​​​​​​​Profile: Jay Evans, SVP of Shopper Engagement, The Marketing Arm

Photo by Rex Curry

As senior vice president of shopper engagement for The Marketing Arm, Jay Evans oversees the agency’s PepsiCo shopper marketing work and its new business opportunities in shopper. The role is the latest move up the ranks for Evans, who has spent more than 13 of his 16 career years at the agency.

Evans has explored facets of marketing that include brand-building, innovation pipelines, portfolio marketing, experiential marketing, cause marketing and more. “The common denominator has ultimately been, ‘But how do we convert?’” Evans says. “It’s truly become a passion point for me to think about shopper behaviors and to overlay those with brand campaigns all the way from shelf to purchase.”

He’s also witnessed The Marketing Arm grow well beyond its roots in sports marketing to become an agency that helps brands of all sizes engage across the entire shopper journey. “We create ideas that convert – inspiring people to do something, feel something and ultimately choose your brand,” Evans says. “There’s no single path to this goal, so commitment to the work and to thinking outside the box – and the aisle – are what allow us to drive behaviors in unique ways.”

He’s proudest of his work developing and championing a revamped, agency-wide approach to shopper marketing known as Cartography. According to Evans, it’s focused on the idea that technology has allowed people to shop everywhere and anywhere.

“A purchase can take place at any moment, and that’s where Cartography comes in,” Evans says. “We’re all about making sure your shopper and your brand arrive at the same place at the same time. Our suite of tools allows us to diagnose the shopper and the problem to solve to create strategies that shift shopper mindsets and turn shoppers into buyers.”

In serving clients, The Marketing Arm’s consumer and shopper engagement teams are set up to empower account, creative and strategy teams to collaboratively set the agenda. “It’s that partnership that jointly establishes the strategy and develops and executes the creative solution,” Evans says.

These core client teams are supported by on-demand resources tailored to the project or challenge. “Our capabilities further differentiate us,” Evans says. “The work we do in converting shoppers is further amplified by our expertise with influencers, experiential marketing and sports and entertainment.”

In his work, Evans finds himself most motivated by seeing a shift in how employees think about the shopper space and by witnessing the passion, appreciation and career aspirations of his junior staffers who are pursuing focused careers in shopper marketing.

Looking ahead, the biggest challenge Evans anticipates is the ever-growing demand from clients for efficiency over quality. “We never want to sacrifice our commitment to excellence in all that we do, whether it be strategy, design or execution,” Evans says. “However, a reality of the world we live in today is the desire for faster and cheaper that still delivers the excellence our clients expect. It’s a marketplace headwind we at The Marketing Arm think about daily.”

On the technology front, Evans expects voice and wearables to have a growing impact on the industry in the years ahead. He also foresees a continuing evolution in the shopper marketing discipline over the next decade. He’s already seeing clients reallocate funds increasingly toward programs that drive sales as retail continues its expansion beyond traditional channels.

“The rapid influx of capabilities to purchase on demand just over the last two years really has transformed the way we shop, so looking out over the next two, six, 10 years is exciting,” Evans says.  “Brands are going to consistently need to find creative ways to break through in quick, efficient and instantly shoppable ways.”