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    Those Silos Ain’t Gonna Bust Themselves, with Diana Macia, Director of Global Omni-Commerce Capabilities at Kellanova

    Our 250th Episode, LIVE from the 2024 Digital Shelf Summit!


    Our transcripts are generated by AI. Please excuse any typos and if you have any specific questions please email info@digitalshelfinstitute.org.

    Peter Crosby (00:05):

    Hello everyone. Peter Crosby here with our first ever podcast with a live audience of humans from the Digital Shelf Summit in Nashville. Summit Tears Let the poor unfortunate souls. Yes, you pour unfortunate souls who couldn't be here live with us. Poor unfortunate souls. So sad. Anyway, we are so delighted to be here, Rob. Hi. Hi. So this is our 250th freaking episode. How does it feel? Can you believe

    Rob Gonzalez (00:52):

    It? Oh man. I love how far this whole community has come. It's insane. I remember when we started doing this thing, we thought, man, if more than just our mothers listen to the episode, it would just be an absolute, absolute success. And we're sitting in a room with hundreds of people. And last night I was meeting folks that were just right at the beginning of this journey with us. I was thinking about how eight years ago this e-commerce thing and Amazon was just like a niche worry in most companies, right? In most of the community here. Almost

    Peter Crosby (01:21):

    An annoying

    Rob Gonzalez (01:22):

    War. An annoying war. Yeah. No one wanted to spend money on it. The margins were terrible. And even though the growth was good, and I remember Patrick and Chip from Flywheel would have these hackathons in Seattle and some of the people that were in those rooms where literally dozens of us are getting together to try to figure it out are still here. And Andrea was just on the stage. I saw Eric Heller last night. I saw Chris Perry and his magnificent purple sport coat.

    Peter Crosby (01:46):

    It's a

    Rob Gonzalez (01:46):

    Signature. It's a signature. And it is just so great that the community has come this far where there's just hundreds of people working to deliver great experiences and win on the digital shelf and learn together and have fun. And it's just awesome that we've come this far.

    Peter Crosby (02:00):

    Well, let's get to a great example of the people, the humans that we are talking about. We have an outstanding guest today, and her title should give you a little bit of a glimpse as to what we want to talk about. Diana Mess is a director of global commerce capabilities at Kellanova, and that's right, omnicommerce. Her title hints at a massive and really necessary organizational shift that is required to drive the kind of a growth and efficiency needed across the entire business, not by channel or in store versus e-commerce. That's why I've titled this episode. Those silos ain't going to bust themselves. So Diana is here to share the journey the Kellanova has been on to ensure all their commerce boats are rowing in the right direction. So audience, please give a warm DSI Welcome to Diana Macia. Diana, thank you so much for being with us here today, live on stage. It's amazing to have you here. 

    Diana Macia (03:06):

    Thank you so much. What an honor. I feel like a celebrity today. 1st ever live podcast. This is amazing. Thank you.

    Peter Crosby (03:14):

    Well, yeah, we'll probably do it every year From now on, come back. So you have extensive e-commerce experience from p and g to Kimberly Clark and now Kellanova, which as I believe you put it, you're a global snacking powerhouse. We

    Diana Macia (03:29):


    Peter Crosby (03:30):

    I love that. I want a T-shirt. So you've seen the evolution that this industry has taken and in your role now you sit in a global commerce team, which is relatively new in the organization I think, right? Yes. And so why don't we start there and tell us about your role and what Omni means for your organization.

    Diana Macia (03:49):

    Absolutely. So I'll start with really sharing where my role sits in the organization. So I'm part of the global growth and marketing excellence organization, big title. But really we are leading the digital marketing transformation for the enterprise. So very exciting. And I came into this role almost two years ago and as you said, I was excited to have a new title, a very interesting title, and I was very curious to see what was going to find as I walk into the organization. To my good surprise, there were already changes happening in the organization from a structure standpoint. So even our North America team had restructured and created an omni commerce team for North America. So for the first time really breaking those silos and bringing e-commerce and shopper marketing together. So that was great. I come from a global perspective, I cannot drive that by myself, but having seen those changes in the organizations gave me a light of this can really happen.


