Profile: Yolanda Angulo, Customer Director, Shopper Marketing, Mondelez International
Yolanda Angulo has spent more than 25 years working at large CPG companies, first with Nabisco/Kraft Foods Group until it became Kraft Heinz, and since October 2017 in her current post as customer director, shopper marketing, at Mondelez International. Having also been on the agency side, she says the opportunities she’s had to work with small companies and larger/global companies has exposed her to countless different people, brands, retailers and projects. Her journey has fueled her knowledge, relationships and accomplishments – both wins and failures – and these experiences, along with her Latino background, have also ignited a passion for the pursuit of cultural infusion and activation, she says. Angulo is one of three Women of Excellence honorees in the “Innovation” category.
What does your role entail?
Angulo: I support our East customer teams, responsible for the development of their annual marketing plans. I’m responsible for bridging our headquarter/brand priorities with our retailer strategies and customer business team goals. It’s a process that demands great collaboration and partnerships with the end goal of delivering incremental sales and driving shopper connectivity.
Tell us about your company’s strategic projects. How are you involved?
Angulo: The unique role we [play] requires a good amount of innovation and creativity, from how we explore and interpret insights to how we develop and deliver shopper value through offers and communication. During the past year, I had the opportunity to work on new ways to engage and connect with shoppers in-store through technology. I initiated three in-store digital projects with two of those still in-store and evolving. While all three projects were with one customer (but various owner groups), it included working with different agencies for each solution.
What were the projects’ main objectives?
Angulo: To test the benefit of putting messaging at the point of purchase and assess sales impact; to explore new technology to elevate the in-store experience; and, in partnership with the retailer, to test digital price tags. All three tests have provided valuable insights from the operational side to the content and communication piece. Both the qualitative and quantitative insights have informed short-term decisions and changes as well as longer-term opportunities, and they have also helped to provide insights to other retailers and team members exploring this new in-store technology.
What have you learned from these tests/pilots?
Angulo: We’ve gained a better understanding of the layers and levels of retailer involvement from HQ to in-store; the operational complexity behind launching these tests because no two stores are the same; the need to have the appropriate connectivity; the need to learn and understand more about all of the potential issues; and, importantly, the ability to learn what the shopper wants and needs. Finally, because we are a [direct-store delivery] organization, there are other layers of complexities (both advantages and disadvantages) that have surfaced.
What makes a true innovator?
Angulo: Someone who is fearless, open-minded, creative, forward-thinking and collaborative. An innovator needs to employ all of these, some more than others, in our daily work, depending on the projects we’re working on.
What makes you most proud of the company’s in-store digital endcaps?
Angulo: We’ve evolved the content and communication over time based on the insights and results, which led to an improvement of some of the initial results. The complexity of these LCD and LED endcaps is that pricing and items change by week, so we have to coordinate weekly with our sales organization. We’re working closely with the retailer to coordinate the next round of pricing and price tags, and we’ve collaborated with the agencies to upgrade the technology and equipment for increased visibility and communication.
What motivates you most in terms of the shopping experience?
Angulo: The possibilities and new opportunities, along with our ability to learn more about what and how we can create better experiences for the shopper and the retailers, given their capabilities and ability to partner and test. We’d like to provide improved brand and shopping experiences that may leverage new technology – make it easy, make it engaging, ultimately make shoppers want to come back, not only because we have great brands and products but because we have connected with them. In a world of so many brands, the goal is to keep our brands on the list and in the cart. And while the e-commerce space is absolutely growing, the in-store experience and sales still drives our business.