of come up with KPIs in a way that, it's kind of made up. Stephanie:So, when thinking about big and small brands thinking through like KPIs and metrics, feels like kind of a messy world where when you get to the bigger organizations, some of them can start to feel like they're just kind of being forced. Like, "Oh, see, we have it. And if you look in three years, maybe it's like not even relevant. And then the smaller companies are like, "Well, how do we even start?"Stephanie:And so, I'm wondering, how do you go about even thinking about developing KPIs, thinking about brand building, thinking about conversions. Is there some kind of allocation you had going into it of like, "Here's what should be spent on just holding down the fort, and here's what should be spent on acquiring new customers and thinking through the LTV and everything."Diana:For me, that's a marriage between two points. It's the external data and viewpoint. So, where do you have an actual right to win? Where are the white space opportunities? And where are their growth that you're not getting your fair share of? Really understanding that industry landscape is really critical to forming your strategy.Diana:What you want to avoid is just forming a strategy that's based off of internal goals and objectives, because you may not be able to deliver against that. It's a marriage between the two. Then, it's getting really clear internally on what winning looks like. There is a high cost to acquisition, but there also is a huge penalty if you don't ride the momentum and the wave of growth while it's happening.Diana:I use Skype and Zoom during the pandemic as an example of that. Skype had a foothold on the industry. Zoom came in out of nowhere and won the pandemic. You don't want to be Skype. So, how do you ensure that you position yourself and your brands, so you not only understand what the CEO and the board wants you to deliver, but also you're pushing on what are the right levers in order to get there? Because your brick and mortar business is not going to mirror your e-commerce business. It's going to be slightly different.Diana:And then you have to understand those points where there's intersection. So, right now, we're seeing growth across all modalities or modes of shopping. So, there is this real digital impact on the physical brick and mortar footprint. And the onus is on the digital commerce team to make sure they understand what that impact can do, and they're not only influencing the KPIs that drive e-commerce, but they're helping the brick and mortar business understand the KPIs they need to maintain competitive edge. But also to hold their shelf space, their promo space, and their capacity within the total retailer environment.Mike:Yeah. Just to build on what Diana said. I've noticed a shift just in vocabulary and positioning in the last probably three months with e-commerce leaders. They used to really talk about e-commerce as e-commerce, and it was really about winning in that channel. And I've noticed this language shift towards now repositioning around this idea of digitally influenced sale, and taking credit for all the work that you do online that drive sales.Mike:And you think about it, most, and it's true. Most shopping experiences are happening much… Even if you go in a store, you're researching online, you're looking at content. You're doing a search to see if it's even available at your local Target. And what comes up in that digital experience is going to dictate whether you go to that store or not. So, it's just so much more impact that I think goes into your e-commerce that I don't think e-commerce leaders were really fairly taken credit for. But I noticed this, Diana, you probably… And it sounds like you're starting to speak this languages.Mike:It's like almost every sale is digitally influenced now. And so, that investment, I think it breaks down the barriers between the brick and mortar teams when they start to realize that their success isn't independent. It isn't just e-commerce and I don't have to care about it. Actually, will have a full cycle, and you see some retailers, really, I believe the sticking point comes when you have a retailer like Walmart who starts to say, "Hey, you have to talk to me in the language of omnichannel."Mike:And now, when they set that tone and being as influential as you are, I see them starting to drive this different consensus. So, I think the metrics have changed in some ways, the language has changed and I think we're starting to reframe that it isn't just e-commerce, but just commerce now. And I think that's going a long way.Stephanie:Yeah. That is why we label the podcast, Up Next in Commerce, because we knew, we saw the writing on the wall, so just several notes, we were first. So, how are you going about even thinking about that tracking? I mean if you're saying a sale is digitally influenced, in my head I'm like, "How? How would you even know that?" So, what are some ways, either Mike that you see brands kind of attacking that problem or Diana, how's Colgate thinking about that?Diana:Mike, you got this one. This is your [crosstalk].Mike:Yeah. I'd say like basically, I mean the way that we think about your metrics really goes down to the levers, right? The levers that influence your sales in e-commerce, really comes down to like three basics. And there's some, the one is the first lever. Most important is that you're available. So, that your product is even listed and it's not out of stock. That was a major issue last year, and a lot of brands are still feeling that repercussion, and that has a lot of impact.Mike:So, if you go to Amazon, and you're looking for a particular product, it's not there. You better believe consumers are going to switch, and we saw that switching, and that switching is very painful online, because the loyalty can go, and then you don't have that repeat. So, first and foremost you think about, "Okay, we got to be available." It's just like being in store. You got to have the product there on the shelf.Mike:Then, the next big lever