Shopper Marketing - October 2016 - 28
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both CPG and retail companies are grappling
with the same issues of how to get closer to
the shopper, how to get more efficient in their
communications, and how to streamline from
the point-of-sale to supply chain."
Guffanti sees his new role as an opportunity
to further these synergies, considering Shopper
Marketing, Store Brands, CGT, RIS and Progressive Grocer all now operate under the same
umbrella. "EnsembleIQ becomes the central
point of conversations in this industry," he says.
"What really excites me about this organization
that we've created is the ability to be an incubator for ideas in the industry. That's what's been
driving my career and drives me as a publisher
- this notion that an idea or a concept, or even
an offhanded comment, could snowball into
something huge and move the industry and
instigate growth and innovation."
Guffanti believes that Shopper Marketing
and the membership-based Path to Purchase
Institute have been extremely effective and
innovative in building communities. "That's
what all these brands have in common, is relevant communities," he says. "I've always been
very passionate about this idea of community
building. If you have a community, you have
something you can't commoditize, or replicate. Community has spontaneity, trust and
"As a publisher, my job is to generate a forum
for actionable ideas, whether that forum is a
live event, or a webinar, or a printed magazine."
Guffanti plans to continue to grow the Institute's community through peer-to-peer ex28
y SHOPPER MARKETING OCTOBER 2016
changes around relevant topics, which he previously accomplished at Edgell through structured
networking among influential, like-minded
people. "We were matchmakers," he says. "We
brought together executives grappling with a
business issue, with leading solution providers.
In a non-'salesy' but productive way, we enabled
business discussions to happen."
One goal in his first weeks will be to form
an executive council to provide advice on the
future of Shopper Marketing. Guffanti did that
while leading CGT. "They had a vested interest
in making sure that the community is thriving and growing and will be as relevant in five
years as it is today," he says. "We got together
in person to talk about how the industry is
growing and where it's going, and how we as
a media brand could add to the community.
They're essentially evangelists for the brand."
Prior to his time at Edgell, Guffanti spent
shorter periods of time at a variety of publishing companies, including UBM, American
Lawyer Media (ALM) and Thomson Reuters.
During that phase of his career, he got to know
industries as diverse as finance, healthcare, law
and transportation and handled roles from
promotions to advertising sales to online
marketing - the latter with ALM's then-newly
launched Law.com in 2002. "At the time, online advertising wasn't really mainstream like
it is today," Guffanti recalls. "The world was still
very print-centric. But I jumped at the chance
to get involved with Law.com because I knew
online advertising and being able to be comfortable with this whole wave of new media
that was coming would help my career. That
jump-started my ability to add value to other