ABOUT RUSSELL AND HIS EXPERIENCE IN TRADE PROMOTION MANAGEMENT:
Russell was part of a unique team that led the Efficient Consumer Response efforts for Procter & Gamble in the early 90’s. He and the team worked collaboratively with strategic retailers focusing on the consumer/shopper needs while simultaneously driving efficiencies throughout the category and overall business. From this experience, he gained tremendous insights on various TPM programs, strategies and tactics utilized by various companies and the overall impact of their programs.
Russell believes that many companies treat marketing and trade as separate efforts and within different disciplines when it is critical that these are aligned with an overall brand strategy. Clarity of a brand’s value proposition and the methods to deliver that message to the end user determines the overall marketing mix (trade program). The goal is to build loyalty and increase consumption. With the migration of trade becoming one of the top expenses for most manufacturers over the years, it is not surprising to see companies add more resources for optimization and effectiveness. Typically, this is an indication that the current TPM program has a number of problems including being overly complex, difficult to manage, difficult to evaluate, guardrails and guidelines are not clear, and rewards and incentives are not balanced.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE BIGGEST MISTAKE YOU’VE MADE IN YOUR CAREER?
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. As a leader, you don’t always have to have all the answers. Welcome and accept personality diversity, as it can truly help everyone think outside the box.What was your first job and is there something you learned there that you still use in your work today? My first job was working in the oilfields of West Texas. It was very hard work in extreme conditions. I had the privilege of working alongside a variety of hard working people. I learned that hard work and having fun is not a disconnect—and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Respect is something a person chooses to give no matter what another person’s title, role or job. Respect is a gift.
WHAT NEW BUSINESS CONCEPTS HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT RECENTLY?
The ability to reach the consumer due to the merge of smart phones and social media will ultimately change the landscape as to how companies go about reaching their consumers. The technology will open the opportunities for companies to transmit information on a timely and convenient manner to encourage consumption or usage.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD LEADERS TAKE TO ENCOURAGE CREATIVE THINKING AND/OR CHANGE WITHIN AN ORGANIZATION?
Leaders must create a culture and environment that is open and conducive for change efforts. Simply changing roles and reallocating responsibilities won’t deliver change. Change cannot be forced but requires a clear process and diligence for transformation to occur.