When I joined ConAgra Foods, the objective I was given was quite simple – raise the bar on marketing. I gathered input from my peers across the organization, our CEO, agencies, and my team as to what they felt was working, not working, and missing. The robust feedback, along with my own observations, led me to create a marketing vision that formed the basis for how I wanted my team to work, how we should be organized, and the skills and capabilities I wanted to develop for the team.
From a people perspective, we had no training, no common brand language, and didn’t encourage risk taking and curiosity. We had a lot of consumer knowledge but lacked deep insights that were actionable. We had only a few people supporting our sales organization and our retail customers.
I engaged my team to help accomplish our vision. What I asked of them was not perfection. I encouraged them to seek excellence, to make sure they were adding value with everything they touched, to do the best they can. And if we tried our best and it didn’t work the way we planned, we learned from it, and we shared the learning with others.
As I look back on our journey over the past few years, we’ve made a great deal of progress. We established marketing competencies and have a Marketing Academy. We have crossfunctional rotation assignments and talent management. My folks are encouraged to try new marketing ideas and vehicles. Our consumer insights are deep and are driving actionable results. And we have an integrated shopper-customer marketing organization that is mostly based in the field with our sales teams and our customers. All of these things have contributed to our business results. And our employee engagement scores are the strongest they’ve ever been.
Our journey continues; there’s still more to be done. That’s what makes what I do so fun and interesting!