    And let's define a little bit of omni really what that means. I would take it as a twofold. One is really bringing that more seamless shopping experience. So from a shopper perspective, how do we bring online and offline together? Traditionally we spend a lot of times in the organizations creating these big e-commerce teams and then the sales offline teams right here. So really now is how do we bring those two together? So that's our first approach in Omni. I think the other big part is how do we embed Omni into the broader organization and how we start thinking about commerce execution upstream. So think about a lot of the work that we've done is even bringing omni lens into our briefing process. So when we are briefing our agencies to create the experience plans, we are bringing already our shopper lens through it. So we are coming out now with plans that are fully integrated experience plans, meaning they're really accounting for every touch point and every channel that our brands are going to be lived through. So it's kind of bringing the shopper and the consumer to the center of this and seeing whatever going to experience our brands. Now we're connected, we're talking to each other, we're trying to have a more connected, not seamless. I don't want people doing, oh, we're going to copy paste or do the same but a connected experience. So those kind of the two lenses that we think about Omni at Kellanova.

    Peter Crosby (06:12):

    And where did the energy come for that amount of change? Not something that just sort of bubbles around in the bottom of the organization, I would imagine. I'm guessing there's huge executive

    Diana Macia (06:25):

    Buy into. Yeah, I think there was seeing that disconnect, that it's a ton of duplication of work, a lot of disconnect between the organizations and that's kind the driving energy to make an actual change, the structural change to bring those together.

    Rob Gonzalez (06:41):

    I just love that the company has done this for a long time. Brand manufacturers treated digital as a channel, as totally separate. I feel like the omni commerce omnichannel approach, it just sounds like it's the right way to do it. When you make an investment online, it's going to impact in stores. When you make an investment in stores, it's going to impact online. But your company has been doing business for quite a long time. What kind of friction do you come up against when you're trying to take the commerce philosophy and bring it through the rest of the organization? To Peter's question, how is that energy manifesting itself in terms of change management throughout the company?

    Diana Macia (07:26):

    I think it is been because we are going through a massive transformation. I think people are more open. Doesn't mean there's no mindset shifts that need to happen. But even the way I have approached this is I created a global commerce council. So what I did is I brought together all the leaders, regional leaders together in a room and create a community of people that we started to tackle this as a collective group. So we started really by thinking who are all those people? So not only e-comm, but not only Chopper, but all of the people that really touches us across the omni space. And then coming together with them and define what our agenda was going to be, what were the things that we were going to drive for the organization, the initiatives. So we brought together all the Strat plans that every region had identify what were the key areas where we could as a global team solve for.


    And so think about retail media being one content being another, one capability building huge. And we identify initiatives and the initiatives then we will tackle as a group whether we had regions that were leading already. So think about different levels of maturity in the different markets. So we have regions that were ready to lead because they have best practices or they had pilots, they are the ones bringing that thought leadership into that community. Or if we had real gaps, then we started piloting. And that's where I will partner and I have some of my partners in crime here in the room where we start partnering and building those capabilities together. So that's kind of the way we started really seeding this omni thinking throughout the organization by having all those regional leaders kind of paving the way to do that. I'll talk about one big initiative that we have and I love in the panel before us is Chelsea talking about capability building that is being the cornerstone of what we've been doing and the need of how do we move from having these little e-commerce subject matter experts in this room and everybody else has no idea what's happening, but everybody else is making decisions that are impacting this little team here.


    So whether it's a budget decision from the brand, whether it's a sales decision on word channels or do we have a location or not of products? So that was a huge need of how do we really increase the digital IQ of the organization. So we work on a commerce training certification. So we work with a digital learning platform, we curated a set of lessons and we have now a certification plan that we're rolling out globally. And when we think about the people that get trained, this is really to kind of create that common language because that's the first thing is how do we make sure that when we're in a room and we're talking to detail shelf or we're talking about redia, at least people understand the concepts. So that's the plan. It was really going after a cross-functional team and across multiple layers of the organization.


    So we're not talking about practitioners here, we're talking about really training our directors, senior directors in the market and sales organization to have them make them aware. So when they're making a decision about the decision or not, they understand the impact that has across the omnichannel space. So that was one of the big ones and I think that's helping, I guess to your question is do you find that roadblock, those people don't want to change? I think education is the key and the core to overcome that and I think we're achieving that through that program.