is being findable. And that's what's really interesting, when you're in a traditional store, you walk into a store, you knew that your product, you sold it in at the beginning of the year, the planogram. That, yeah, your product was going to be on the shelf, and they're just going to replace it. But in the digital store that changes every day, and we've done like 24-hour video views of search results on Amazon, and the products are just changing constantly shifting.Mike:And so, findability is really being keen to what terms your customers going to search for, and then being there all the time in the top of the results, and we have seen that if you're not on page one, and sometimes not even in page, in the first five spots, you might as well not even be there, because you're not findable. So, that's like your second lever.Mike:And then your third is really about your conversion levers. Having that content and having those reviews, and that's probably one of the most transferable things between the online and the offline experience, because there's so much discovery and learning and research is being done, and that's one of the things that Amazon has done a great job and recognized, they've given consumers so much real estate, so much space. Places for videos, place for content.Mike:And I think most of us, if we're going to look for a new product, we're going to start on Amazon. We're going to soak in that information and make informed decisions. So, if you look at it, it's all right. Well, my end game has got to be available. I got to be findable, showing them a search. I have to have good content. And then if those things are true, you start to gather metrics, and that's actually what Profitero is doing is we're able to help brands understand across all the sites you're selling. Are they available? Are they findable? Are they converting? And ultimately what we know is if you pull those levers, and you optimize those levers, your sales are going to grow, and you're going to outpace the competition.Mike:And to Diana's point, the very, very important thing that grounds all this is having a sense of your competitive growth, because you need to be able to define, like Diana said, not define success in your own terms. But you have to be able to see how your competitors are growing in that category, and if you look at 2020, everybody grew, pat yourself on the back. But if you knew that your competitor grew at like 2x or 3x, that's a wake-up call, there's something you're not doing that they're doing. And so, it's really important that you balance those tactical levers of the shelf with just this overall having sales metrics and not just looking at your own. And these are all data points that are now available through technology and Diana can speak about how they're actioned.Diana:Yeah. I would say the digital commerce starter kit is definitely, first and foremost, digital shelf health and discipline. That's a game changer. If you're not winning there, and you're not going to win, we spend so much time as marketers really focusing on our packaging and understanding the importance and the value of packaging.Diana:Well, in this new world, the digital shelf is your new packaging. It's your new end cap. It's your new aisle. So, how do you think about digital shelf and the discipline there really is going to translate into your competitive set, because now consumers can define what that competitor set is. It's going to really define your conversion rates. Does your content help consumers really understand how to use your product?Diana:And it's also going to impact your ratings and reviews. Does your content enable your consumers to have the experience that they're expecting when they see you online? So, it really does fuel all of the potential for your growth. And I said once you have that starter kit up and running, then you really have to take a step back, and think about, what are the other KPIs? We tend to really focus on marketing and sales when it comes to digital commerce. But this game is won and lost with supply chain, IT, and finance.Diana:So, starting back with supply chain, IT, and finance and setting yourself up to be profitable, to be deliverable, and to be flexible is really how you can break away from the pack.Stephanie:Yeah. I love that. What are some surprises? And maybe Mike this is a question for you. What are some surprising platforms or channels when you're talking about, everyone did well, but some brands maybe did double or triple compared to other ones? What are some surprises there that you're seeing or things that are happening right now, you're like, "This platform's kind of popping up or people are pulling off of this one?"Mike:Yeah. Well, just specifically in terms of platforms, I think, well, in terms of like retail platforms, I think part of it is I think last year was really about the relevance of certain platforms jumped up. So, I think most brands that took e-commerce seriously, took Amazon very seriously from the get-go, I think last year Instacart became the platform that everyone's, especially in CPG space said, "Okay, this is serious now." People were going there first and foremost, it was a lifeline in terms of getting delivery.Mike:And suddenly now, what that creates is an opportunity to be first in market. And I think there's an advantage with any platform to be the first mover, and there's reasons why. Amazon's a good example of a platform that favors brands that have good sales history. So, if you excelled, really, if you were like the first let's say pet brand a couple years ago to rock Amazon, what happened is that you were excelling at all your execution, your sales are going up, and you start to organically just get higher placement, because Amazon favors brands that are relevant.Mike:And so, if you're really selling, they're going to give you that top space. And you see that same dynamic in Instacart, and in grocery too, because what happens is on a grocery site, people usually buy groceries off a list. And so, the first time they place orders