People to Watch 2020: Karsin Bailey
Company: SC Johnson
Title: Omnichannel Shopper Marketing Manager
Education: St. Cloud State University – Herberger Business School (bachelor’s, marketing; minor in business management)
Karsin Bailey has always liked to plan ahead, and while the path to where she is now wasn’t clear from the start, she believes she found her way to shopper marketing because it’s a discipline in which planning is essential. Experiences in her career have shaped her passion for the work she does today, but whether in merchandising, sales or now shopper marketing, planning has been a constant thread in her roles.
“I have the ability and opportunity to plan not only with the brand teams, but also with the retail channels, both of which I support,” she says. “It’s been a big planning, full-circle moment for me over the past few years.”
Bailey graduated from college in December 2009, at the low point of the recession, and admits that finding a job seemed daunting. But a summer internship helped her land her first job with Regis Corp., working in its franchise division. She worked with franchisees of all sizes, focusing on building their merchandising strategies and educational events. “It was in that role that I realized I really enjoyed working with brands and helping franchise owners build their business,” she says. From there she moved to General Mills, with a growing passion to work on big brands.
Bailey admits she had no idea what shopper marketing was at the time. “It was there that I discovered my career calling.” As a steward of both brands and the retailer with responsibility for making it all work together within marketing – along with the fact that everything is evolving so quickly – she was energized by the excitement of it all.
But ultimately looking to return to her home state of Minnesota after spending three years with General Mills in Philadelphia supporting the East Coast grocery channel, she moved over to SC Johnson.
As SC Johnson’s omnichannel shopper marketing manager overseeing Target, the role she assumed in April 2018, Bailey is responsible for bringing the company’s brands to life at retail via a shopper-first mindset while also ensuring the work is translated appropriately to the Target guest. She works hand-in-hand with Roundel, Target’s in-house media agency, to tie the retailer’s category and guest insights together to build robust conversion-driving media campaigns that benefit both SCJ brands and their broader categories. “When I started in shopper marketing, it was fairly focused on in-store awareness tactics, traditional media, print, couponing and a little digital,” she recalls. “Digital was somewhat of a back-burner tactic that I would include in campaigns, but it was not the center of omnichannel like it is today.”
What was once a very tactical marketing expertise has become a lot more strategic. “My job has changed a lot, from the mindset of executing digital campaigns with Target first-party data and proving a good ROI, to continuing to do that but [now] getting more personal with the Target guest and amplifying all the different channels that [the retailer] provides to its guests.”
Bailey has made it a personal goal to take the time to establish authentic relationships with the people she works with, be it leaders, retailers, vendors or peers. “I genuinely believe that a relationship can be the difference between winning and losing,” she says.
Mary Bohannon, senior customer manager at General Mills, and Amy Boyer, now chief commercial officer at plant-based food maker Aloha, both of whom she worked with at General Mills, were instrumental influencers in her career.