Profile: Deb Hannah, Vice President, Shopper Marketing & Scale Promotions, Kellogg

Photo by Tom Brayne

Deb Hannah has worked in retail and consumer goods for her entire career. She started in retail consulting, working in IT and supply chain. Once she obtained her MBA, Hannah worked in brand management for Kimberly-Clark and moved into shopper marketing for the first time in 2008 when the company moved brand managers into the capability. In 2011, she went to work for Starbucks to start shopper marketing and insights from the ground up for their new CPG business unit. She moved back into brand marketing for the coffee brands and became a merchant, doubling the snack business in Starbucks stores through small emerging brands and private-label innovation. She joined Kellogg last October.

Describe your current role.

HANNAH: I lead consumer promotions and field shopper marketing. We execute everything from scale movie and sports programs to cereal “prize inside” promotions, as well as couponing and account-specific shopper marketing.

How does your organization define shopper marketing?

HANNAH: Shopper marketing at Kellogg is part of our integrated commercial planning team. It is the function that connects our brands to shoppers through retail – to compel shoppers and retailers to love and choose our brands. That definition is a north star that allows us to enable growth by integrating the retailer and the evolving shopping perspective into holistic planning and execution. It includes our need to create great collaborative relationships with our retail partners, while building brand equity and motivating purchase – whether it is the retailer buying the program, or the shopper buying our food.

Can you share a recent example of your team’s work that stands out?

HANNAH: What our Walmart team is doing with food trucks on Eggo and Morningstar Farms is so fun and successful. These two programs are the perfect intersection of what the brand is trying to accomplish with awareness and trial, while tapping into Walmart’s desire to make shopping more engaging, all through using a perfect consumer cultural moment – the food truck trend. The events and the resulting social media have driven tremendous results.

What motivates you most in your current position?

HANNAH: The tricky part, and the part that is most motivating, is that we need to really understand what drives shopper behavior and then activate against that – in a time where the future of retail and shopping is changing quickly and dramatically.

What is the shopper’s greatest need today, and how is your team or organization working to  meet that need?

HANNAH: The shopper’s greatest need today is not that different from what it has always been – to find and buy products that meet their needs and wants. What has changed dramatically are the shopper’s expectations for how easy or fun fulfilling those needs and desires should be. Social media and our mobile phones have primed us for instant gratification and to always be entertained, and the shopper’s expectations have risen. So we are doing work through e-commerce to shorten the path to purchase. At the same time we are creating engaging experiences at retail. 

What about shopper marketing concerns you?

HANNAH: My greatest concern for shopper marketing is that it sometimes gets lost in the complexity of trying to define what it is, what it does and who it reports to. At the same time the outside world is getting more complex, too. That complexity trap – the multiple stakeholders, tactics, strategies and initiatives that shopper marketers need to sort through on a daily basis is why we chose such a short, easy-to-remember definition.

What’s your vision of retail and shopper marketing in 5-10 years?

HANNAH: We are not that far away from being able to just say out loud what we want for dinner and have it arrive an hour later – and have it be delicious and meet the shopper’s expectations for a healthy meal. Shopper marketing will change dramatically in that scenario. How do you get on the list when there is no list? How do you encourage impulse? It’s definitely an exciting time to be in shopper marketing.