People to Watch 2019: Hannah Stewart
Company: E. & J. Gallo Winery
Title: Shopper Marketing Manager, Omnichannel
Education: University of Arizona (bachelor’s, marketing)
Hannah Stewart started with E. & J. Gallo right out of college after meeting someone from the winery at an on-campus job fair. The Indiana native says her sights were never set on sales nor the West Coast to live, but she began working out of a Gallo distributor in Southern California and calling on chain grocery accounts. She was a sales rep, then a sales training manager and, finally, district manager.
Gaining “feet on the street” experience has proven to be truly invaluable, she can now say. “I learned the ins and outs of total beverage alcohol and our brands, the competitive realities of the retail environment, and how to be a successful salesperson,” she says, including learning the value of building strong, mutually beneficial relationships and the importance of how to tell a story.
Stewart’s true passion since college was marketing, so when the opportunity arose for her to join the company’s brand marketing organization in 2015 and work on a portfolio of Gallo’s premium brands, she jumped at the chance. She was exposed to the entire end-to-end marketing process across various brands and through that was able to strengthen and hone her understanding of the consumer, creative development, data analysis and insights.
Two years later, she made the move to shopper marketing, working on national and regional accounts. “This was an exciting time to be in shopper marketing as we shifted our mindset to address the omnichannel consumer,” she says. “It was empowering to join this part of the organization at Gallo, where we’re able to test new technologies, take risks, and build and foster new processes.”
Stewart believes the industry will continue to see massive changes to the way people shop and consume brands. “In the not-so-distant past, we were focused solely on brick-and-mortar activation,” she notes. “Now we’re faced with blurred channels and consumers that dictate how and when they want to shop.” She predicts that omnichannel strategy of the future will need to continue to shift the focus toward a deeper understanding of the consumer journey to reach the right shoppers in the most impactful way, no matter the channel.
A January 2018 restructuring of Gallo’s sales organization brought about a new role within the company to build connectivity between brand marketing and its primarily field-based shopper marketing team. Stewart was named shopper marketing manager, omnichannel, the position she holds today, and began focusing on the development of operational processes to bring scale and visibility to brand and portfolio omnichannel programs.
Her daily work now involves partnering with some of the company’s key brand teams in their planning and development, ensuring that they have cohesive omnichannel programs and that sales has the right tools to sell them in; working with digital marketing partners to build activation calendars aligning to brand and portfolio programs; managing the strategic planning of national portfolio program activation and communication of all programs out to the field; and being a champion of change that enables the field-based shopper team to be more efficient and focus on strategic, meaningful work with their customer teams.
Stewart says she’s a stronger, smarter and more strategic marketer with the experience she’s gained in each role. “Through demonstrating the value of having integrated roles that helped break down silos, it impacted the development of our new marketing organization structure, which will have many more roles like mine with expanded responsibility to drive activation at the point of purchase, no matter the channel.”
She says the future is hard to predict – but only because the job she likely will want in five to 10 years may not exist today. One thing is for certain: a very small percentage of alcoholic beverages are sold online. That means there’s a lot of upside, both for Gallo and its customers, she says. “For now, we’re testing and learning across all types of e-commerce and building capabilities for the growth that will come.”