on an Instacart or grocery, they're building their list. And then the next time it's a reordered list. So, there's a huge advantage to be a first mover on a platform and to build that purchase history, because it drives your repeat rates.Mike:And so, what we saw last year was just a lot of brands stepping up, and saying, "You know what? We're going to capitalize this. We're going to be early. We're going to invest in ads. You were going to get it, get that top of mind share." And I think they're going to reap the rewards now for the rest of year. So, you can look at it from a platform perspective, sometimes being first to market on these platforms, taking e-commerce seriously can give you a long-term sustainable advantage.Stephanie:I wonder if consumers are changing because of this past year or two, it seems like consumers are looking for the newer thing, the D2C company that's kind of like just saw it on Instagram. I feel like even myself, I go to Amazon, I see a lot of brands that I know. I'm kind of like, "Ah, keep scrolling." I've known of these brands for 10 years. Of course, they're number one. They've been around a long time. Let me find this deodorant that just popped up. Oh, cool. It's natural. It has all the things that I want, but it might be pretty far down or I'm even getting to a place where I'm kind of skeptical that Amazon might not even have it. And I might just need to go to the website or maybe go to, I don't know, Target and browse through and try and find it. What are you guys thinking around that?Diana:I love everything that you're saying there, but the insights background in me is super excited around the fact that we all went through a life change at the same time. So, if you think about that, typically, when you have a baby, your consideration set changes, your lifestyle changes, which are open too. New households with second babies tend to buy a washing machine within that first week that they bring that baby home, because they're like, "Crap, I'm not dealing with all this laundry on my own."Diana:But we all went through that change, collectively had a baby at once and changed how we operate, how we think, what we're open to, what our consideration set is. So, insights teams out there should be real hype right now, because it's an opportunity for them to really take a deep dive in and rethink brand positioning and audiences. So, exactly what you're talking about, people are more open or more exposed or they realize how connected they are to certain brands, and then they were willing to go direct to that brand to purchase those items to ensure that they were getting, and they're going to sign up for subscription because they're not going to be out of that brand like they were, toilet paper, those first few weeks of the pandemic.Diana:So, I think it's a huge opportunity for brands to really think through, really around who your audience is, your target audience is? Are you capturing them? So, this is your defense strategy. Am I getting them? They're switching from platform to platform. I was getting them when they were going in the brick and mortar store, am I getting them when they're going into Instacart? Is my item showing up? So, making sure you're getting that first basket because the first basket is everything.Diana:Then, there should be a real acquisition strategy. Who do I have the right to go after because now they're open to me, they're open to my brand or they're open to new things and ideas? And that's where brands can really leverage their suite of their portfolio to really drive that cross shop. So, I think this is a huge opportunity if brands jump on it to really connect with consumers. I never used to work out before the pandemic, but then when I was stuck at home, in the same room that I sleep in, and then working in. I was like, "Well, I need to do something."Diana:Peloton got me. I don't like working out. I like the community. I like the gamification. I want to pretend that I'm one of their instructors with the jewelry on and super cool. And I'm not, so they totally got me. And now I'm working out three days a week. That's a whole habit that I never had before, and so it's just ripe for opportunities for brands to not only grow within their traditional channels, but to acquire new consumers in new channels.Stephanie:Yeah.Mike:Yeah. Just to build on that. There's no single consumer anymore, and there's no single retailer. I think there's, me personally in my own house, takes… We shop at eight different retailers to stock our house now online. There's certain things that Target does well, there's certain things Amazon does well. There's certain missions, when I'm in discovery mode like you described, yeah. When I want to go find something and be inspired, I might look at Amazon.Mike:When I have a mission where I just need to stock up, I might go to Walmart. I might go to BJ's or Costco. So, what's really interesting and what's really challenging is you can't just… The brands that are going to win are the ones that can do this well at scale effectively. They recognize that their consumer is everywhere, that they're shopping for different, in different occasions. Convenience, different factors, and they realize like you have to be everywhere, you want to be available and you want to show up.Mike:And I think that's the next play, and that's what makes omnichannel really exciting is you have those brands that maybe nailed Amazon, and they're comfortable, but the next level of this game is, all right, now we have to operationalize this at scale across all our retailers teams, and those brands that are on top of that in making those driving that change, internally to be there everywhere. Those are going to be the ones are going to pick up that market share in the next year, and next two years.Stephanie:Yeah. I mean how do you think about for brands needing to be everywhere? I mean I'm thinking about like you said, the shopper, when I'm at Costco, I'm in a different mindset. And I might want to see a slightly different version of a product whereas