Profile: Susan Lambert, Director, Shopper Marketing & Customer Insights, Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA

Charlie Menchaca
Managing Editor
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Susan Lambert has held past management positions in marketing and sales at Procter & Gamble, the Coca-Cola Co., Nielsen and Catalina Marketing. As the path to purchase became more intricate a few years ago, Lambert – then a business development manager at Massimo Zanetti  Beverage – identified a need to focus analytics and programming around the shopper marketing movement. She proposed forming a team to senior management. They approved, and the rest is history.

Describe your current role.

LAMBERT: I oversee shopper marketing strategy and execution for all customers, all brands and private brands. I also oversee all consumption analytics and market research for the company.

How do shopper insights fit into your organization?

LAMBERT:  My team is included in the marketing department, but we collaborate very closely with both marketing and sales. Shopper marketing plans are developed by customer and integrated into the annual planning cycle.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your team’s work?

LAMBERT:  Much of our recent work has been around identifying the shift in shopping and consumption trends post-COVID-19. As our brands gain buyers due to the nature of the coffee category and increases in work-from-home policies, it is critically important to drive relevant content and conversion tactics to this new buyer base while not alienating our core shoppers. Our brands have strong regional loyalty, and as such, retaining these new buyers is imperative to growth and expansion.

With limited budgets, we have found digital targeting/media to be the best solution for us. By leveraging new investments in data and technology and partnering with our brand and shopper agencies, we’ve successfully identified a path forward for retaining these new buyers that incorporates the digital focus we have for upper funnel awareness with lower-funnel digital conversion components. 


For our complete list of shopper marketing executives, download the full Who's Who in Insights & Analytics 2020 report.


What’s the biggest challenge facing CPG companies related to data and analytics?

LAMBERT: From my point of view, there is still a need to quickly pivot from information to action in the data world. At no other time in my career have I seen so much information available to data mine. Yet the challenge remains to connect the data nuggets that have the greatest relevance to each of our retailer partners and our business.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

LAMBERT: To get the results we need and expect. Shopper marketing programs that work should increase base volume and buyers. Our department is only three years young, but we’ve seen an uptick in base volume when we effectively integrate our trade, marketing and shopper marketing efforts to hit the right touchpoints along the path to purchase.


LAMBERT: One of our top initiatives has been to drive further expansion of one of our premium brand coffees. When you’re not a large, multi-category player in CPG, it isn’t quite as easy to sell in an unknown brand on the first try. Since there was not much distribution of this brand, it lacked a strong track record.

A large customer carried the brand, and it was my team’s job to partner with the brand team and sales to ensure continued success by driving awareness and conversion. We implemented a full, 360-degree approach including social, targeted digital, in-store and re-targeting. I am happy to report that not only did this customer see very significant, undeniable impact with the programming, the balance of the market also saw an increase in sales as well. We have used this program as a model approach to our other top customers to drive buyer acquisition. I am happy to say it works.