7-Eleven Inc. is embarking on anew marketing vision by naming DougFoster its first chief marketing officer (CMO). Promoted from his mostrecent position as 7-Eleven's vice presidentof marketing, Foster brings more than 13years of professional advertising experienceto the new role, as well as an acute understanding of the 7-Eleven family culture.
Joe DePinto, 7-Eleven's president andCEO, and Foster share a running schoolrivalry that extends back to their col-lege days at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy, respectively. But those school days instilled beliefs in Foster that have carried over to his professional life.
"The 7-Eleven culture is one of servant leadership," Foster said. "I learnedabout the idea from the Naval Academy, andit has been a great basis for my work in thisenvironment."
Foster had always been on the peripheryof the c-store industry, particularly when heworked for FreshLoc Technologies, a company that sold food monitoring systemsto 7-Eleven. During his term with J. WalterThompson, a New York-based advertisingagency, Foster managed several packagedgoods accounts that 7-Eleven stocks.
In his three-year tenure as the company's vice president of marketing, Foster'ssuccesses included raising awareness of7-Eleven and its products, reintroducingconsumer promotions, upgrading visualmerchandising and point-of-purchasing (P-O-P) systems and launching marketing plansthat helped generate record sales. Mostrecently, he brought 18 professional teamsinto a sports marketing initiative as part ofthe company's focus on regional activitiesand products.
Foster was drawn to the marketing position for the chance to really evolve thestrategies of the changing company.
"This was an opportunity to reposition oneof American's greatest brands," said Foster. "The company has been through a lotof changes, and we're looking to polishour image and play a greater relevance inour customers' daily lives."
Foster will be focusing on getting closerto the 7-Eleven consumer through a combination of advertising, consumer promotions,event marketing and community relations.
"I have tremendous colleagues and we'rereally positioned to optimize the customerexperience by offering them the productsthey need and want," Foster said.
Every 7-Eleven store has a different product assortment, specifically tailored to thecustomers in each area. Foster's next challenge is figuring out how to build an intricate,cohesive marketing plan to support the company's more than 7,000 stores.
"It's fun and exciting for my team to create new ways to micromarket, right down tothe store level," he said.
Foster notes that when sports fans walkinto a stadium, they will see the 7-Elevenlogo and start to associate the store withnew and different aspects of their lives.
"We're focused on lifestyle marketing rightnow—getting closer to the consumer andmaking 7-Eleven their neighborhood store,"he said. "My job is constantly expanding,and there's no better place to be part of acommunity than here."