- The Digital Shelf
- Our PXM Platform
- Why Salsify
- Request a Demo
- Try Salsify
Your brand is discovered, researched, and bought along a non-linear, digitally-influenced shopping journey. Take control of each touchpoint.
An alliance of brands and retailers committed to creating the experiences customers deserve across the digital shelf.
A community of manufacturing executives sharing presentations, interviews, and strategies on how to win on the digital shelf.
An annual gathering focused exclusively on commerce opportunities for brand manufacturers. Learn how to drive growth for your business.
Drive performance on the digital shelf with product content management, activation, engagement, and ongoing optimization.
Manage your product information and optimize it for success across every channel, without sacrificing security or control.
Deliver above-the-fold and below-the-fold rich content that expresses the value of your brand and improves conversion.
Send the right content to every touchpoint, continually optimized to fit the changing requirements of each channel.
Manage and syndicate all your product data, both operational data and marketing content, in one platform.
Create and send below-the-fold product details to your key retailers, quickly and at scale across your product catalog.
Reach shoppers on retailers product pages at the point of purchase
Sell on social media platforms, like Instagram and Google Shopping, and build emotional connections with shoppers where they browse.
A flexible, agile, and rapidly adaptable system that allows brands to manage complexity and overcome organizational barriers.
A secure cloud-based, multi-tenant software-as-a-service that enables dynamic scaling and rapid deployments.
A partner to support your business goals, increase adoption across your team, and help you achieve success faster.
A company dedicated to your success and built to empower brands to win on the digital shelf.
Explore our library of resources to grow your business across the digital shelf.
Reach our experts to get the answers and help you need.
Peter: Welcome to unpacking the digital shelf where we explore brand manufacturing in the digital age. Hey everyone this is Peter Crosby from the digital shelf Institute with a very special version of our weekly hot topics podcast. We've imported a very big brain today, John Carroll, who had a 30 year career at Coca-Cola, which culminated in his role as VP and general manager of e-commerce. So he's lived on the front lines of this business transformation and John's now sharing that knowledge through his own consultancy. And with 2020 upon us, I wanted you to hear his perspective on what are the battles to fight and win on the digital shelf in 2020. So, John is joining us from his home office in Atlanta. Hey John Carroll. Thank you so much for joining us.
John: Peter it’s my pleasure. Thanks very much and congratulations on your podcast. You're doing a wonderful job and it's great to hear all the great guests and you and Rob riff on fun things and relevant things from a business perspective.
Peter: Oh my gosh, the check is on its way. No, I really appreciate it. Well as you know, John, we've worked together both while you were at, at Coca Cola and since, and you are one of the inspirations for, for how we think about the digital shelf. So to have you here on the podcast is a real honor and a delight. So let's dig in.
Peter: So I did, I mentioned a little bit about your background, but it's much more extensive than that and I thought it would be great for the listeners to hear a little bit about, you know, how you intersect with CPG and retail, you know, what are the, what are the things that you've, even now in your consultancy, learned so far. Just give us a little capsule of, of your point of view on all this.
John: Yeah, fantastic. So I've been around retail my whole life, Peter. Retail and brands. My dad was a grand union, ShopRite store manager. My first job was bagging groceries at public supermarkets in Miami, Florida.
Peter: Oh my God.
John: Yeah. I spent my whole career in college around retail, both grocery retail and department store retail. And then when I graduated school, I went to work for Proctor and Gamble and then with Coca Cola. So well over 30 years of experience in the CPG industry around brands and around retail. And what I will tell you is the last five years of my career were the fastest pace. It is absolutely a retail revolution. The biggest retail revolution, I'm not exaggerating here based on history, since the beginning of retail, since people started trading and bartering things. We're in a very exciting time.
John: So was able to do some great things at P and G, but especially Coke. I was on the sales side, the brand side, the operations side, the strategy side, and then the last several years I led our eCommerce team at Coke North America. Coke is a very special place. It was a wonderful career, fantastic people, smart people. The bottling system is amazing. It's the envy of the CPG community. You can make things happen very quickly with the great bottling community that the cocoa system has. So great career. I retired in March and I'm doing three things. I started a small consulting business, creative commerce solutions. And Peter, as you said when I'm working on is really merging, helping merge the gap between the physical and the digital worlds, especially with the big and mid size CPG companies, but also the startups.