    Peter Crosby (11:14):

    So I think often with global teams there's often that little versus regional teams or local teams, it's in the middle that can speak to some of the tension that can arise of, so how do you set your agenda as a global lead and what is the mindset that you need to be able to provide the value that you want to, but without getting in the way, I don't know if

    Diana Macia (11:41):

    That's right. Absolutely, and I love that. As you said, I've been in three main companies in e-commerce and I think I flipped the switch at some point because we always have the vision and it depends on the company. PG being very global, as you probably guys know, it is like a top down type of organization, but as soon as you walk out of PG across all the other companies is very different. So coming with that vision of we're global, we're telling you what to do and we know best does not work anywhere else. So it really started with we need to take a bottoms up approach. And that's where when I said the teams like, Hey, what is your start plans? Tell me what your needs are. So my agenda is not the global agenda. My agenda is the needs of the global and the regional teams becomes our global agenda.


    Those are things that we want to solve for together. Again, I'm not telling them what to do. We're building and co-creating what's best practice look like. So we have a program called Omni Amps and amps, hopefully everybody understand the accurate but assortment, merchandising, pricing, promotion shelving. So we started rolling out that program. It is a training program, but what we did from a global perspective is I built 80% of the content and then it started really working with the regions to customize that 20% because every region is different. We have very different nuances, different type of retailers, different type of capabilities, even government issues. So when think about content, I cannot say the same thing in Latin America that I can say in Europe. So we then co-created with those teams was that extra 20% to help us customize that program. So when we rolling out that program in that region, people are very receptive because we're speaking their language and I'm not the one delivering it by the way. So I partnered with my regional leads and I empower them. You now you own this thing, I'm helping you to build the framework, the bottom part, and then they will be the ones rolling out. So even as you think about receptiveness of the market to that kind of content is well taken because it's not that global lady coming to talk to me is my peer that sits next to me providing that capability.

    Peter Crosby (14:01):

    So the focus of your role really is how to drive marketing capabilities to the next level. AI is going to be a big part of that. Yes. I'm saying that proudly, I'm not going to be shy about talking about AI because we've been hearing so much for your poor unfortunate souls out there. We've been hearing so much of real AI, sort of no hype AI already happening in this environment. So it's made me very, I'm just going to say AI is a big piece of that. So how are you paving the way for AI in your organization?

    Diana Macia (14:34):

    Yeah, I love, we have to talk ai, but I think of course, and everybody will say the same, AI is being part of the core capabilities of many companies for many years, especially when we think about machine learning and some of the other AI capabilities. What we're going to really paving the way here is more about part of generative ai. And I love it because a year ago I was at Shop Talk and somebody asked about that. It's like what do you guys think about AI for your company? I was like, not going to happen.


    Legal is not going to allow it. But we have come a long way and now what we are doing and it's great, we have created at our Kellanova, we have our AI council and our AI council is a cross-functional team and we have legal, we have it, we have data governance, we have security, and they would approve use cases. So what I've done is looking at all our initiatives that we have in the global agenda and identifying the areas where we have gaps. So really aligning a use case with a real business need. And we have come up with what capabilities can help us solve for that. Of course big areas, our content and copy and imagery is kind of the big ones, which still kind of low risk but high value. And we actually present our use case. We tell them what the situation is, how is what solution we're proposing technologies.


    We do a lot of due diligence and understanding what is especially the data exchange that we have. I think that's the key part in this when it's open AI sources or not is how we're treating our data and we provide that to the council and they do all the check and balances for us, which is great. I don't want to sign up my head for that. So they do go investigate, figure out, ask a ton of questions. But what that's doing is really accelerating the process of how NOVA is moving to that space because now the council has been able to provide guardrails. So now we have AR marketing guardrails. So the next team that comes to have some new use cases, now we have a baseline of what are the things I need to watch out for? What are the things that do's and don's from each of the areas of capabilities. So we're moving faster into the space, this is great. And now we have use cases that have been approved. And one of the things we try to make sure is for example, we work something with North America, can we make sure that these capabilities are enabled for global? So instead of every region or every team going after the same thing, now we have use cases, we have a proven technology and an approved use case by the AI council and that helped us move faster and really unlocking the AI piece.

    Rob Gonzalez (17:19):

    Now with ai, you all have some of the most recognizable brands in the world and it's taken many decades to build brand equity. And I can imagine the marketers want to have kind of more control over the descriptions and over how the brand has shown everywhere on the digital shelf and everywhere on the physical shelf. And so when you're running these experiments, when the AI council gets together and they green light something around generative ai, how do you find the balance between human creativity and traditional brand building and traditional content development and stuff the computer spits out because it's risky. We talked to some brands that have just flat out said, no AI right now they're not doing it. It's just like a flat band throughout the company. But you all are moving forward. So where's that balance between the human and the machine in protecting the brand and making sure that you move forward with it?

