The Broad College MBA students welcomed Jennifer Holahan (MBA marketing ’05), senior director, shopper and category insights to activation, at Pfizer Consumer Health. Holahan spoke with the class as part of the Pung Speaker Series.
Holahan discussed the concept of an ever-changing marketplace during the presentation. The marketplace is noticing a decrease in traffic as consumers are primarily shopping online or visiting limited retailers in search of specific items.
With that said, retailers are fighting against each other to drive consumers to come into their stores. A few ways they are doing this is by expanding services provided in-store and entering into partnerships with other business. Due to this concept, Holahan explained the expansion of the four marketing P’s.
“The four P’s that we once knew; product, price, place and promotion, have now expanded as the market continues to change,” Holahan said. “We now have the 7 P’s; product, price, place, promotion, people, purpose and personalization.”
Holahan continued with the three change drivers of the marketplace. The first was the changing of consumer mindsets and behaviors. She explained how consumers are choosing to simplify their lives and retailers have to respond quickly in order to adapt.
Retailers have begun simplifying their consumers’ experiences as well as limiting the number of distractions in order to increase their traffic, but the number one thing consumers want from their retailers is control.
“Consumers respond to increase of control. Being in control of their own lives is the number one most important aspect in people’s personal lives today,” Holahan said.
Holahan’s second change driver was technology. Technology has allowed consumers that role of being in control and has given them the opportunity to make better, faster decisions.
The new technology that has really changed the way modern consumers shop is voice shopping and augmented reality. Voice shopping devices, such as Alexa, is growing and shrinking consideration sets. It’s said that 50 percent of all searches will be voice within the next three years.
Augmented reality is defined as an immersive experience that allows consumers to superimpose a computer-generated image in a user’s view of the real world. It is optimizing the experience and links reality to possibility.
“Customer service is getting redefined,” Holahan said. “Voice technology is changing how consumers interact. Consumers’ experiences are critical to their decisions and augmented reality is helping improve it.”
The final change driver discussed was the overbearing presence of Amazon. Holahan explained how Amazon has set the bar for shopping expectations and perceptions and they continually are raising it.
“Amazon has redefined the shopping experience as online growth. It is on the rise with no slowdown expected. Amazon has been ranked superior to other retailers in nearly every aspect by consumers,” Holahan said.
Before wrapping up, she provided an example of change in the retail industry. Within Pfizer, it was decided to partner with GlaxoSmithKline to form a new world-leading consumer healthcare joint venture, creating the largest over the counter healthcare company.
Holahan finished with a closing remark that included three tips on how to thrive in a world of change; be responsive, take risks and stay relevant.