when I'm on Amazon or when I'm in Target which feels higher end maybe than a Walmart. How would you think about a brand should handle that now that they have to be everywhere, but also have very different consumers everywhere in a different mindset depending on where they're shopping?Diana:I mean that's where portfolio roles and retailers segmentations really come into play. It's not the sexy work, but it's the work that has to be done. And it can't just be done at a very high level anymore, it really has to be done at the SKU level, because there are some multi-packs they're going to pop in certain modalities at certain retailers, there's some SKUs that just have a better fit. The brand teams that are able to really get that portfolio role and customer segmentation right are going to be able to invest to win, because as retail media costs grow, the cost of service grow, dollars, that bucket of dollars hasn't gotten any bigger. So, it's about being smarter about how and where you invest and really thinking thoroughly through how what you're expecting to get from that dollar.Diana:So, sometimes it's going to be a ROAS, sometimes it's going to be data, sometimes it's going to be something else. But really having clear business objectives for every dollar that's spent.Stephanie:Yeah. I love that. Mike, anything to add?Mike:Yeah. No. I think, Diana, like portfolio strategy is it's funny like there's been this like sea change I think when early stages of e-commerce or at least my observation, there's so much excitement that you get the marketing teams are just spending dollars, right? It's about growth. We're just going to buy some ads. And then all of a sudden, you see this diminishing returns. All of a sudden the things you were spending ads on, oh, they're always out of stock or they're getting de-listed.Mike:And that's a symptom and really it's like this idea, and you mentioned Diana, it's like marketing and supply chain are the best friends in the e-commerce. It's a weird thing because I'm a marketer, and you think, but it has to be because unless… You almost have to flip the funnel. And I thought it's like you got traffic, you get conversion. And then you get to like profitability. You have to flip it. And I think that's the flip now is thinking about your portfolio from consumer dimension, profitability dimension across your retailers. If you don't set those clear lines up, you don't set that definition up, this has a downstream effect.Mike:And you see this a lot on retailers where it's like, "Okay. Well, I have the same products everywhere, so what happens?" Well, if Walmart drops the price, Amazon drops prices and suddenly that thing that you're spending ad dollars on, you can't even, it's not even there. So, I think this is like the next generation is like almost like, "All right, let's break it back. Let's work backwards now. Let's start fresh, and let's build that from the portfolio."Mike:And then, once we make that clean, we're just going to see this uplift and our cost to serve, our cost of marketing is going to be super-efficient versus just throwing dollars at it without a strategy.Diana:That's not just for the manufacturers. I also feel really strongly that that benefits the retailers. They don't want to comp prices back and forth. They want a unique value proposition for their consumers. So, how can you help the retailers achieve their objectives? If Kroger's going after young households, and young families, what's your solution to help them go after them? If Target's going after the black consumer, how are you helping them capture as many black guests as possible? How are you really thinking about not only the strategy, so it benefits you, so it also really does align with your retailer strategy?Diana:That's how you create a win-win scenario, and you avoid the competitive pricing pressures that we're all experiencing right now.Stephanie:Yeah. How do you find a good partnership with these retailers? Because I'm sure when they have so many brands they're working with and everyone probably wants to talk with them a little bit differently, and they have different ways that they want to help them or work with them, how do you think a successful partnership looks like or what does that structure look like?Diana:I think this is why the digital commerce space has to exist in this kind of hybrid world, because I feel like marketers take a really consumer human first mindset. Sales people tend to be very like sales for sales focus. In the middle you have to be this hybrid. I do take a customer first approach to an extent because you have to understand your customer strategies. Target's earnings call just came out this week or last week, and they talked about how 90% of all their sale is digital or physical are coming from stores.Diana:That's an insight for me to strategy. So, if I want to win at Target, I've got to understand how they tick, how they operate, and how I can help support their strategies, and their executions. So, it's really that intersection between, what our brand teams are trying to accomplish? Our sales teams targets, and our retailer strategies, and where we can actually play.Diana:From a Colgate-Palmolive perspective, I'm not going to be able to help them win in every single element of their strategy. But there are areas that I am going to be able to help them lead or give them a perspective that can influence other sections. And I think the more and more we play those roles, the more valuable that you show up to a retailer, the more inclined they are to partner with you.Stephanie:Yeah. I mean I feel like that's a life principle. You just did your research on the brand, the company, you looked at their investor reports, you look into the background of the people, and instantly they're like, "Oh, you kind of already know that I don't have to bring you up to here, you're already here." So, now we can get going, which is awesome.Diana:Basically all can be boiled down to the same dynamics of the dating relationship. Sometimes you go to the sporting event because