In 2016, research from She Runs It uncovered that while 41% of early stage marketing employees are women, women only fill 25% of executive leadership roles. In 2017, Axonn Media spoke to marketers about the role of gender in the marketing industry and found that while the women in their sample were more experienced than the men, the men still dominated senior marketing positions.
To commemorate Women’s History Month and what it means to us, we started a content series on our blog where we speak with women in different positions in the field of Marketing to learn more about their roles, their experience, what it’s like to be a woman working in the marketing space including any challenges they have faced, and their recommendations for women dealing with gender bias in the workplace.
It is our hope that this will open up a discussion about gender disparity (and the need for diversity and inclusion) not just in the marketing industry but everywhere. If you have any comments about this series or would like to share your story with us, please feel free to send an email here, share them in the comment section below or chirp at us on Twitter.
Our second instalment is with Allisha Watkins, Shopper Marketing and Insights Expert at Amplify Retail Consulting and Simpactful
3tl: Can you please tell our readers more about you?
A.W: I grew up as a Military child traveling the world with my parents and sisters until settling in Northwest Arkansas 25 years ago. Since then, I have been a part of the unprecedented growth here, building key relationships and experiences that have helped shape who I am today. Over the past 15 years, I have had the privilege to work for and with some amazing consumer and retail companies focusing on Marketing and Insights. Today, I am fortunate enough to now own a consulting business, working alongside my wonderful partners at Amplify Retail Consulting and Simpactful.
3tl: How did you get into Shopper Marketing?
A.W: In my early marketing days, I was an Account Executive responsible for P&G’s healthcare and feminine care business. P&G and SaatchiX basically created Shopper Marketing so it was a very exciting time. I learned so much from that experience and have been passionate about the shopper space ever since!
3tl: How would you explain Shopper Marketing to someone who is unfamiliar with it?
A.W: Shopper Marketing is the spark of inspiration that ignites efforts among brands and retailers to meet a shopper’s desire, mindset or behavior; delivering insights based solutions at the point of conversion.
3tl: How do you look at Shopper Marketing today?
A.W: I have seen Shopper Marketing evolve significantly over the past 15 years to be focused on in-store activations with key retailers to truly understanding the shopper journey through connected commerce.
3tl: How have you seen Shopper Marketing change during the years? Are there any new trends you’re noticing, taking part in, or starting?
A.W: Clearly the shift in focusing on Digital over the past few years for investment and resources. This space continues to move so fast with hundreds of new technologies and capabilities entering every week. The critical part for Shopper Marketers is to wade through the new offerings cautiously optimistic. Approach with a test and learn model while staying true to the shopper. It is very easy to get caught up in the shiny objects. In order to continue to invest, you must be able to drive commerce and measure impact clearly.
3tl: Where do you think Shopper Marketing is headed in the future? And what do you see as some of the challenges to the advancement of Shopper Marketing?
A.W: Shopper Marketing will need to focus on 3 key areas for the future. [First] Shopper Insights. Without them, you are flying blind. [Second] Digital Activation. Truly understand the path to purchase and how to “connect” with your shopper to deliver value. Connected Commerce is critical part of a well rounded solution. [Third] Measurement. Today there is not an industry standard scorecard or approach that accurately measures the impact of the shopper. There are a few very expensive tools out there but unlike other CPG functions, this is an area that needs significant focus. Especially with many companies going to zero based budgeting.
3tl: Do you have any preferred or go-to tactics when working with brands or CPG companies? Or do you approach each account differently?
A.W: Each program should be developed according to the Insights and Shopper Journey for the particular category or item you’re focused on. Before jumping into tactics, you must identify your program KPI’s and develop a strategy that will deliver on those. Typical focus areas are Digital, Social, Experience, and In-store.
3tl: What are some marketing tools, services, or software you cannot live without?
A.W: Shopper Insights tools, iRi, Path to Purchase.
3tl: How do you stay updated on new developments in the world of Shopper Marketing?
A.W: Attend the conferences, shows and meet with as many people in the market as possible. Its a lot of work but if you don’t, you will wake up one day to a whole new world and the shopper is in control.
3tl: Do you have any advice for women who may be dealing with gender bias in their field?
A.W: If you don’t have a seat at the table, make one. Continue to approach the business with insights, data and measurement and your proof will be in the performance. Don’t be afraid to speak up… there is no one in the room more experienced or educated than you.