Profile: Carolyne Klug, Shopper Marketing Manager, GlaxoSmithKline

In her short tenure at GSK, Carolyne Klug has changed the way the shopper marketing team drives healthcare multi-category growth at Kroger. She joined the company in May 2016 after starting out in sales and spending eight years on the agency side. She made the leap over to CPG in 2013, first at Conagra Foods and then Dr Pepper Snapple Group before landing at GSK as shopper marketing manager, strategic food. Klug is one of three Women of Excellence honorees in the “Innovation” category.

What are your current responsibilities?

Klug: I’m the one who gets to bring the fun to the team. I challenge them to think a little bit differently about our brands – more category and/or total-store specific. We need to help drive traffic to Kroger stores, have increasing relevancy of programming and messaging, and in turn help drive conversion. A lot of the work I do is making sure we’re holding true to Kroger’s mission of “Feeding the Human Spirit.”

How have you been able to drive growth at Kroger?

Klug: It’s all about establishing a goal and plan and then getting the right people around you to make it happen. It’s never an easy process because there are a lot of folks that need to get involved, but what has been really exciting about working on this initiative – [a health and wellness growth initiative that started in 2016 with a cold and flu wellness event in-store; it’s delivering disproportionate growth for the GSK brands] – with Kroger is that everyone can see the power behind the idea and understand the overall objective behind the initiative.

Have you always been an innovator?

Klug: Absolutely. I’m a change agent and a person who likes to dream big, and my team likes to try to do the impossible. Just by sheer will and tenacity we’ve been able to accomplish some things we never would have dreamed of. I don’t believe in always doing things the way they’ve been done in the past, nor do I like the word “no” because that’s an easy answer. It’s much harder to say “yes” because it requires time, energy and a way of thinking that probably isn’t natural. If you’re a brand, it’s just not how you grow. We don’t have to radically change everything; small incremental changes can make a big impact.

How are you continuing to collaborate and innovate across category vendors and for Kroger?

Klug: There are so many new places to explore and experiment with and so many ways we can engage in-store. It’s really cool to understand what the technology is and how we can potentially harvest it. We’re learning a lot of information about who our shoppers are and how they want to be reached. Being able to find different ways in which we can have content speak to them in a relevant way is really critical. A large part of my responsibility is to understand what’s available, what makes sense and how we can best bring it to life.