your significant other likes it, and then sometimes they go to the thing that you want because you like it. And then if you have a mixture of alcohol and sports, you got me. So, there you go.Stephanie:I love that. I love that. Cool. Well, the one thing I want to kind of touch on too is around the world of marketing right now. So, I've talked with some brands that have had to kind of always work in a scrappy mindset. One of them was Anheuser-Busch where they're like, "Yeah. We can't ever have this one-to-one relationship. We always have to do other things to be able to reach our customers because we actually can't directly talk to them."Stephanie:And it makes me think brands like that might be pretty far ahead with all these changes to ads and privacy and retargeting and all that. What are you guys thinking is kind of like what are brands missing right now? What should they be doing to continue to have a close relationship with their customers and not lose out when they lose access to a big ad pull that maybe they're not going to have anymore?Diana:For me, I think it's a balance. I think you have to think about your consumer touch points across the board. Everyone's talking about the cookieless environment that's looming. We're all hoarding data. But I don't know how actionable everyone's making it. So, I think it's really around taking a step back and what's your learning agenda.Diana:You want to connect with consumers, but what's the value proposition for them? What's the benefit? And I think brands really have to think about and understand, if I'm connecting with consumers, what value am I providing them? And why should they give me their information? Why should they want to connect and engage with me? And if you haven't established that, then you haven't earned the right to have their information or their contact, because it really is all around creating a delightful experience for them.Diana:I think understanding all of the data inputs that you have and really thinking hard around, how do you leverage them to feed strategies, not with just within the silos of the space? But how do you integrate them so you're feeding your traditional media strategy with your D2 insights? You're feeding your supply chain strategy with some of the ratings and reviews that you found, even your R&D innovation.Diana:So, it's really around being mindful and thoughtful about all the touch points that you have and being able to action against them. But I think for most retailers and manufacturers, if you don't have a strategy to think about how you're going to leverage your data, and you haven't, you're going to miss the boat, because everybody's gearing up, and it's what's happening now if you want to stay ahead going forward.Mike:Yeah. And just to build on that. I think totally it depends on the consumer and what's relevant. But I mean generally, I think what I'm seeing from some brands a little bit of higher level thinking in terms of how they're engaging with consumers, even on social media. I noticed there was a time period where I would go on Instagram and I saw these ads. They're very tactical. There's just like these product ads like, "Okay, buy this widget, buy this thing."Mike:And you still see these display ads, but then I've seen a lot more ads are just more, they're helpful, their content. I'm a pet owner and I wasn't going through my feed and I saw those, it was an ad, but it was from a pet company, and it was really supposed to be like how do you, what are the attributes of a healthy pet? It was kind of an interesting, intrigued me. I have an aging pet, so I just think there's a lot more creativity, you can't… I think it's easy in e-commerce to get very operational, but you can't underestimate the power of creative and how important creative is.Mike:And I think there's a lot of brands that I've seen challenger brands that are leveraging humorous videos. They're really doing things viral on YouTube, they're building a personality around their brand. They're getting up on TikTok. They're leveraging every touch point they can at the top of the funnel to build, to be creative, to stand out. And now what that's doing for them is now they're training consumers to go to Amazon and type their branded, not type a general category keyword.Mike:So, I think what's happening is the mediums are changing, maybe it's not television maybe it's not that, but there's so many more tools for marketers and very agile to still tell stories. And so, I think storytelling is going to be, has always been important. And I think that brands that are going to invest in that and make sure that they're using all these other new platforms these video platforms are going to really be well positioned for the long term.Diana:Yeah. And I think what I heard from you too is this authenticity. And what consumers are really looking for because I feel like now especially within Instagram, people want to be sold to, to an extent, but they want to be sold to for me. I want you to understand who I am, what I want to see and deliver it to me the way that I want to." But I think people are also really looking for real content. So, a lot of the slick and shiny campaigns that work on TV, are not going to work in social. So, really understanding who your consumer is and how to speak to them in an authentic way. But also be able to convert them in three seconds or less.Diana:So, how do you make that from something content, how do you really think about making it real? Especially if you're talking to Gen Z, how do you talk to them so it feels like they're talking to their peer group in a very authentic way? Is really critical. And then, how do you make it every single touch point the opportunity for consumers to buy? Because the funnel as we know it, has really collapsed in a lot of places and consumers are coming in and out as they choose, and if you're not able to make your social shoppable. Then, you're really going to miss a lot of opportunities to drive conversion and acquire new audiences.Stephanie:Yeah. And I love the idea around