At the start of her career, Peri Mendelson stumbled across opportunities, not realizing they would shape her future. She began in sales at Del Monte Foods before moving to Nielsen, where she gained her analytical prowess. After taking a hiatus to raise her children, she spent eight years at Unilever in various roles supporting customers such as Walmart and Target.
Mendelson moved on to what eventually became Mondelez International, where she helped drive growth in the confections and biscuit businesses through insights to action in category strategy. After delivering success to the organization, she was tasked with building the shopper marketing function for the newly created Mondelez. It was enlightening for her to learn the steps required to build a new function for a global billion-dollar organization.
Eventually, Mendelson was offered a growth position at L’Oreal that would new and interesting challenges for her in the beauty space. There, she led a high-performing team to grow the business with retailers such as CVS, Kroger, Walgreens and Ulta. She enjoyed working on the famous 5th Avenue in New York and participating in the company’s move to Hudson Yards.
In 2018, an opportunity with Promotion in Motion caught her eye on LinkedIn. It was enticing because it was a chance to work closer to home for a small company that could offer the true entrepreneurial experience she wanted.
Please describe your current role.
MENDELSON: I lead a team of headquarter professionals that I consider the engine to our field sales organization. We are a lean, growing team working diligently to help our organization with insights, category management, sales administration, sales communication and trade promotion management. It is exciting to work in a fast-growing environment where we all feel our efforts make a difference. That is Promotion In Motion.
How do shopper and customer insights fit into your organization?
MENDELSON: Insights from both the shopper and customer perspective are relatively new to our organization. I brought my expertise to ensure we infuse these important nuggets into all of our internal and external conversations. We activate based on consumer and shopper needs, and it is important we collaborate with our customers to ensure growth of mutual businesses.
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How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your team’s work? How has shopper behavior changed?
MENDELSON: When the pandemic hit, my team reacted extraordinarily fast to inform both our internal organization and our customers. Working in a small, nimble environment is quite beneficial during unusual circumstances like these.
The pandemic has changed shopper behavior for years to come. As we all saw, the panic buying period in March brought new learnings for all. Shoppers were not just stocking up on their favorites. They were buying all they could find, with the high demand depleting the shelves. This enabled trial on brands that shoppers might not have previously considered. Another learning was the demand for larger sizes in certain categories. The key question is how this behavior will look a year from now and beyond.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
MENDELSON: The most important aspect to me is leading a motivated team of professionals who enjoy collaborating to achieve a mutual goal of growing the business. And we can most certainly have fun while doing it.
MENDELSON: One project I worked on involved our insights expertise at checkout for a major grocery retailer. We have perfect brands for that space, and shoppers are excited to have new offerings that meet their needs. Our expertise and insights on how consumers shop the front-end of the store allowed us to demonstrate how we could grow our mutual business while making their shoppers happier. It was a win-win for our company and our retailer partner.