Category Leadership Manager
Wes Walker’s career started out conventionally for someone who graduated from a major university, in this case the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, with a degree in marketing.
His first job out of the gate was for MARS Advertising in Bentonville, a shopper marketing firm. After five years there, Walker moved to Kraft Heinz, where he now handles its snack nuts and powdered drinks accounts with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville.
“It’s heavy on analytics,” Walker said. “I’m working with a lot of data, whether it is Wal-Mart’s point-of-sale data or market data like Nielsen or some other resource. I work with the data to create stories internally or to sell to Wal-Mart. I’m working with the Wal-Mart merchants more in a collaborative capacity rather than just a traditional supplier-retailer role.”
Walker said his traditional marketing education helps, as does his client service experience with MARS, but he has had to learn a lot about data in his new role.
“It’s not necessarily what I trained for,” Walker said. “Should we have corn nuts in Texas? Should we have them all year long? It’s a ‘what-when-where’ type of deal.
“Everything is data driven. If you don’t have data to support it, it’s not going to get much attention.”
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