“Everybody I meet loves to tell me how enjoying a bowl of tomato soup reminds them of their childhood. Or, how eating Goldfish crackers with their children creates a really special moment.”
These stories are music to the ears of Michael Senackerib ’87, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Campbell Soup Company, Camden, N.J., which has 11 brands with sales of more than $100 million each and annual sales of more than $8 billion.
These products and the memories associated with them are embedded in the culture of several generations. Replicating that success with new groups such as millennials and Latinos and generating loyalty to new products such as Campbell’s slow cooker sauces, Bolthouse Farms juices, and Plum Organics baby food is Senackerib’s charge.
That’s a major challenge in the fast-changing field of marketing.
“The consumer landscape has changed dramatically in recent years,” says Senackerib, former chief marketing officer for Hertz and a marketing leader at Nabisco and Kraft. “It’s about the most exciting time to be in marketing. More has happened in the past several years than in my first 20 in the field.”
He notes that in those early years, there were only a few major TV networks and no Internet. Today, digital and mobile are a significant portion of the marketing budget.
A member of the executive team, he works with the marketing leaders in each business unit. He also oversees advertising, design, media, digital marketing, global corporate communications, and corporate strategy.
Long before entertainers and athletes started talking about building their brand, Senackerib remembers being captivated by the way brands attach to people’s imaginations. It began in a course taught by Dale Falcinelli, former visiting assistant professor of economics and business. “He described brand managers as the hub of the wheel. I was completely sold and have not looked back since.”
Also, his stint as head resident adviser was invaluable. “That experience helped shape me and how I have managed people going forward,” he says. “Dean Jim Krivoski was very influential in guiding me as I developed leadership skills.”
A government and law graduate, Senackerib holds an MBA from Columbia University. He is married to Kimberly Leciston Senackerib ’87. His brother, Joseph Senackerib ’84, is married to Suzanne Wingard Senackerib ’84. Their son is Christopher Senackerib ’11. Other Lafayette relatives include father-in-law Robert “Blue” Leciston ’63 and sister-in-law Autumn Leciston Bragg ’90.