    Diana Macia (18:13):

    So I think first of all, we have already said very good processes of how we kind of run creative as an example. So what we're trying to do is really bring in AI to enhance some of those processes. So when we have a lot of manual tasks or low value added tasks like creating a ton of copy for 800 items as an example, can we move that process faster? But what we do make sure is we have human touch points throughout that process. So starting for the beginning is like what is you inputting before you can create a piece of copy. We are already talking about inputting everything that we know from our brands into that system. So it's not going to spit out something crazy. But then even after the fact now we have copy, it will go through our process of legal approval as well.


    So that's an example. So we are enhancing this piece of the process, but we still keep our human touch at the beginning, at the end when we talk about imagery, and you'll see it on LinkedIn soon, but we're looking about some imagery and if it's something very specific to a brand, we are going to a step to probably train a model. So we are giving a lot of the brand guardrails. We are providing creative inputs into some of the models to say this is the look and feel and the voice of our brand. So whatever output you create, it has to align with the voice of our brand. So absolutely we are going to make sure that we keep our brand identity, our brand fundamentals, what is the essential of the brand, but we are trying to leverage AI to make us faster, more efficient. So it is really enhancing the process versus anything else.

    Peter Crosby (19:56):

    So Diana, I think to sort of close out here yesterday I described our audience, our people here and then the people listening at home or on their treadmills or whatever that they need to be the educators, the cheerleaders, sometimes even the bullies of the rest of the organization to make sure that they're set up for success in both a digital first and an omni organization. I believe many of our folks are fighting for this kind of merging of things so that they know their piece of business is going to be more successful. And also I would imagine it gets to a place where the rest of the organization starts to understand the true impact of digital across the entire success of the business. And so I'm wondering if you have any advice for them as we close out for if you are trying to be the tail that wags the dog of Omni, what are the ways in which you've seen your role be able to be to come to life and then to be increasingly more accepted within the

    Diana Macia (21:09):

    Organization? Absolutely. I think you need to build your thrive like your community. And if you think about it, we talk about the commerce organization in the global team is me. So what I build is my thrive and my people and rebuilding that community globally of people that are supportive, the people that believe the same just like this, this is an amazing community, is how do you think about this in your enterprise environment? Who are those people that are going to be helping you spread the word not you cannot be the one soldier, right? You need a little bit of an army. And I think that's where I trust a lot with our partners. I have a lot of IT partners actually today in the room. They're amazing partner for us. And then of course in the regions, that's a big thing. I think that's one, build your community, you can be doing this alone and it is beyond only e-commerce, but how do you make other people believers and supportive?


    Because think about we're building capability and a lot of these capabilities will touch much more than just e-commerce or omni, right? You could go to the brand. So really thinking of that. And I think that the second part is just building the stories. And I know my boss and my reporter to our chief growth officer, we have to be able to tell the story. What are the numbers and what are the real numbers that we're driving? Because how are we implemented this beautiful capability in fine markets? What does that even mean? Is it saving us money? Is it making us more profitable? And we spend a good amount of time on trying to track success criteria At the beginning it's like, great, if we implement this, what's going to be that end result that we're going to track and how are we going to track it and make sure we have our data partners to help us track.


    So we are enhancing our detail shelf. That's amazing. What is that doing? Is it driving more conversion? Is it driving more sales? Is it at least improving our search ranking? So the success criteria, it's important. We need to measure and we need to have a storytelling. We need to show those numbers because that's the only way others in the organization are going to rally behind you because you're going to say, I'm doing great. We train 200 people, that's not enough. We need to show that there real value to their organization and what are the numbers they care for? Of course, sales market share, whatever, speak their language. We can now be in a little word of yes, I improve our content health. What does that mean for people in the business saying, is it dollars? Is it market share? What is it? Love that.

    Peter Crosby (23:51):

    Yeah, it takes such a combination I would imagine, of fortitude, patience, and data to keep making the case continuously to expand the impact you can have in the organization. And I just want to thank you so much, Diana, for coming on the podcast. Absolutely. The 250th live in Nashville. We're really grateful that you took the time to be with us and share your experience. Thank you so much.

    Diana Macia (24:14):

    Thank you. A pleasure. Thank you.

    Peter Crosby (24:17):

    Alright, so as I close out every episode, I want to thank you. I want thank you. Thank you all

    Peter Crosby (24:25):

    For being part of our Community.