People to Watch 2019: Sarah Morphis
Company: Del Monte Foods
Title: Senior Manager, Digital Marketing & E-Commerce
Education: University of La Verne (bachelor’s, business administration)
Sarah Morphis was doing digital marketing before it was a part of job titles. Working for a mortgage company and managing its website and CRM campaigns, she recalls how the firm’s owner was extremely focused on driving loyalty and, in turn, referrals from his clients. “Maintaining those relationships and being a trusted source for financial information was a key component to his business objectives,” she says. “With my help, he leveraged two digital channels [web and email] to support his strategy.”
From there she went to work at E. & J. Gallo Winery and held a variety of roles across the digital and e-commerce space before joining the team at Del Monte. She says her move to Gallo was at a time when she wanted to move back to Northern California, and her work at the mortgage company provided her with great experience to manage the wine club programs at Gallo. “Those are, in essence, loyalty programs,” she says. Her experience there gave her great insight into the CPG industry, which translated to her role at Del Monte.
Morphis says her experience has allowed her to have her hands in many digital pots and continue to learn about the space. Her education taught her to think objectively and critically to ensure a strong focus on driving the business needs, something that has stuck with her during her career. “One of my favorite courses in college was debate because it taught me the power of using data and insights to influence team members,” she says.
Today, as senior manager, digital marketing and e-commerce, she manages – or supports in some capacity – any brand activation that is delivered through an internet-connected screen, including programmatic media, digital analytics and measurement, content strategy development and execution, websites, eCRM, social media, e-commerce content and marketing, search and addressable TV.
Morphis says her current manager, Jennifer Reiner, has encouraged her to be more analytical and constantly look for ways to improve what the team is doing while also giving her the space and support to make mistakes and learn from them. “I also learned a great deal from a former colleague, Gerard Thoukis, who taught me the importance of prioritizing business objectives and needs over the next ‘shiny new toy’ in digital.” Her first mentor, though, was her dad. “He passed away when I was in my early 20s, but he was passionate about computers and the internet and got me hooked on technology at a very young age.”
Growing and improving capabilities in the digital space is a goal for Morphis and, in some cases, has resulted in what she is most proud of in her work thus far. She has led many projects that required the organization to think and invest differently, and oftentimes those changes have paid off, she says. “I’m proud that I’ve managed to drive this impact for these organizations to allow us to reach our consumers in the most effective and efficient way possible.”
Primarily driven by the immediate gratification of the digital space and the fact that she can launch a campaign and see nearly instant results, Morphis says she’d like to move and grow within e-commerce, and ultimately lead all efforts within the next five to 10 years.
She’s ready for the challenges this industry faces. Namely: data. “Consumers will continue to get smarter about their data and companies will have to ensure they feel protected using these platforms,” she says. “It’s going to get harder for us, as marketers, to get access to this data to power our campaigns.” She also predicts there will continue to be fewer, larger platforms having access to the most robust data, making it more expensive for brands to leverage. “I think it’s crucial that brands are investing in building and maintaining their own first-party data.”