Director of Marketing and Communications, The Governor’s Academy; former Senior Brand Manager, Tom’s of Maine
Everybody has a different area of expertise or experience, and you’re leveraging those backgrounds to make the group function together better than anyone of us could on our own, Tuck did a great job of teaching me how to do that.
When you visit your local health food store, drugstore, or supermarket in the next few months, you might notice a new natural sensitive toothpaste from Tom’s of Maine. Called “Rapid Relief,” the toothpaste uses a patented and clinically proven formula of arginine, a naturally derived amino acid, and calcium carbonate. Most sensitive toothpastes numb the nerves in teeth that cause discomfort; Rapid Relief plugs the little holes in the teeth that lead to those nerves, essentially blocking them from the cold or hot substances that trigger sensitivity.
Lindsay Batastini T’09 is a senior brand manager at Tom’s of Maine in charge of oral care, and she’s been working on the creation and launch of Rapid Relief for almost three years. The process required all the general management skills Batastini honed at Tuck. She had to work closely with the product development, legal, and regulatory teams at Tom’s of Maine, since the product makes claims about the treatment of sensitivity. Rapid Relief is a new formulation, so Batastini had to collaborate with the company’s manufacturing and quality teams to make sure they could produce it. She partnered with the finance team to set a price that would achieve a suitable profit margin. And there’s a new advertising campaign: sensitivity sufferers tend to be loyal to their brand, so Tom’s of Maine must explain why Rapid Relief is different from the competition. The campaign includes print advertising, samples, shopper marketing, digital advertising, videos with consumer testimonials, and coupons.
On top of all that, the product had to go through Tom’s of Maine’s rigorous review of the ingredients and supply chain to certify that the new formula is sourced from nature and made in a socially responsible way.
Batastini’s journey to Tom’s of Maine began, you could say, at the Gap. She worked in the company’s corporate strategy division before coming to Tuck. She liked working in retail, and pursued an MBA to transition into a position that had direct responsibility for profit and loss, and to make decisions about products that would reach consumers. “I wanted to be in the trenches and have that general manager experience,” she said.
Looking back at her two years at Tuck, Batastini recognized a few things that allowed her to seamlessly enter a general management position at Colgate-Palmolive and then Tom’s of Maine, which Colgate acquired in 2006. One was the teamwork engendered in her first-year study group. “Everybody in your group has a different area of expertise or experience, and you’re leveraging those backgrounds to make the group function together better than anyone of us could on our own,” she said. That experience informs her role at Tom’s of Maine, where she works with people in different functional areas and rallies them around a project so that it moves forward. Part of that is classic management, such as marshaling the various skills of co-workers, but it also involves the soft skills of motivating people and making them feel appreciated. “Tuck did a great job of teaching me how to do that,” she said.
Tuck also taught her to think and manage her time. She recalls being pushed to approach problems from all angles and ask great questions, and to work hard but then remember to relax with friends. “That was something that, when selecting a business school, was really important to me,” she said. “I wanted to study and be in a network with people who were really smart and driven in their careers, but who also knew how to have fun.”
For the past few years, Batastini has been trying her best to make sure Tuck students have the same opportunities she did to learn about marketing and brand management and network with great companies. She visits Tuck with several Tuck alumni who work at Colgate-Palmolive. They give a talk on shopper marketing and take students out on store visits, to see retail marketing in action. “Having companies and committed alumni come back to campus to talk about their experience and careers was really influential to me,” she said, “so I like to pay it forward and help students figure out what’s right for them.”
“I loved my Tuck experience,” she went on. “I wish I could go back and do it again, but Colgate and Tom’s of Maine are actually very similar to Tuck in the way people collaborate. I feel very fortunate to have landed at a company like that.”
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