John: And the analogy that I would use is the big CPG companies speak French, the startups speak Chinese. So I kind of get in the middle and help translate and help develop those strategies and, and really think about what's next and how we think about things differently based on consumers changing behavior and also what retailers and brands are doing and react to that.
Peter: Yeah, you know, and on the show, you know, we talk a lot about, Oh, the legacy brands over here and the DTC brands here. And you're now having conversations with both of them. Like, what is your takeaway from, you know, what are, what are the things they need to learn from each other? What do you, where do you see that kind of path of those, of those businesses going?
John: Yeah. You know, I think CPG has been much maligned over the past several years. And the CPG business is a wonderful business. Whether you work for a Mondolez, a Coca-Cola, a Proctor and gamble, or J and J. It's, it's really all about scale. There's great processes in place, you have fantastic budgets for the most part, and it's all about making money. So what CPG is really good at is the process aspect. And if you think about things like category management, brand planning, customer planning, trade spend planning, all these great processes that the CPG companies and the retailers have worked on for the past several decades, that's all really great. And that's a big strength of CPG. A lot of people ask me earlier in career, should I stay with a CPG company? Should I go with a CPG company? You know, shouldn't I be with a startup? And I say, no, I mean, you can go with a startup, but CPG is a great place to be. It's, it's an, it's still a wonderful place to be.
John: And I think there's got to be some changes. To your point in order to get to that next level from a CPG perspective. You know, I think the other side of CPG that we're all struggling with is that it, it, it's not very fast. Yes, they look ahead. But they're not always great at executing on strategies that are developed. You get those internal politics, you know, you've got to do a lot of influencing at CPG. And I'll tell you, Peter, what I, what I've been fascinated with as I've gotten outside of Coca Cola and started working with other companies is there's a lot of people in those companies that can say no and not too many people that can say yes. And I think that's kind of the opposite of what I've learned from the startups. You know, startups are all about great ideas.
John: They're all about speed. They're all about things happening and making things happening in the marketplace. And you know, you've got this great digital landscape now that if you launch, or you're introducing a brand, you don't need to get it into 20,000 stores. You couldn't do, to your point, a direct to consumer model. So all these fantastic ideas are really coming to life. What I'm and what I'm finding is I think there's a balance there. There's a balance between, you know, the wisdom of CPG and all this fantastic energy that we're seeing from the startup companies and ability to execute from the startup companies. And how do you bring those two things together? You know, one of my favorite quotes is the older I am, the younger I learned from, Robert Fort frost. Maybe the first time you ever had a Robert Frost quote on
Peter: Yes, we can Mark that down in the achievement calendar for sure.
John: Yeah. But you know, I'm a big believer in like, I've seen it so many examples now of two, those two things coming together, the wisdom of CPG and the speed and the execution and passion of startups. And I think that's the formula of the future as the consumer changes.
Peter: Yeah. I'm really super interested in digging in a little bit on this idea that that there are tons of people at the sort of the traditional CPG companies who can say no and not very many who can say yes. And I'd love to talk a little bit about, because I would imagine the people listening to this podcast, if they're, because they're listening, they're interested in what's happening on the digital shelf and therefore probably are interested in making that come true and in being a leader at it. So I'm hopeful that these are people that are listening to us that either are able to say yes or really want to be the ones who can say yes. So I'd love to dig in a little bit on when you find those individuals who are willing to be the yes-sayers, what do, is it the qualities of them as a human being? Is it their role? Is it, you know, what is it and how do those yes-sayers convinced the no’s. Like how does that work inside of a company like a Coca Cola or a P? And? G?
John: Yeah, I think it's a combination of, of, of everything. But you know, what I learned early in my career with P and G and Coca-Cola is you can have a really good idea, but you better be able to sell that idea and influence, and you better be able to sell that idea from a fact-based perspective. So it's really the most successful CPG people that I've seen and also retail people that I've seen are the people that have the ability to network, but also the people that have the ability influence.