storytelling. I mean that's kind of what our whole company's been built around is like this is what humans look for. And I think there's this really big opportunity in companies that have been around for a long time, like Colgate-Palmolive. I think since 1806, the story behind that maybe has not really been around of like, how was it founded?Stephanie:I mean we had on UPS the other day, and we were kind of going through the history of UPS. I'm like, "Whoa. They need to talk about this more." I mean founded by like a 19-year-old guy, and here's how like it even started with this bike delivery. They were on their bikes delivering things, and what it is today and all the pivots they've had to go through. And I think kind of getting back to those storytelling routes, especially for the more historical brands not only will kind of… I mean people want to hear those stories. I just don't think big brands tell it enough in a way that connects with people now.Mike:Colgate was the original startup.Stephanie:See?Mike:Right?Stephanie:This is what I want. This is the connection I need.Mike:1800 startup brand, right? That's a challenging brand.Diana:Well, you talk about purpose driven brands. I do think a lot of these more established CPTs don't really know how to tell that story. I think there was a time period and several years ago when like it was just something you didn't do, and if I look back on all the organizations I worked at that do a lot of good for the communities in which they serve, that wasn't the story that you told. It wasn't like the thing. But now people are expecting brands to have a purpose, and they are using their dollars to determine if that purpose is worthy or not.Diana:So, if you're not talking about it, then you're not going to get those dollars. And Gen Z is not having it at all. They expect you to stand up and not just talk the talk, they want to see you walk the walk and they also want to see what your executive leadership team looks like.Diana:And I think consumers are also expecting the role of big corporations has shifted. How are you making this world better? How are you involved in social justice? What is your role? I'm super proud of Colgate for launching a recyclable toothpaste tube that then they gave the technology to everybody in the industry, so now everyone can do it. Those are the type of we're here for the good of the planet, we're here for the good of society, and we're going to be good corporate citizens and contribute to that. That's what the consumers want, and those are the stories that larger CPGs have to start telling.Stephanie:Yeah. I love that. So, when thinking about, earlier we're mentioning like you kind of have to be everywhere. And one thing that I also wanted to get into was all around agencies. We've had on amazing companies, one, was this company avocados from Mexico, and they talked about we've been like the number two or three commercial in the Super Bowl, and we have all these crazy things that we do that really drive, not only conversions, but awareness of our brand and they're selling avocados.Stephanie:They said our agencies are the ones that really, we vet them. They're amazing. They helped us get here, and I'd love to hear your take on, in a world where you have to be everywhere, how do you find agencies to work with that'll help get you there?Diana:For me, I've worked with so many great agencies along the way. And what I found is for me agencies are always an extension of my team. I'm expecting them to push us to make us better. I also really want to empower them to bring us awesome, creative, and make us feel really uncomfortable, because that's when you know you're onto something, especially when your boardroom feels really uncomfortable. That's when you know you're really onto something.Diana:But I think in this new digital commerce age, it's important to have an integrated agency model, because there are different agencies that are good and serve a purpose for different things. You do need those major creative campaigns, and yes, the Super Bowl is still important to some brands, but there's kind of the day-to-day operations, and also the ability to really think about digital commerce and the integration with shopper marketing and understanding how different retailer dynamics works, and how to leverage the data that's critical.Diana:So, agencies that not only know media, but know performance marketing but also understand retailers are really going to rise to the top right now, especially as more and more media dollars are shifting to retail media. Now those agencies that can work together, so from the big campaign to the Super Bowl ad and bring it all the way back to the Kroger, the Walmart, or the Target. Now that is just perfect.Mike:Yeah. I mean agencies from my point of view are, they are an extension and what they're often doing is they're acting on the data and insights that maybe a e-commerce team isn't equipped to act on yet. And so, I think the best agencies are the ones that make data their differentiation. So, for example, you could have a handful of agencies are all really good at spending your ad dollars. But there will be a select few agencies that know how to get that extra edge from some data, maybe it's incorporating some out of stock data or competitive search data, and you want to find those agencies are always pushing the boundary for you.Mike:They're not just managing on the basic models of ROAS, but they're actually looking at, what are these new things we could do? A test and learn, how do we advanced your ROI? Actually show that the ads are growing market share. How can they use data? And I think that's going to be a big differentiator, especially since digital shelf data, e-commerce data, it's still new for a lot. But I think you're going to see the separation where you find these agencies that are data-led, data centric, and I think there's a huge opportunity. To Diana's point, where first wave of digital agencies were very Amazon focused. There's such a huge gap in skill set right now in like