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How General Mills is Going Direct To Consumer with Carter Jensen, Global Lead for DTC

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🎧 On this episode of the DTC pod, we’re taking a trip down the cereal aisle with General Mills’ Global Lead for DTC Carter Jensen.

Building out the direct-to-consumer business framework for an $18 billion, 100-year-old company is no easy feat, but that is exactly what Carter was tasked with when starting at General Mills in 2020.

In this week’s episode, we’ll break down how the company’s DTC strategy has opened doors for new and exciting opportunities as well as how Carter and his team prioritize a “connected commerce journey” for General Mills' consumers to build brand equity.

‍The Takeaways 👇

🆕 The new (strategy) on the block

General Mills has been a supply chain powerhouse for more than a century with some of the most recognizable brands – Cheerios, Yoplait, Pillsbury, and so many more still dominating grocery store aisles everywhere. With decades of success in mass distribution sales, how does a DTC strategy fit in?

“What DTC enables is that it allows us to get products in consumers‘ hands quickly… It allows us to ship right to people’s homes. And now, not only do we have products in their hands, but we have all the first-party data around who they are so we can follow up with questions… Or get feedback on how they like the product.”

Using a more direct way to get products to consumers and receive feedback, Carter and his team can provide data that could inform company strategy with what consumers are liking or even wanting to see! (Have you seen their Stranger Things x Cinnamon Toast Crunch collab ? 👀 Talk about listening to the fans!)

🔑 Consumer connection is key

For the new General Mills keto brand, Ratio, an experience that provided added value to the consumer was prioritized for the website.

“We knew the keto consumer was looking for solutions [for the new diet they were taking on]… And so we wanted to build a system that could meet them where they are, online and looking for those solutions, and create a connected commerce experience [there].”

Consumers landing on the site are greeted with not only information on all of the Ratio products, but also learn more about the keto diet, keto “hacks”, and product locations – whether it's directly through the site or their favorite retailers.

However, what differentiates the General Mills DTC strategy from competitors, is that at the end of the day, achieving this connected commerce journey for the consumer is their largest driver.

“We don’t see DTC as being the next big sales channel. We see it as being a vital part of this [connected commerce] journey. The consumers of today are expecting that we deliver personalized value at every touch point and sometimes that requires you to own the rails for a few transactions.”

💰 What Carter would do with an extra $50K:

Carter is thinking BIG. 🚀

“I would use it to try to figure out like ‘What’s a new, kind of, crazy idea that we could take DTC without necessarily worrying too much about how profitable it’ll be, but just to deliver a new experience on behalf of one of [our] iconic brands.”  


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