McMahon Leads P2PI Into the Future
Mike McMahon, president & executive director of the Path to Purchase Institute, is taking a firm grip on the association’s reins. He assumed the job in December 2016, succeeding Peter Hoyt, who now heads up P2PI’s parent company, EnsembleIQ.
Just a couple of months into his new job, McMahon sat down with Shopper Marketing to provide some insight into his vision for where the Institute is headed.
One of the first things you’ve done is reach out to members to hear how they engage with the Institute. What are you learning?
MCMAHON: I will keep meeting with members indefinitely. One thing I’ve learned – and this is true of any association – is that you have a spectrum of engagement. You have a group that is heavily engaged in various events, attends seminars, visits the website, opens the newsletters. Then in the big middle, you have various types who pick and choose the resources that appeal to them. And on the other end of the spectrum, you have a group that is not as engaged. The onus is on us to make people aware of the different resources the Institute provides, and we are taking what we learn from that heavily engaged group to drive more engagement across the board.
You were a member of the Institute for about a decade in your previous roles at various companies. Were you part of the heavily engaged group?
MCMAHON: I was definitely in the more engaged group. I’m a huge believer in the vision of the Institute. Tactically, it’s how can I learn from best practices across the industry? How can I leverage the access that the Institute provides? Retail Academy is something we sponsored on a regular basis at Spire and we saw great value in it. We continued that at Datalogix, which bought Spire, and Oracle, which bought Datalogix.
I also appreciated the dialogue and level of thinking I could plug in to with smaller groups such as the League of Leaders – because that’s a highly engaged group. The Institute has done a great job creating these large pools of value that members can plug into as they see fit based on their particular business needs.
Looking to the future, where do you see the marketing industry heading as a whole?
MCMAHON: There are many forces at work creating a maelstrom of complexity and opportunity. The continued disruption that technology has created is forcing monumental changes to how retailers and brands market to shoppers. The operational side of driving growth is also being challenged for brick-and-mortar retailers like never before as they go where the shoppers are going and build out online ordering capabilities and curbside pickup.
As the discipline of marketing to shoppers matures, the need for fast, actionable and standardized measurement methodology for all marketing investments becomes ever more important. The seismic changes occurring within our population is also something that will remain a challenge going forward. Old norms of shopping behavior are not as valid as they used to be, and the need to better understand these shifts and their implications to strategy and execution is increasingly important.
How can the Institute play a role in shaping that future?
MCMAHON: The Institute is really about curating phenomenal content that helps our members stay abreast of the latest trends and aware of the best practices that are out there. We need to push harder to look at what we see coming.
Thanks to our new structure as part of EnsembleIQ, we have some sister brands – including research companies – that can help us understand some of the implications of these bigger changes so we can transfer that knowledge to our membership in a well-thought-out, easily digestible, actionable way. We have more access to the retailers that are out there and we have an opportunity to understand their needs and bring that out to members.
The notion of championing shopper-centric thinking will continue to be critical as the industry evolves. And we need to continue to focus on the shifting media landscape to help our membership find the best approach that helps them drive growth.
What have you learned from your predecessor, Peter Hoyt?
MCMAHON: Peter has tremendous enthusiasm for the industry we’re in, what the Institute is and what it could be. He’s also an idea person. To have somebody in the room who can challenge convention, who has a way about him that brings everybody along in that excitement, is really powerful.