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General Mills’ Carter Jensen on Using D2C for CPG Incubator BrandsGeneral Mills has been around for nearly 100 years, and the food giant has been innovating all along the way. Carter Jensen is the Global Lead for Direct to Consumer at General Mills. His team works with the company’s incubator program, focused on emerging brands, using digital strategies to gain insights and test theories to bring new products to life at General Mills.
With his start-up background, Jensen is used to using every tool at his disposal to glean information that can help propel a brand forward. At General Mills, that includes launching storefronts in 5-10 days, working with founders to validate product market fit, naming, messaging and more. While the site may sell product, the real reward is the data captured from the site. (5:00)
“When you own the rails and direct to consumer, we’re able to get every piece of data you could imagine,” Jensen said. That includes where the consumer is coming from, the journey they take through the site, whether they are filling their carts and then coming back for more. Information gathered on how the product is received is helpful across channels as the product is coming to market.
Jensen is keen to test other channels as well, including social media. Capturing the attention of digitally native consumers demands agility and a concerted effort to reduce friction. (10:00) One recent experiment was a live stream cooking demonstration for Pillsbury linking the viewing experience to a shopping experience. (14:18) It was simulcast on Instagram and TikTok, incorporating live content, audience feedback and the ability to purchase items in the recipe. It’s the kind of innovation that keeps the wheels turning for Jensen and make him excited for the future.
Jensen says COVID pushed that innovation, particularly in the CPG industry. “I think the biggest thing we have to acknowledge is just the vast amount of incredible consumer experiences that everyone has created over the past two years,” said Jensen. “How do we position our products best to take advantage of that?”
That is exactly what will drive Carter Jensen and his team for General Mills. Listen to the entire conversation here, or on any of your favorite podcast streaming platforms.
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