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Q&A with Shauna Lagatol, Global Growth and Transformation Leader

1) Can you give me a quick overview of your company’s brands and your role within the organization?

After 15+ years, I made the jump from a marketing executive at large Blue Chip CPG organizations to the CEO of a pre-seed startup!  I am currently the CEO of a milk Biologics company called Wellin Inc.  I was tasked by the investors at Spencer Trask & Co. to take a proprietary ingredient that is clinically proven to provide joint pain relief and immune health support to create a dietary supplement targeting consumers 55+ within the B2C space (yup, boomers are on facebook and Instagram!).

Being the CEO of a start up is really being the CMO, Executive Assistant, Head of Supply Chain, Accountant, and HR strategist all wrapped up into one J ! 

2) What do you consider the biggest challenges for a CMO these days?

Staying on top of the constantly changing environment and ecosystem in which consumers absorb content and build a relationship with your brand.  From social channels, SEO and their changing algorithms … Influencers, micro-Influencers … changes in TV/streaming consumption, amazon, and e-commerce landscape changes … it is coming at marketers in all directions.  You don’t have to be an expert in everything but a successful CMO is constantly learning and staying on top of (and pushing for) best in class industry standards whether it be creative development or media buying etc.

I find that the best way to do the above is to build diverse teams that are highly curious!  Experts are great but with such a dynamic marketplace and changing technology, it’s important that a CMO builds teams that know how to flex, hungry to grow, and challenge the status quo.

3) How do you work with your executive team to get the most out of the marketing function?

One of the biggest challenges for a CMO is to stay focused, pivot quickly when ROI’s aren’t there, and quantify marketing spend to volume whenever possible so the organization is clear on the role of marketing to drive demand.

My background is actually in science so I’m a numbers person …. Discussions with executives from other functional areas are always better when grounded in data!

4) Any recent evolutions in the way you approach innovation and brand development? 

After being in a global Innovation role at Nestle Waters I had a big “aha moment …”.   I realized that I had been approaching innovation and research the for the same way the past 10 years!  I was lucky to have the resources at a large company to essentially deep dive into new best practices, meeting (interviewing) top innovation agencies across the globe. 

In an RFP I choose to work with IDEO to build our Nestle Waters 10 Year Global pipeline – being exposed to Human-Centered design which is research done with consumers who exhibit extreme behaviors and attitudes for design inspiration.  I’ve started to implement Design Sprints and the concept of an MVP (Minimal Viable Prototype) with my teams to get new ideas -and products in front of consumers faster for iterative feedback and optimization.  It has totally changed the way I think about not only developing new products but new business models and strategies.

5) If you could start your last role over again, what would you do differently?

My last role before becoming CEO of Wellin was running Nestle Waters first innovation accelerator team.  We were focused on agile, fast-paced product development, iterative prototyping, and rapid market place deployment.  I would take all I’ve learned of the B2C marketplace and building a B2C brand back to that innovation accelerator model.  Using the same models for micro-targeting, selling directly to consumers on Instagram of FB marketing place as proof of principle and selling proposition optimization … doing it as soon as possible and using that data to influence the organization and buyers alike for larger marketing dollar support to then scale.   

About Shauna Lagatol – LinkedIn

Shauna is a consumer packaged goods expert whose reason for being is to spark business development & revenue growth. She merges executive-level marketing/brand management experience on a global level with scientific product development expertise to formulate and promote consumer packaged goods at both top blue-chip corporations, including Nestle Waters, Sun Products/Henkel, and Unilever and startups.

If you’d like to learn more about working with Shauna, please contact Shannon Silsby – shannon@beperpetual.com