Guest Lecture by Mars in Sales Management
On December 6, 2019, the IfM welcomed Frank Hanisch, Customer Business Director Mars Petcare and Nexan Chopra, EU Customer Business Director, from Mars. They were invited to give a guest lecture in the Master course Sales Management. The two speakers introduced the topic of e-commerce and omnichannel management at Mars to the students and presented the company and its development from first chocolate and confection creations in Frank C. Mars’ family kitchen in 1911 to a diverse and growing cluster of brands that are loved by many people and their pets today. Some of the best-known brands are, for example, Snickers, M&M’s, Wrigley’s and Pedigree. In their five Germany-bound locations, Mars can count on a total of 2500 associates.
Though the relevance of FMCG in e-commerce in Germany is still low, its potential is huge. Especially petcare shows enormous growth rates, emphasizing Mars’ opportunities in this area. Combining the lecture with practice at Mars, the two speakers elaborated the different steps for defining a channel strategy. This includes the best way to segment the market, the required channel activities and choosing between direct and indirect sales forces. The speakers also discussed opportunities and risks of a multi- or omnichannel approach with the students. While traditional retailers have to reinvent their businesses to not disappear from the market completely, pure online retailers will not have the chance to survive either. Many impressive examples from big players like Alibaba and Amazon illustrated how an omnichannel future might look like. The two business directors demonstrated how a particularly designed format of Whiskas has become a top-selling product on Amazon as Mars Petcare’s first e-commerce item.
In summary, the students learned that the fast pace of e-commerce must not be underestimated. The off- and online world are closely connected, suggesting that omni-channel is the future. However, it is important to keep in mind that every single channel addresses different needs.
At the very end of their presentation, Mr. Hanisch and Mr. Chopra made the audience aware of interesting career opportunities at Mars. During the following “Meet & Greet” at the Marketing Center Münster, the students had a chance to learn about working life, corporate culture and career paths, as well as to get in touch with of the two speakers, Professor Krafft and members of the team of the Chair of Marketing Management.