Commentary

Think Like a DTC, Act Like a CPG

As you might expect, Hershey has a sweet spot within its audience strategy. And that is the trio of a singular view of its consumer, bringing business upfront and finding the right partners in media with the right technology to target its audience.

So said Ashlee Carlisle, Media Audience Strategy & Activation, Hershey, at Friday's summit. In thinking like a DTC, Carlisle's new planning process puts audience insight first. "The marketer of the future," she said, "has to have great cross-section of experience to bring holistic solutions to the table."

While all roads lead to the consumer, "we need to be thinking about partner data, sales data, shopper data, consumer insights, and media behavior. The consumer's mindset is simple but we over-complicate it."

She came to the 125-year-old company two years ago, having swallowed "the red pill," as she put it, referencing one of her favorite movies, "Matrix." It meant staying in Wonderland, going down the rabbit hole and finding the root cause of issues. The blue pill keeps a person going in the CPG world, maintains the status quo.

Carlisle developed a "farm to table mindset," whereby Hershey has one source of truth. Looking at what data it had, she asked where it came from. "What are we using to define our no-doze, always-goes hustler? I started to understand what makes the difference between data and that was the quality. OMG, we gotta have first-party data."

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