Profile: Chuck Meyer-Hanover, Director of Insights and Analytics, Direct to Consumer, The Nature's Bounty Co.
Chuck Meyer-Hanover’s experience in both consumer and shopper insights gives him a better understanding of the needs of both his internal and external clients. On the internal side he’s working with teams such as marketing, merchandising and manufacturing and externally he partners with sales and retailers. “Now that I am in direct to consumer [DTC], I am wearing both the hat of the marketer/manufacturer and the retailer,” he says. “I am better prepared to develop research to answer the needs of all my clients.” Having spent many years working in insights for OTC brands that consumers needed to take in response to a health issue – coughs, headaches, heartburn – Meyer-Hanover says it’s rewarding to now be on the health and wellness side with vitamins, minerals and supplements.
How do consumer insights fit into The Nature’s Bounty Co.?
MEYER-HANOVER: They are at the foundation of everything we do. Learning about our customers, what drives them, how they use products and what they want informs everything from our new product innovation to our marketing campaigns.
What teams are involved?
MEYER-HANOVER: Within the DTC division, I work hand in glove with marketing, merchandising and consumer response in order to bring the voice of the consumer into everything we do.
What are some of the interests of your internal clients?
MEYER-HANOVER: How the new advertising or packaging is received by consumers. They want to know the level of brand and ad awareness.
MEYER-HANOVER: Where the items should be placed on shelf in-store, and should the products in the category be brand blocked or interlaced with private-label products. Both internal and external clients are interested in the incrementality and cannibalization of new products.
Do you think consumer and shopper insights differ?
MEYER-HANOVER: Very little. The way you gather, analyze and interrupt the data is the same. While not all shoppers are going to consume the product, all consumers are shoppers.
Any areas where they do diverge?
MEYER-HANOVER: Who you consider to be your “client” is the one area that is different. For consumer insights it’s your internal colleagues (marketing, R&D, packaging, etc.); for shopper insights it is the sales force and then ultimately the retailer partners. Consumer insights improve the consumer experience and how they use the product, while shopper insights are used to improve the shopper experience with the help of retail partners.
Is there a trend impacting your team’s work?
MEYER-HANOVER: The growth in consumers purchasing vitamins, minerals and supplement items online.
What do you see as a challenge facing the insights discipline?
MEYER-HANOVER: Finding the people with the right talent to fill the roles.
MEYER-HANOVER: Doing the research is the easy part. It is finding the person who can take the data and turn it into a recommendation for the business and is able to tell a story about the needs of the consumer so management has a clear picture of what needs to be done next. Researchers today need to be storytellers and not just reporters of data.
What are the key skills required to excel in consumer insights?
MEYER-HANOVER: A desire to understand people, what they want and need, as well as how/where they buy and use your product. A willingness to tell your internal clients and management when a tested item needs to be changed or improved prior to launch. Also, to be the voice of the consumer inside the building, and an ability to look at data to identify trends and classify groups of people by preferences or behaviors.
Please share a professional challenge.
MEYER-HANOVER: Every day we deal with challenges, and over my career I have learned to face each one head on and deal with it at that moment.
Anything you’ve discovered from those times?
MEYER-HANOVER: As I drive home I revisit the situation to determine what I learned and how I can handle the situation next time.
What’s on the horizon for the insights discipline?
MEYER-HANOVER: I like to believe that the sky is the limit. Everyone in the company wants to understand the needs of the consumer but needs to balance that with delivering the needs of the company.