John: So it's not just about networking and meeting people and getting your name out there and having lunch with people. It's also about talking about the business and talking about great ideas and then bringing those great ideas to life together. And you know, it's, it's, it's about, it's really about connection, but it's connection and brainstorming and thinking and bringing things life and what I would say in CPG and retail in a multifunctional way. You know, this idea of pillars and silos, the marketing arm versus the sales department versus the finance department versus supply chain. Those are the things that need to be knocked down. And I think a lot of the more advanced CPG companies are beginning to do that because they're learning for these more from these more agile digitally native brands and startups.
Peter: Yeah. Cause I think as you described that process and having been at a larger company but nothing compared to what you're talking about and CPG, but for a tech company it'd be at, there's a difference between being at a 50 person tech company and a 2000 person tech company in the sort of the cross functional conversations and the meetings and everything that needs to happen. It tends to slow things down. So when you describe that to me and I think in my head about DTC, direct to consumer companies, I'm thinking they're making a decision with six people in a room and going forward through a small channel. Like in your mind, is there a way for those cross functional things to happen but in a test and learn environment in the larger CPGs. Are they, are they, is that part of what you're talking about is that you need to build those muscles to be able to do things at a different scale to be able to move faster? Or you know, if you have some examples in your career of where you able to kind of make that work that would be helpful.
John: I think. Yeah, I think, I think the secret to this is small agile, multifunctional teams. And it's no secret. And I think if you talk to anybody from CPG, they'll all have examples. And I think the best example that I can think about from my career one of my favorite examples was launching Dasani water. I was the commercial lead back in 1999 when we launched Dasani water. The Coca Cola company in North America did not have a bottle of water at that time. But saw the writing on the wall that the consumer was changing and shifting and looking to live healthier lifestyles and bottled water was a big part of that. So we, we, we developed a, which was very unusual at the time for, for Coke. We developed a small, what I would call skunk team of people that had sales and commercial background, brand background, supply chain background. And we got together, it was very unlike Coke like at the time, not so much now, but we got together and we created a brand within a 12 month period, which was really kind of unheard of at the time of time from a CPG perspective.
John: Now that's not unheard of anymore based on digitally native brands and the way that we think about the business now. But it's really about working together multi functionally and being able to make empowered decisions on those teams. One of the things that I find interesting, and I applaud the industry, is setting up these e-commerce teams, both at retail, if you're a larger small retailer, but also in the CPG companies and they're putting really smart, talented people in these roles. However, they're not always empowered to make the decisions and they don't always have the greatest budgets. So they're doing a lot of influencing. So yes, test and learn is important. I think what CPG needs to figure out is how do you scale, test and learn. And how do you look ahead to find out and experiment with what are the right things based on where the consumers are going.
John: And I could talk a little bit about some things that I think are really cool from a platform and from a digital perspective in a few minutes that I think we should all be thinking about. It's really about following the consumer. So great, great point that we've put together these e-commerce teams. I think there's an opportunity to empower those teams. And I also think there's an opportunity to get more information out on different things that brand managers and media people and supply chain people can be doing based on what's happening from a consumer perspective and an a technology standpoint.
Peter: Yeah. Talk to me a little bit about what you're seeing. You know there's click and collect, there's all these ways that, that grocery and CPG is changing to essentially just like in digital, put the consumer in charge of their experience. How do they want ,where and how do they want to encounter the product? How do they discover it, research it, how do they buy it and then how do they actually use it and pick it up and talk to me a little bit about how you think of that in the context of the digital shelf.
John: Yeah, so you know, we've all heard about CPG companies and retailers thinking more about direct to consumer. Amazon, e-com friendly packaging is obviously a big strategic opportunity for CPG companies. Micro fulfillment. And then BOPIAs, or BOPIES. Whatever the acronym is for click and collect. Now, I don't know if that one's going to be around by the end of the decade. I'm not sure that one is going to survive. I'd like to just call it click and collect. To your point, those are all things that I think the industry is working on and actually doing a pretty good job of. I think we're, we're going to get to the point that we have to think about scaling those things. The things that I think that are underneath that we really need to have an eye towards are all based on where the consumer is going and how the consumer is being enabled by technology.