the traditional shopper marketing for digital commerce that I think agency are perfect position to start becoming your extension of your Walmart, your Walmart digital operators, your Target.Mike:I think that's where you're going to see a lot of agencies flourish is where the maturity to actually pull those levers still isn't there. They can come in and be leaders. So, I look at agency on two dimensions who is really driving digital data driven decisions, who are ones that I can really scale with beyond just the Amazons but into that next tier flywheel that I want to go. Who's going to lead me there, lead my thinking, and help me be the market share leader on that next platform?Stephanie:Yeah. I love that. Are there any tests that you do when hiring agencies that you're like, "This will let me know if you're what I need, if you're well-rounded, if you can kind of plug in with other agencies and cover everything?"Mike:Well, we work with a lot of agencies. We don't hire them but we partner with them. So, one of the things that we do when we… We've tried to build an ecosystem at Profitero of like-minded agencies that are data-led. And one of the things that we're trying to do is make our data accessible to all these agencies to be able to do things. So, what I've seen is agencies that are really going to, that show the most promise is the ability to be willing to do some test and learn stuff, to pick up some data points from the digital shelf and say, "Hey, we're going to try this."Mike:We're going to say instead of just putting our ad dollars across every product spread it evenly on Amazon, we're going to actually shift and we're going to stop spending on the products that aren't converting well, and we're going to shift it to these products that are converting well. We're just going to shift it up and we're going to try to see what happens. So, for me, for my perspective the agencies that we've been vetting and really partnering with and saying that these are best of class are the ones that are showing that competency and that ability just to try some different things and experiment and find a model that they can repeat.Diana:Yeah. I would say when I think about it from a digital commerce perspective, especially from retail media. I'm really looking for an agency that not only understands media, but they also understand the impact on sales. So, if you think about Amazon and getting the flywheel going, if you're pushing ROAS, if you're pushing certain levers that impacts your profitability, it impacts a lot of your negotiation power with Amazon. So, you need to be able to keep your ROAS to where it needs to be in your other traditional media KPIs while keeping top line going, which can be expensive.Diana:So, that's very critical. So, having somebody that understands that. Also, someone that understands the nuances and the inner workings of Walmart from a media perspective but also that my sales team then needs to go to a buyer or a DMM and sell this program in, to not only get more, whether it's more displays or get them engaged and excited about it. But it's not just a pure media place. So, an agency that understands that from a digital commerce perspective is really critical.Diana:Then, when it comes to more of our traditional content and execution, I like to do what I call media to shelf. So, regardless of who the partner is and most agencies can do this. It's how you can integrate and work with other agencies. So, the idea can come from either side, either the traditional creative agency, the digital commerce agency, the shopper agency. But how do you take the lane that you play in and make the concept work across all? So, how do you take that idea and make it so much bigger? Because our funding models are not changing, our buckets are not getting any bigger. So, we have to make every dollar work harder.Diana:So, I need a traditional media plan that not only drives awareness, but also can pull through to the digital or physical shelf. And I would say a measure of good traditional agency, for me, it's make or break by the creative director. They really do enable the work to either deliver on the brief or exceed our expectations and deliver on our business objective.Stephanie:Yeah. Love that. All really good points. All right, with a couple minutes left, I want to shift over to the lightning round. The lightning round is brought to you by Salesforce commerce cloud. This is where I have a question, and you have one minute or less to answer. Are you ready? And I'll just kind of go back. Both have to answer the same question, so.Diana:Oh, boy.Stephanie:All right. Diana, you first. What's one thing you don't understand today that you wish you did?Diana:I don't understand why sales and marketing are so separate. I wish I could understand why each side didn't understand the other, but hopefully one day, we will be able to create, take the healthy tension and build a stronger digital commerce organization as a result.Stephanie:I love that. You and a lot of other companies, so. All right, Mike.Mike:Bitcoin.Stephanie:All right. You haven't even looked into it yet? I feel like now's the time to get in.Mike:I've tried and I get so confused, but I just have this fear. I have this waving fear of missing out, but then I realized that people are losing a lot of money too. I just don't understand how it works.Diana:I want to do over.Stephanie:I liked yours. What? You want to do over, Diana?Diana:I want a do over. You know what I don't understand? Why can't we have side parts anymore? I don't understand that. I like the side part. It fits my face frame. Why is that not cool anymore?Stephanie:Man, I feel like we can have more. Let's just stay on this question, so many things. All right. Next one. Something wise my elders taught me. Mike, you first.Mike:Something wise my elders taught me. Man, sorry. I totally blanked on that one. So, can you ask that question again?Stephanie:Yeah. Something wise my elders taught me.Mike:Yeah. I'd say that really it was hard work. That just sounds kind of lame. But