Company: Sanofi Consumer Healthcare
Title: Senior Manager of Shopper Marketing
Education: St. Joseph’s University (bachelor’s, business administration, food marketing cooperative program; minor in international business)
After completing St. Joseph’s University’s food marketing cooperative program, Michael Fulton found his passion: working in the CPG industry with an eye on healthcare. His schooling included three semesters of real-life, industry-specific experiences working full-time with two companies in the U.S. and one in Ireland, where he learned from former food industry leaders.
After graduation Fulton entered Johnson & Johnson’s sales and leadership development program, where he called on Walmart. Starting in sales analytics and quickly moving into category management in support of Walmart buyers, he was propelled into numerous customer-facing roles.
He spent more than three years in the consumer medical devices industry with J&J Vision Care in customer marketing. With that experience, Fulton says, shopper marketing was a natural fit for his aspirations to connect consumers and shoppers with brands across omnichannel retail environments.
Today, as senior manager of shopper marketing at Sanofi Consumer Healthcare, Fulton is responsible for developing insights-led, customer-specific plans that will distinguish the company’s portfolio of brands from the competition while connecting with shoppers. “In doing so, I’ve had to be nimble in order to traverse the challenges of starting a new function while blazing new opportunities for connection with consumers via the retailer experience,” he says, adding that he was hired virtually via Zoom calls and has yet to visit the company’s offices.
Since coming on board, Fulton has built the shopper marketing function from the ground up with director of shopper marketing Nellson, establishing best practices while revolutionizing how the organization creates connections with consumers. “With many folks coming from diverse work experiences, there were varying degrees of knowledge about and adoption of the shopper marketing function,” Fulton says. “As the value has been showcased and programs begin to elevate how we go to market, more and more colleagues are becoming strong believers in shopper marketing.”
The team has worked tirelessly, in conjunction with The Mars Agency, to build and begin to execute cohesive, insights-fueled customer-first shopper activation plans, he says. It has begun to elevate and amplify programs around tent-pole windows while leveraging pre-existing consumer promotions and national media to incorporate retailer media network plans along with customized shopper activation plans. “In short, we’re creating maximized engagement with shoppers and ensuring they cannot shop, browse or think about a need state without knowing Sanofi Consumer Healthcare has the right solution for them,” he says. The team’s efforts have taken Sanofi to a new place in terms of how it works with retailers as well as how it communicates through retailers to shoppers in the long run.
Fulton’s passion for the industry has now expanded to include working on brands at companies that seek to improve the quality of life for consumers as well as working for organizations that are environmentally and socially responsible. “Having worked in CPG for more than 13 years, you get to see how much goes into the end-to-end process and how organizations can do their part to better the community and the world both ethically and sustainably,” he says. “I will continue to push these upward as part of the art of continuous improvement.”
Fulton also plans to continue to eliminate friction in the shopping experience for shoppers while growing market share through targeted activations. With the COVID-19 impact in mind, the roadmap has been “completely thrown up in the air,” he says. He hopes to one day be running integrated shopper marketing across a specific group of retailers and leading industry-wide change.