General Mills' DTC-CPG strategy and its chief, Carter Jensen

May 13, 2024
Emmy Liederman
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Inside the offices of General Mills, Carter Jensen and his team are the 'cool kids.'

They're able to spin up new brand websites in a mere week or two and test marketing hypothesis in the time it would take most teams to agree on a creative brief.

Speaking of a specific test that deployed re-ordering in the CPG market, Jensen said, "Instead of deploying to a million orders, making huge investments in technology, we deployed to 1,000, and we got that test out the door in a matter of a week or two, and were able to fail super fast."

Jensen is senior manager of Global Commerce | Innovation & Emerging Channels at General Mills (in short he runs their DTC team) and while he may be one of the cool kids internally, he understands that to the rest of the CPG world he may be perceived as being part of legacy brands and systems.

Of upstart CPG brands Jensen says, "We look up to those brands. We look up to the speed that they've been able to get to market, we look up to the connection that they're able to have with their consumer. And I think we look at them and say, 'Wow, that's really amazing. How can we learn from you?' I think there are things that we can learn from them, and there are things that they can learn from us."

In leading CPG for General Mills, Jensen supports upstart brands that are part of the company's incubator program. These brands go out small in an effort to gain market data that can be used to advance the new brand, but can also help brands across General Mills' portfolio.

He also supports exclusive product drops for legacy brands under the General Mills umbrella.

And he does all of this with a tech stack not too dissimilar from what the rest of the eCommerce world is using.

"We are 100 percent a Shopify shop, which I think for a lot of people ... who are in kind of the corporate environment, is an anomaly," said Jensen. "And we continue to fight tooth and nail for that. And we do a lot of work behind the scenes to maintain that to enable our brands and enable our leaders here to go to market in a DTC way or in a new connected commerce way, in hours and days versus months and years."

Listen to the full interview with Jensen above.

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