John: And the first thing that I think we all need to do a better job of doing is understanding the new consumer path to purchase work, digital path to purchase. And I'll use another Coca-Cola example. Robert Woodruff was the CEO and president of Coke-Cola for, for many, many years. And back in the 20s, he used use a term called an arm's reach of desire within an arm's reach of desire. So that meant that the Coca Cola, Coca Cola should be and ice Coca-Cola, should be everywhere that consumers are. So not just stores and restaurants but barbershops, hardware stores, and at the high school game. So that's an example of really understanding how to get your brand to where the consumer is and have having that consumer have the experience of the brand at an arms race, the desire. I think what we need to do from a, from a CPG and retail perspective is understand that consumers are really changing in the way they shop.
John: You know, it's not the Wednesday or Thursday or Sunday circular anymore and handwriting the list and then going into the store and shopping off the end cap and you know, getting some impulse items on the way out the door. It's changing dramatically. It's digitally enabled. And even from a food and beverage perspective, Peter, and you know this, you know, some studies are saying that over 60% of food and beverage purchases are influenced digitally and I'm not so sure we really have a good understanding of how that path to purchase works. I think we have a pretty good understanding of who people are online, but I'm not sure we're doing a great job of the online to the physical experience and bringing those two things together. So to me, I think the first thing that we need to do to really get to that next level and catch, catch up with the consumer and stay ahead of the consumer and offer them what they want satisfy them, is to get a better understanding of that digital path to purchase.
Peter: Yeah, and to dig in on that a little bit, these companies that you're talking to, to help them through this process, like how does that conversation go and what are the kinds of things that you're asking them to think about to be able to make that mind shift?
John: Well, what's interesting is that some of the companies that I'm working with, especially on the startup side, are really companies that are taking advantage of consumer behavior change. And so a good example of that is a company called E-meals. So E-meals is a meal solution app. So you can go in and you can sign up, you can sign up for and select between 15 different types of meal plans, everything from Keto, which I'm doing right now, to low-fat to family friendly. You choose different two different meal plans and then each week you're getting served up seven to 10 recipes. So it's providing a solution for a busy family. But what's really interesting here is it takes it to the next level. Those recipes are now shoppable, so you've got the convenience of online grocery coming directly to you. So it's, it's really recognizing that consumers want convenience, they want technology to help them with convenience and speed and then giving them some inspiration to help satisfy their families and make life a lot happier and using that technology and, and, and not having to always go to the grocery store for a pickup perspective.
Peter: Okay. I have two questions here. One, are you actually measuring your food in the Keto plan? And then two more importantly, so is E-meals working with major grocery chains to, to activate the, those plans into actual shopping lists and all that. Tell me a little bit about that.
John: Yeah, they’re, they're working with most of the big online grocery chains including Instacart and Ship, which is basically covering everything. And, and you know, from a marketing perspective, again, this is an opportunity for a marketer to think about, okay, maybe not spending as much money as store level because shopping patterns are down at store level. Where do I invest my trade spend, where I invest my marketing funds? This is an opportunity to naturally integrate a brand into a recipe. So they are working with retailers they're also beginning to work with big CPG brands and bringing those things together. And the cool thing about this is we've got data to really understand how that's working and what the impact is to the consumer.
Peter: That's what's so interesting about it being a technology platform is that you can get that immediate feedback and particularly at the scale of their app, they, I'm sure they're watching that every second and figuring out how to change the experience. What else consumers are looking for that. That must be so exciting to start to see that signal come in.
John: It's, it's really exciting. And you know, the other ones that I think we have to really be thinking about are Instacart and Shipt. Again, there's a lot of conversation about Instacart and Shipt from a retail perspective while you're giving, giving up the last experience to the consumer. And you should be doing this on your own. Let's face it Instacart and Shipt are successful because they're providing a great service to the consumer. And it's all about convenience. And what I hear a lot in the industry right now about Instacart and Shipt is, well, we can't use trade spend money for Instacart or Shipt. We can't use brand money for Instacart and Shipt. That's an example of, go back to the discussion of how the consumer is behaving from a path to purchase perspective. We need to think differently about my budget versus your budget, trade stand versus media versus brand budgets, and think about the consumer because Instacart and Shipt are here to say they're, they're wildly successful and they're offering one of the top utilities to a consumer, which is convenience and speed. So that's an example I think of, of doing things a little bit differently from a thinking perspective inside those CPG and retail walls.
