Meghan Means’ career started in sports marketing, in both the professional and collegiate spaces. Then she moved to the agency world with GMR Marketing and had Molson Coors as her client for six years. In pursuit of a switch to the client side, she took an opportunity with Aldi. There, she was able to learn the retailer side of the business while also building and leading the regional marketing team. This eventually led her back to Molson Coors, where she started as a customer marketing manager. She initially focused on below-the-line marketing for Molson’s entire portfolio at customers such as Publix and Ahold Delhaize before becoming a brand solutions manager.
What are your current responsibilities?
MEANS: I am part of our shopper marketing team and lead all off-premise North American below-the-line work for our Miller and Coors family of brands.
Describe the structure of your organization as it relates to merchandising.
MEANS: Merchandising, while integral, is a just a part of our shopper marketing work. We focus on physical and digital retail solutions inclusive of pre-shop media and consumer promotions. We also partner closely with our shopper insights team to ensure everything we create serves a larger purpose and is a true opportunity for the shopper, retailer and brand.
What are the important characteristics of a mutually beneficial merchandising collaboration between manufacturer and retailer?
MEANS: I think trust, open communication and KPI alignment ultimately lead to the most successful programs for both a customer and supplier.
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How has your merchandising work changed to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic?
MEANS: Early in the pandemic, the focus was on supply and ensuring retailers simply had enough product to accommodate the rise of alcohol sales in the off-premise. Most of the shopper marketing change has happened behind the scenes. We have adapted our timelines so we don’t have to work as far out on program development. Also e-commerce has always been a priority for us, but it became an even bigger focus for our team.
What role will the physical store play in the future?
MEANS: We’ve seen behavior shift and now, more than ever, people are comfortable shopping online. This will make managing the in-store experience versus the online experience crucial to success. On top of this, in-store shopping trips will likely remain shorter in length, making it important for our merchandising solutions to help simplify the experience.
MEANS: Miller Lite Holiday 2020 was a success story from a merchandising standpoint. From our new holiday thematic packaging to our iconic knitwear program, we saw huge displays across off-premise and increased network engagement. I think the reason this program did well is because it was positioned through the line and built using shopper insights that remained relevant even during the pandemic.