I learned pretty early that no one's going to give you anything in this world, and you have to work really hard, and my dad was one of the hardest working people I know. He was an auto body worker and put in a lot of hours and really kind of like taught me this blue collar approach that I try to bring to my work. I love working. I've always learned to work hard and I try to always ground myself in that work ethic whatever I do. So, that's something that my elders taught me.Stephanie:I love that. All right. Diana, you're up.Diana:So, for me, I'm a black woman in America and a first generation from Caribbean parents, so it's really about using my voice and my power to have the courage to make space for people who look like me or people who don't have their voices heard. So, I'm really grateful for having parents, but also ancestors that taught me and showed me how to do that. YStephanie:Yeah. I love that. All right. If you were to have a podcast, what would it be about and who would your first guest be? Diana, you're up.Diana:Oh, shoes.Stephanie:A podcast on shoes?Diana:Yeah. My podcast would be on shoes and it would be Sarah Jessica Parker.Stephanie:My space right-Diana:It would really just be for me and a way to get new shoes.Stephanie:I'm so confused.Diana:Literally the whole angle of the podcast would be to get free shoes.Stephanie:Just need shoes. [crosstalk]. Okay. Who would your first guest be?Diana:Sarah Jessica Parker.Stephanie:Okay. I love it. All right. Mike, you can't top that one, but if you want to try, what would your podcast be about and who would your first guest be?Mike:Cannabis.Stephanie:Okay.Mike:And it would be probably, I don't know, Willie Nelson.Stephanie:What would you guys be talking about or would you [crosstalk]-Mike:I'm fascinated by the business of cannabis. So, it's something that I've studied for a while. I started to do a little bit of research on it back in Nielsen, and this was like way ahead. But I'm fascinated by how an industry can just go so mainstream. How can one part be so regulated, then all of a sudden go mainstream? And I'm fascinated by brand building in that space and how brands are building, and even like huge bevel companies are getting in this space now. So, we're like fascinated about the entrepreneurs in that space, the ecosystem of that space, and if I had a separate podcast that was totally unrelated to anything I did, it would be about that, because I think that's like, that and Bitcoin, those are two booming things right now.Stephanie:You could just blend them all together.Mike:Yeah. Right.Stephanie:I thought you would say you would be in it for the free weed. Yeah. Give me free weed.Mike:Samples, yeah.Stephanie:Diana's shoes.Diana:Yeah.Stephanie:Lobby sitting pretty.Mike:Right.Stephanie:So, I'll send you Bitcoin for the first time, and then you'll have to go deep into the wormhole.Mike:Yeah. I'm really opening my heart on this podcast.Stephanie:That is why you're here. That's why you're here. All right. And then, the last one. I want to know how you guys stay on top of your industry. So, maybe, Mike, you first. What are you reading? Newsletters? Is it books, podcasts? What do you do?Mike:LinkedIn. I basically follow a set of people. On LinkedIn there's a group of about 15 to 20 people that I just trust that curate. They curate on a regular basis all the breaking news that I could just go to LinkedIn and I know that at any given moment, I'm going to find something that's really interesting on a different perspective. Yeah. That's my go-to. I wake up in the morning and look at LinkedIn. And then I think about, "Okay, what could I do to add value to LinkedIn that day?"Mike:And LinkedIn has become one of these like platforms that I managed my life around. I never thought it would be like that. But it's become like a valuable news source for me.Stephanie:That's awesome. All right. Diana, how about you? How do you stay on top of everything?Diana:For me, I'm fueled by curiosity. So, similar to Mike, I'm on LinkedIn. He's in my top 20 list of people that I follow that I get content from. I listen to a ton of podcasts, this one also. I am an avid reader of papers and research. So, whether it's from Kantar, Profitero, [inaudible], Edge, you name it, you've got to stay on top of it.Diana:And then it's really about networking. So, I have this mantra like I'll say yes. So, if somebody invites me to a round table, I'm going to go. If it's a bad experience I don't go back. But like I found this small community of e-commerce and digital commerce folks that I can just call or text or get information from. And a really cool thing that a bunch of women in e-com started is basically women of e-commerce, and it's a group of 25 of us, and we connect on a regular basis. But we also bought, each brought in a mentee. So, it's just ripe for learning, and Sarah Hofstetter, the president of Profitero is one of the members as well. But it's just such a great place to feed my curiosity.Stephanie:I love that. I see only more of that happening, these micro groups popping up. I know that that was something that I started experiencing here which is like women all being part of like a group text, which I was like, "Is this going to be too much?" And now, I'm like, "This is the best text thread I've ever been in." And it probably wouldn't have happened prior to this past year or two. That's amazing.Stephanie:Well, Mike, Diana, this has been such a fun round table. We'll definitely have to have you back for round two, because I'm sure a lot will change quick in a matter of months. But where can people find out more about you? Mike, maybe let's start with you.Mike:LinkedIn.Stephanie:Of course. And then, you just go to Diana [crosstalk]Mike:Yes. If you want to find me, you want to talk to me, that's the place to go. I'll be pretty responsive.Stephanie:Yes. All right. Diana.Diana:You can find me on LinkedIn as well.Stephanie:Cool. All right. Well, thank you guys so much for joining. It's been a pleasure having you.Diana:Thank you so much for having me.Mike:Thank you.