Peter: It's so funny you mentioned that because the Digital Shelf Institute, in addition to doing this podcast and other content, we also are creating an invite only executive forum where you know, executives such as you would have been at Coca Cola and others like that where and across industries we're just bringing them into small conversations, small rooms to talk about big issues. And we went out and we surveyed 13 VPs of eCommerce and other titles, you know, that are dealing with this issue and on a bunch of different topics. And the number one topic they talked about was figuring out trade versus media spend. And so that we have a an event in March that we're having, which is focused on that with some great speakers. Because that's number one on their, on their agenda, which is figuring out how do you, cause when you mentioned that well you should divert some money from what you're doing at brick and mortar over to maybe something like an E-meals. Are those two silos that need to agree to do that or is that often one or tell me a little bit about how that works.
John: Yeah, I think it's one of the most important questions that we're going to face as an industry. And you know, the market, everybody has a marketing mixed model, especially from a consumer products, good company. Everybody's got a model and everybody plugs data into the model. And I think the model and the silos need to change. And again, I go back to understanding the consumer and understanding how they're changing from a path to purchase standpoint. And one of the things I think is a big challenge right now is you've got the media teams and the brand teams working on the top of the funnel. So how many eyeballs, how many impressions, what's my CPM? And then you've got the sales teams and the e-com teams working on the bottom funnel, which is all about conversions and clicks and you've got some really great things from a media perspective at the top of the funnel and really great interesting things that are evolving at the bottom of the funnel.
John: But the problem is nobody is looking at the marketing mix model as a funnel. They're looking at it separately. Well this is what I do top and this is what I do at bottom. And I think that is the real challenge for each one of us from, from a leadership perspective and a thinking perspective on the media side, on the brand side, on the sales side and on the retail side to think about how we bring the funnel together and how do we link the funnel. And there are ways to do it. And again, there are platforms like Instacart, like Shipt, like E-meals, a great company like Go Puff, which is a very fresh and new retailer that has the ability to do these things. And I think that's, that's what we've got to do is to come together as a, as a team. And then once we do that, understand that, and we think about it from a consumer's perspective, then I think the budgets are easy. Let's, let's, let's, there's the pot of money, here's the new model. Now how do we spend that model?
Peter: So start with the model, yeah?
John: Exactly. To me that would be a very liberating exercise for us as an industry.
Peter: And what do you find are the resistances or, or uncertainties or fears that you need to overcome to get to that single model? What is that conversation like?
John: You know, I think it's, we're still specialists in this industry. So you've got media people that have been in media for many, many years long careers, really experienced really awesome in what they do. You've got sales people and marketing people at been great at what they've done. And they've got these, as I mentioned earlier, at these fantastic processes that have worked for a long time. So I think number one, it's knowledge and it's a sharing of knowledge. And then number two, it goes back to understanding where the consumer is more than where the consumer is going. And then number three, it's about putting a great framework together and process together and then figuring out who are the right people to be working with. You know, who you know, is it the Go Puffs, the E-meals, the Instacarts, the Shipts of the world. What role do the big media companies play? What role does direct to consumer play? And to me that's a really important part of what we need to do from planning and thinking standpoint going at.
Peter: Yeah, I know I've talked to some executives that, that talk about that and tell me if you agree with this or not. That part of that shift almost essentially requires the changing of incentives for people across that funnel that they have to be compensated based on not just the things they're responsible for top foot, you know? Do you feel like that's an important conversation to have as well?
John: I do. I think, you know, that's, that's classic. You know, you've got to make sure that your incentives are right, but, but what, what I do know about CPG, both my experience at Coke and Procter and gamble and now working with other CPG companies, people really care about what they're doing and care about the business. So I think success also plays a big role in this. And you know, thinking about coming to life with the consumers, with a brand in a new and inspiring way and seeing the success and a result of the result of great sales or market share gains or buzz in the community from an influencer perspective or PR perspective. To me, I think success is, is really an important part of what this will help drive from a future state standpoint.
Peter: And that's one of the things that I think you among a bunch of things that you are so successful at is that you are a great storyteller. And so I can imagine that one of the things you took on a Coke and tell me if this is true, is to be able to bring to life those successes inside the organization to continually inspire. The, the shift and the, and the excitement that would lead people to put their energy towards the projects you believed in. Is that, is that fair to say?
