NAME: Barbara Connors
CURRENT POSITION: Vice President, Strategy & Acceleration
COMPANY: 84.51°
TENURE WITH CURRENT COMPANY: 7 years
YEARS OF INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE:  14 Years

GIVE US A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOUR CAREER.

I have always had a passion for bridging analytics and storytelling to both create and influence strategy.  I first joined dunnhumbyUSA after getting my Master of Marketing Research because I was excited to work with #bigdata and apply analytics to industries I could relate to personally as a shopper.  I’ve since had the opportunity to build my career there and at 84.51° over the last 14 years.  Through a variety of consulting roles, I have partnered with both merchandisers and manufacturers across the home improvement, fashion and grocery retail industries to leverage insights to improve merchandising and marketing strategies.  I’ve also held several roles in solution development, leading innovation across shopper insights, media measurement and retail media solutions.  In my current role on Strategy & Acceleration, I lead long-range strategy, commercial solutions, and marketing for our Commercial Insights business, our thought leadership and industry engagement, and our merchandising-alt profit collaboration team.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST LEARNING EXPERIENCE OF YOUR CAREER?

The past 2.5 years have forced me, like many others, to re-evaluate how I work, partner with others, and show up for those around me.  As we’ve all navigated heavy times and significant disruption, we have been given the permission and imperative to engage others with greater vulnerability and grace.  As someone who works remotely full-time now, I have also had to evolve my approach to leading large teams and building new relationships virtually.  The learning journey around our evolving work landscape continues!

WHY YOU’RE EXCITED TO BE PART OF THE SIMA BOARD:

The last two years have taught us all to embrace disruption and lean into emerging needs and technologies at a faster pace.  This has created a new level of resilience, heightened collaboration across teams and functions, and elevated the role of shopper insights in shaping strategies.  If we are to capitalize on this new environment, we must learn new skills and evolve our approaches.  I am excited to join a community of leaders who are all committed to helping to propel our industry forward by meeting the new needs of today and preparing for the future.

WHAT ROLE DO YOU SEE THE SIMA PLAYING IN THE CPG AND OVERALL RETAIL INDUSTRY?

SIMA has an important role in helping to guide the industry as we all seek to take advantage of innovation and adapt to our new landscape.  We create a community where people come to be inspired by work and ideas of others and to acquire tangible skills, frameworks, and approaches to bring back to our own businesses.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE SHOPPER INSIGHTS DISCIPLINE GOING FORWARD?

The evolving retail landscape and technology are creating both new forms of data and new ways to access and action on it.  The most important skillset we need to unlock is the ability to harness it to create tangible results.  This will require us all to reshape how we approach insights creation and how we embed data and insights across organizations to drive macro strategies through to the most tactical executions.

HOW ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT 3-5 YEARS IN RETAIL?

Ecommerce expansion will continue to have a profound effect on retail over the next several years.  It is fundamentally changing how and when people shop and creating new ways for shoppers to engage with retailers and brands.  It is forcing the industry to expand definitions of “the store” and “the shelf” and blurring the lines between merchandising and marketing.  It is also creating an entirely new set of shopper insights for us to decode and respond to.  It’s a great time to be in shopper insights!