In this edition of Marketer of the Week, Ignite Visibility spotlights Leslie Ferraro, Chief Marketing Officer at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.
Ignite Visibility applauds her and the Hershey team for adopting state-of-the-art technology to keep people safe at its entertainment venues.
As a result of the company’s partnership with security company Evolv Technology, Hershey stands prepared to face the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the company’s preparedness didn’t start in 2020. It began 19 years ago.
Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, management at Hershey knew that they needed to make guest safety a priority.
“Once we, as a society, began to recognize these risks or threats, Hershey fell in line,” said Jason White, Managing Director, Corporate Safety and Security. “We elevated our security posture over the year, and we have really tried to leverage technology the best we can to provide a safe environment while, at the same time, ensuring that the guest experience does not get diminished.”
As a result, the company put in place security measures that not only kept people safe from visitors with concealed weapons, but also from deadly diseases.
Evolv Technology, founded in 2013, bills itself as the leader in security screening tech. It’s not clear that the amusement park adopted Evolv for the purposes of fighting the pandemic, but it certainly helped keep people safe.
And that, in turn, makes it easier for Leslie Ferraro to market the company’s services to people looking to enjoy a family-friendly good time.
A Six-Year Journey of Leslie Ferraro
Ferraro started at Hershey six years ago. But not as CMO.
She began as a Director of Marketing. In that role, she was responsible for creating strategic marketing priorities, positioning, and branding.
Leslie also developed omnichannel messaging to generate awareness and increase attendance at the theme park.
After a couple of years in that position, she moved up to Vice President of Marketing and Analytics.
And not much longer after that, she landed the CMO spot.
“Since Leslie joined the company in 2014, her core responsibility has been to lead the strategic and integrated marketing approach for the entire destination, while focusing her team’s efforts on delivering excellence across the marketing spectrum,” said Hershey president and COO John Lawn. “She has done an exceptional job in leveraging data through enhanced analytics to better understand our guests and generate greater demand across the destination.”
Her Prior Life
Prior to joining Hershey, Ferraro worked at Pepsi for 15 years.
She started as a key account manager in 2006 and worked her way up to Senior General Marketing Director by 2014.
Here are some of her responsibilities and accomplishments during her tenure at Pepsi:
- Led the Pennsylvania marketing and sales organization. During that time, she helped maximize volume and revenue in a direct store delivery go-to market environment.
- Controlled a budget of $130 million annually while generating $285 million in revenue and $38 million in profit.
- Managed 1,100 employees throughout Pennsylvania. Her staff included warehouse, fleet, and sales personnel.
- Developed local and national marketplace initiatives in an effort to boost brand performance.
- Coached a team of sales reps and frontline employees on selling and displays.
- Led a restructuring that saved the company more than $1 million in productivity gains.
- Managed a local sales team that achieved $320 million in sales.
Clearly, she’s the kind of marketer who gets results.
Wrapping It Up
Leslie Ferraro, Chief Marketing Officer at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, is obviously not a job hopper. She stayed with Pepsi for 15 years, after all.
That’s good news for Hershey. She’s likely to hang around long enough to make a lasting impact on the company’s future success.
I look forward to seeing the results.