John: Yeah, I mean, I guess it's fair to say. Yeah. And thank you for saying that. And I would say is I had the privilege of working with really smart people, whether they were on the technical end or the marketing end or the strategy end. And you know, these people have great ideas and they want to express those ideas. You know, again, there's a lot of discussion if you look at the analysts, well CPG, you know, they don't have any new ideas and they're not good ideas. There's plenty of really good ideas at CPG. It just a matter of execution. And to your point, we've got to fix the processes that get those good ideas going. But we also need to take responsibility as executives and leaders ourselves to tell the right story, a fact-based story, that's grounded in consumer retail, P and L, the 360 approach to this. And, and to me that's the most important thing. Now what we have to be careful about Peter, a big caution here is that we tend to do over analysis paralysis. And that's another thing that I've learned from the startups there. They're a little bit too fast to execute. Sometimes there are opportunities to take a step back and think it through a little bit more. But you've got CPG that just needs to look at every single number and return on investment. So we've got to get back to be faster and we know ROI at the end of the day is important. That's the name of the game. It's about making money. But I think we need to have some more flexibility and I think we've got to take a step ahead and not always rely on them on every single number and getting down to every single spreadsheet to make a decision.
Peter: So if you were a insane at this enough at this point to like decide to step back in as a head of eCommerce or something at, at a big CPG do you, is there something that you would take from that DTC lesson of how to cut down on some of the analysis and tend toward motion? Is there, is there some way that you would go in and say, oh, this is what I would maybe change about what I did in the past or what I would look for to try and, and get to speed?
John: Yeah. Again, I think empowerment and making decisions and yes, and budgets, it doesn't have to be all the budgets that you think you need, but even if it's half the budget to make things happen, you can still make things happen. So I think sometimes from a CPG perspective, they need to tick off every single thing on the checklist that you need to launch a brand. And what I've learned from the startups, they prioritize those things. So they're making fast decisions and then what they're doing is like, Hey, I probably don't need to have this portion of the digital campaign, but this portion is just as good or better and I'm going to invest more money here. So I think it's more from a prioritization perspective. And again, what I, what I would do and from an eCommerce perspective is I think that the media teams, the brand teams, the sales teams, they all need to do a better job of working together. And I continue to see that, for me, e-commerce will be successful when there are no e-commerce teams, when it's just the way that we're doing business. I mean, that's just, it's just the way that we're going to do business in the future. So I think that's the, the eye that we need to have towards the future.
Peter: Yeah, it does seem to me that, you know, there's going to be another generation of leadership that's rising at all of these companies, just, just in a natural way. And it, and, and at least in, in some of the, and I'd love your thoughts on this, certainly to anyone listening to this podcast that's building their career in this. It does feel like these people that are figuring that out, that are helping to merge the funnel, that are are making the digital and physical come together through maybe through the own, through the, the category they own or the, the brand that they own have the potential to be the future CMOs and even CEOs of these organizations because they get the business model. Does that ring true to you? And what would you sort of say to somebody coming up in their career trying to try to kind of envision what that might look like?
John: Yeah, I, I 100% agree with what you're saying and it's, as I said, it's, it is a very exciting time to be within CPG and retail. So what I would say is there's that combination of early in career people that grew up with technology and understand technology, but there's also an opportunity to work with people that have been around CPG, that have that wisdom and understand how to work CPG internally, understand supply chain and finance and P and L, understand customers. And so that's the beauty of where we are from an industry perspective right now. How do you have those two people work together? And to me, there's advantages on both sides.
Peter: Yeah, I mean, I, you know, when I came over and started to work in this industry, digging into the complexity of what it takes to ideate, manufacture, get product to market, and then do all of this goodness where the consumer is everywhere. It's such a complex business. And I'm so impressed to you know, all the people that I've met with with Salsify, CPG customers and across the board are just the people figuring this out are the entrepreneurs. They are the people that can both, it to me, it's amazing to find the mindset, which is I can stomach and even get excited about all of the cross functional sort of blocking and tackling that needs to happen to get these things to come to life. But I also can have this like incredible passion for, for bringing products to life and watching consumers accept it. It's a really interesting mix. And not everyone has that. I think it's a rare, it's a rare ability.
