Transforming CPG industry with Transora

January 1, 2001


This is one of an ongoing series of articles on interactive marketing leaders who are doing things other marketers can learn from. They're not yet household names, but will be in the headlines tomorrow. They're the emerging leaders of an emerging marketing discipline

Name, rank and serial number: Betsy Cohen, 46. Bachelor’s in Economics/ Political Science, 1976, Wellesley College; MBA, 1978, Harvard Business School. Marketing-strategic planning manager at Black & Decker, 1978to 1980. Joined Ralston Purina Co., holding a series of positions from marketing assistant to managing director in the cereals group, baby food and pet foods. Named managing director and corporate futurist in 1997; becamecorporate vice president in 1998.

Mantra: "Passion for growth; passion for people"

How electronic exchanges could transform packaged goods: "It might mean that order management goes through Transora andcomes to us in a different format. Through Transora, retailers may be able to look at one online catalog and buy any of the products from all the companies in Transora."

"It changes everything. All of a sudden, retailers... may be able to go to this one online catalog and get all your promotional material, all your new product launches."

Other benefits: "You can have efficiencies in financial services, escrowed monies, and settlements of billings between the companies using electronic funds."

On her passion: "My own interest was always about how we use technology to transform business. How do people get transformed by new ways of thinking about opportunities? How does a company grow? How do we bring money to the bottom line?"

On sticking with a big corporation: "Purina is the kind of company where they allow us to explore new ideas. I’ve always had a lot of freedom." Achieving significant transformation and innovation within a large corporation, though, takes "individuals who understand technology and understand their own business culture. They can really makea big difference."

On starting out in packaged goods today: "I think that someone coming out with an MBA could make a huge difference quickly. There’s definitely a willingness to experiment ... to prove it out."

Michael Krauss is a partner with DiamondCluster International in Chicago.
He can be reached at




 ©2004 Marion Consulting Partners