Frito-Lay CMO says marketers need a listen-first mentality to be successful
Frito-Lay CMO Jennifer Saenz says listening to consumers is a top priority if you want to build marketing experiences that drive engagement.
Jennifer Saenz began her career as an intern with Frito-Lay more than 12 years ago. She worked her way through the ranks, and in March of 2016, she was named CMO.
“The role is pretty comprehensive. It oversees all of our advertising and media across all of our businesses,” says Saenz. “Our innovation pipeline, consumer insights and category management. And then an in-house creative agency and programmatic media desk — so it’s pretty much soup-to-nuts marketing.”
Saenz says her career trajectory within the company from intern to CMO was an exciting arc, and, because of it, she is able to tell her team that it often feels as though she has held every single role within the brand’s marketing organization.
“What has been very interesting is how the media landscape and marketing approach has evolved over time,” says Saenz.
The CMO says the brand has become much more sophisticated during the 12 years she’s been with the company, while at the same time, the amount of available consumer behavior data — and how the brand engages with consumers — is radically different.
“There was no smartphone when I started, and now that’s pretty much what we think about and talk about all day, every day,” says Saenz, “We didn’t have designers and data scientists and other things — we had a fairly similar background for a lot of our folks — your typical CPG marketer background.”
Saenz says she has witnessed a very large evolution in terms of focus and the skill sets needed for both internal staff and agency partners.
“I think today we’re really a much more diverse group of individuals and a much more diverse group of experiences because of that massive change in the marketplace.”
It’s a very large evolution in terms of the focus, as well as the skill set that the team needs to think about and that our agency teams need to develop.”