John: It is. And I think it's going to happen naturally. And, and you know, you asked me for a few different predictions and I'll give you, in honor of the beginning of the decade and you can debate whether or not it's the beginning of the decade, right? 2020 or 2021. I consider 2020 the beginning of the decade. You know, I think, you know, by the end of this decade, if I think about the CPG executive of the future especially from a business development and a sales perspective, I think that's going to change dramatically. So the national account executive that's working with Walmart or Walgreens or, or any one of the big customers out there. So you know when I started the business it was all about negotiating across the desk with the buyer. I got a trade deal, I went in and negotiated that trade deal. We would argue about the price. Then we would argue about the execution with end caps and that's still going on and that's still happening.
John: Now you know what I see happening, my prediction for the end of the decade is that this, the sales executive of the future is really going to be about identifying high potential shoppers, high potential shoppers for their brand, people that love their brand and high potential shoppers for the retail platform. And then working together with the retailer to develop personalized offers and solutions targeted on the digital shelf and within media. By then we'll have a top and bottom of the funnel media strategy and framework that works together and offering them the right solutions and not just price based solutions can be occasion based solution needs based solutions, bundled in basket solutions. So back to your point, I think those skill sets are going to change. The skill set of the future is going to be a very strong sales slash marketing skillset that's going to be required from a future state perspective. Underpinned with all the important things of understanding how to make money from a financial perspective and understanding how to partner and influence and develop great relationships. But that would be my prediction. If, if my kids ever get into CPG and they get into this wonderful list industry in this career, I could see them doing that by the end of the decade.
Peter: Yeah. And that, I would imagine that means the training programs at CPG companies and across the board need to change, university programs should be rethinking ways how they, the sales and marketing teaching that they do. I mean, it really is a fundamental shift. It's fascinating, I think. Yeah, absolutely. Well, John, I can't let you go without making sure I get back to the one important question in this podcast, which is, are you actually measuring your food for your keto diet?
Peter: I’m doing the whole 30.
John: It's a really good question. So everybody does something, you know, beginning in January after the indulgences. I am and what I'm doing is, so I've been sticking with 30 to 50 net carbs a day, more towards the 30 to 40 range, which is harder to do then we all expect. Right. and what I'm doing with this though is I'm not going out and I'm going to get a couple of McDonald's big Macs and just taking the bun off. I'm not doing that. I'm really focused on being healthier. So eating the right types of vegetables, the Brussels sprouts and the broccoli and eating lean cuts of beef and fish. And I'll tell you it works for me. And you know, what works for you and keeps you healthy, healthy and happy is a good thing. So let's see how long it lasts, Peter.
Peter: Yeah. I know that the only thing I measure is I, I now I'm using a jigger for my gin rather than just pouring it. no, no I’m kidding, I'm actually doing a whole 30 dry the whole thing. And I can't wait till I emerge from it, but it really does. Anyway, we're off topic, but I think it's fascinating.
John: It is on top topic cause it's, yeah, about where consumers are going and changing and there are a lot of different apps and things that enable you with whole 30 and Keto out there. You can get a Keto plan on E-meals and, and, and other places too, so.
Peter: That's the interesting thing when you think about it. One of the things just on, on diet certainly that people struggle with is consistency and be able to sort of manage it and get the right food. And if you actually, if, if somebody makes that easier for me, where I know what I'm gonna get is going to be in my diet plan and I don't really have to think about it. And, but yet it can still happen through my traditional grocer that I think that's amazing is that it'll be very fascinating to watch that, that technology expand. That's really cool.
John: And that is executed through top of the funnel to bottom of the funnel marketing.
Peter: So it all comes back to the funnel. All that all comes back to the funnel. Well, John, I mean that's about as much savviness as I can take for one podcast. This has been such a pleasure. Thank you so much. And people can connect with you through your LinkedIn?
John: Yes, yes, correct. John Carroll on LinkedIn, creative commerce solutions and you can find me.
Peter: Yeah. And also if anyone listening to this podcast has any questions or comments, we have our own digital shelf Institute LinkedIn page and we certainly can help connect you up or feel free to tweet at us @windigitalshelf. John, thank you again and we'll talk to all of you next week and thanks for being part of our community.
John: Fantastic. Thank you very much. Peter.