Taste of Instacart
Meet Jennifer Meyer, Regional Director of Brand Partnerships
“I was born and raised in the Consumer-Packaged Goods (CPG) advertising world,” says Jennifer Meyer, Instacart’s Director of Brand Partnerships, and a look at her resume proves she’s only half-joking. Her first major role in the CPG arena was at Valassis, which worked with brands to run coupons in print media.
“People would read the Sunday paper and get their little coupon book. 20 years ago, that’s how consumers were engaging with savings and value,” Meyer says, citing the early appeal of working with leading CPG companies like General Mills, Kraft, and Procter and Gamble, “and really got to learn about their businesses.”
With the digital world promising to quickly replace print for resources like coupons, Meyer moved to a company called Coupons.com, which has since rebranded as Quotient Technology.
“We were digitizing the whole coupon industry,” she says. “Taking basically everything that we had done in print and bringing it online with the same community of CPG companies, and really helping educate them on where the world is going.”
Then, in 2012, an article from USA Today caught her eye and changed her destiny.
“I looked at it, and it was about Instacart. And it was about how you can now get your groceries from your favorite local store delivered to your home. And we had our two oldest kids at the time, and I thought, ‘This is incredible. I need to be a part of this!’”
After following Instacart with interest, a few years later a former colleague offered her a way into the company. She excitedly joined, enthused by how much her own family had benefited from Instacart’s service.
“Instacart truly makes our family run better because we’re not having to take the time out to go to the store,” Meyer says. “We can focus the time on getting our groceries delivered and having recipes and making dinner and having the family unit together because we’re running in so many different directions. And so from the beginning, I just fell in love with the platform and our value proposition of saving people time. Instacart lets me be in two places at once. How’s that for a superpower! ”
The Ads Platform
“When I joined Instacart, my role at the company was to go out and help build partnerships with CPG companies,” Meyer says. “I knew more and more consumers are going to be shopping this way because there’s a lot of households that are time-starved.”
Meyer had to convince the heads of each brand she approached that Instacart’s revolutionary platform would change the industry.
“I knew that with our ad platform, we can help them be more efficient. I look at our ads platform as an inspiration platform for consumers, “ she continues. “This was an opportunity for the brands I worked with to really influence the customer as they’re shopping in different ways. And that’s something we’re focused on today in terms of building out new ways to inspire the consumer in their journey.”
That ad platform is not an old-fashioned linear model. Consumers can use past shopping lists as their maps, or enjoy building a basket for the first time using search.
“If you’re looking for your favorite laundry detergent, you’re typing in the search bar, and brands have the opportunity on our platform to bid on that first-row search return giving them first-row placement in our digital aisle.”
This puts participating brands front-and-center in that all-important consumer decision portion.
As with other businesses that helped the world adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, Instacart’s business has accelerated over the last year and a half. This includes several new features for the platform.
“Display is an area that we didn’t have before. You might come on to the Instacart app, and as soon as you select your store, you could see an advertising unit front and center,” Meyer says. “We have other types of display placements that we’re working on to help again inspire the consumer in their journey.”
The company is also working with its brands on new methods of supplying savings and value, including coupons and promotions, where customers are encouraged to stock up on their favorites at a reduced price.
A Passion to Help Customers
Meyer says it’s the unified passion to help customers that makes Instacart so special.
“It’s all about the team, I’ll tell you that. And we’ve scaled so quickly. When I look back over the years, it’s really a career highlight to be working with the team that we have,” she says. “There’s something always new to learn, which keeps your curiosity high. And I think that drives strong collaboration. It’s about having diverse perspectives as well as a comfort with agility because that’s the nature of technology.”
Meyer says the common thread is caring for the greater good: “We’re a four-sided marketplace, with our retail partners, our shoppers, our brands, and our customers. It’s really about having that greater good guiding principle at a macro level.”
She says communication is first and foremost for successful collaboration, transparency, and bringing your whole self to work.
“So many members of our team are parents who have young children. We have all been working through this pandemic, with our kids on screen with us, Meyer says of her team’s communication since the pandemic broke out. “And I think the benefit of all of this on-screen time is that it’s brought us into each other’s lives more, which when you’re in an office only environment, you might not see that as often. So yes, we get tired of using the screen sometimes, and we’d love to be in person, but we do get to really know the whole person through this.”
From day one, Meyer says, it’s Instacart’s core cultural values that have kept the mission on target. Those values are:
- Go Far Together – “We can do so much more together.”
- This Is Your Baby – “This idea promotes entrepreneurship.”
- Of Course, But Maybe – “It works well, but let’s push a bit here and see what else we can do.”
“So we have these values. And way back in the day when we were still in our offices, you walk into our headquarters and they’re everywhere, and they’re in everything we do. And now they’re on the screens everywhere. They are the foundation,” Meyer says.
A Listening Culture
Meyer says another thing that distinguishes Instacart is that it has what she refers to as a listening culture, or one where employees are encouraged to take their peers’ thoughts and suggestions as seriously as their own.
“That listening culture has been something I’ve been so impressed with since the beginning,” she says. “There are so many different ways to communicate. I think about other very large orgs where you may not have that ability. Here at Instacart, it’s always been up to you and your internal network. Who do you want to connect with, and meet with, and build partnerships with, no matter where they are in the organization, and no matter what team that they’re on. I think everybody wants to build those connections because we realize across the four sides, we all have a lot to learn together. And we know when all four sides are in sync, that’s when the magic happens.”
Meyer says prospective Instacart job candidates should know the company is a place where you get that personal connection and authenticity.
“I believe Instacart is making the world a better place. And we’re just getting started! For someone joining or considering joining here, I think getting to be a part of that is a really incredible experience. That’s something that feeds my soul every day.”
“I get reflective as I get older,” Meyer says. “And you know, the joy is in the journey. This experience of what we’re building and how we’re transforming an industry together is unique. That makes the journey so fulfilling.”
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