Name: Melissa Lewis
Current Position: Manager, Shopper Insights
Company: Nestle Purina Petcare
Tenure with Current Company:  6 years
Years of Industry Experience:  11 years

Give us a brief history of your career.
I began my insights career at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri, as a Manager on the Shopper Insights team. There, I collaborated with multiple departments, including visual merchandising, retail execution, and product commercialization.

I then ventured to the supplier side, serving as Managing Director at Focus Pointe Global (now part of Schlesinger Research). I returned to the CPG world as an Insights Manager with Anheuser-Busch, where I supported multiple channels and retailers with shopper and category insights, including assortment and aisle flow recommendations.

Five years ago, I joined Nestle Purina, which had been a career goal of mine for some time. I currently oversee our foundational category and shopper insights work, partnering with sales, market development, and category field teams to share impactful insights that drive short- and long-term strategy.

Why are you excited to be part of the SIMA?
I was thrilled when I learned that SIMA was forming, because the industry needs an organization dedicated to the shopper. I am excited to learn from others and to help my organization continue to emphasize the importance of the shopper to our product, category, and retailer strategies.

What do you hope to accomplish with the SIMA board?
Selfishly, I hope to learn, learn, learn. There are such great minds on this board with so many years of combined experience. In terms of my contribution, I hope to help others in this field refine their shopper capabilities, embrace new thinking and approaches, and bring more of a focus to the shopper insights discipline.

What are you most proud of? (Career or professional or both)
Professionally, I am most proud of the connections and relationships I have made throughout my career. We all have the bottom-line focused achievements, which are critical; but just as important to me are the relationships I have fostered throughout my career. The insights world is such a small one – paths cross and re-cross, so I love that I have a network of passionate, collaborative, and wonderfully curious colleagues to tap into for expertise and guidance.

What is the most important thing that needs to be addressed in the Shopper Insights discipline going forward and why?
A challenge I continuously face is accounting for shoppers’ subconscious behavior – truly understanding why shoppers act and react as they do, and not taking stated responses at face value. We assign logical, rational reasons for our behavior, especially when it comes to why we buy, but including shoppers’ emotional, System 1 thinking into our strategies in an easy, actionable, understandable manner would be a huge step forward.