In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?
Data is the new bacon and we have an unhealthy obsession with it, according to director of KNA Insights and Analytics Solution Center at Kellogg, Aaron Fetters.
Speaking at ADMA’s Data Day conference in Sydney, Fetters pointed to a proliferation of connectivity in the digital age where data is collected from every facet of our life.
“From wearables collecting data on everything we do like our body functions, to thermostats collecting data in our homes, connected televisions, mobile devices, connected cars, loyalty programs, there are even connected refrigerators,” he said. “We’ve gone so far as putting QR codes on our cereal box, so in a sense they can be connected to collect data as well.”
But with this connectivity comes a deluge of data, leaving marketing at a tipping point, Fetters said.
“I believe that the fundamentals of marketing have not changed,” he said. “We still need great ideas, based on deep consumer insights that are turned into engaging experiences for the consumer. And those experiences happen across a number of channels, from television to digital to samples and coupons.”
What has changed is consumer expectations and the marketing operating environment. Fetters added it is no longer about digital marketing, but about ‘marketing in a digital marketplace’.
“Consumers don’t live in a digital world and an offline world, the just live in a digital marketplace,” he said. “For consumers, this means they have an incredibly higher expectation of relevance in their lives.”
Brands like Netflix, Starbucks and Facebook have completely altered our perception of what relevance means and according to Fetters, customers now expect personalised choices – and lots of them.
“We now expect things to be extremely relevant,” he said. “I expect to have my coffee cup to have my name on it, I expect my newsfeed to be customised and tailored to just the things that I want to see in it.”
Consumers and shoppers are also no longer constrained by the physical limitations of a retail experience.
“If you are Kellogg, the idea of the twenty-four by forty-two foot cereal aisle is defunct,” he said. “The options are absolutely infinite. At the same time, as a consumer, I expect those options to be presented to me in a way that is extremely relevant and most likely to attract me.”
Meeting the demands of a data-driven marketplace
Fetters stressed marketers need to build an organisation that has the capabilities and connections necessary to evolve from traditional marketing models to meet the demands of a data-driven marketplace.
“This requires the right organisation, the right structure and the right capabilities,” he said. “But it also requires connections, and you can’t do this alone.”
Fetters said marketing effectiveness came down to the right content quality that reached the right audience with the right impact.
“We have to have content that breaks through and leaves a branded impression and some sort of persuasive message,” he said. “I need to define my audience, most likely to be impacted by that message and then I need to ensure my advertising reaches that audience.”
In the digital space, Fetters said ad viewability has become increasingly important.
“We’re beginning to do what we call data-informed decision making, and data is helping us inform these questions,” he said. “This could be who to communicate with, where to reach them and how often to talk to them.”
Fetters explained Kellogg has a successful CRM and loyalty program in the US called Kellogg family rewards, where customers use a code on the back of the package or scan a receipt through a phone to gain points for purchasing Kellogg products.
“That’s great for the consumer and it is great for us, because we can get to know more about the consumer. We can get to know what their preferences for products are, where they are shopping and how many products they are buying,” he said. “This is all data that is becoming extremely valuable to us on the marketing side, as we build audiences and tailor our messages to them.”
As a result, Kellogg can learn more about the efficacy of its advertising and whether consumers are being exposed to their message, as well as whether they are interacting with that message. Kellogg can also learn from third-party partners such as Walmart, or publishers like the weather channel.
“All of these are new sources of data that we’re using to being building this data-informed decision model,” he said.
How data drives content quality
According to Fetters, when it comes to content-driven data, we’re entering a new ‘House of Cards’ era, with the likes of Netflix now using data to drive content quality and boost market share.
“Because they can collect all the data of streaming behaviour of subscribers, Netflix is able to sift through it to see what their audience needs,” he said.
In the instance of House of Cards, the data collected by Netflix revealed that people seemed to like the director’s work, the series’ British version and the starting actor, Kevin Spacey.
“Bringing all this information together, they said we want to build original content around the House of Cards idea,” he said. “And absolutely it has been a tremendous success in the US and other markets. It is a great example of data driving content quality.”
Similarly, Kellogg used data to form some of its creative principles as it looks to build television and digital content.
“We have literally hundreds and hundreds of ads that are created and either tested with consumers or run in market, and we are able to look back at the data and say what elements of the creative seem to be present when we see something that succeeds really well,” Fetters said. “At the same time, this enables Kellogg to analyse which elements are lacking.”
Data is also the driving force of how that content is delivered from the contact point of consumer engagement and interactions on social media.
“We have some great examples of working with Twitter, honing in on keywords that we see Twitter users tweeting the appropriate messages,” Fetters continued. “So if we saw the keywords related to our brand, we’re going to use a creative to put the message in front of them.”
Kellogg found Twitter users also showed an interest in winning competitions and promotions, which could also be used to put a creative in front of the consumer that was promotional in nature.
“We’re beginning to do this and seeing fantastic results, through partners like Twitter, where you can use data to activate your content this way,” he said.
Reaching the right audience using the right data
The idea of ad viewability has become a hot topic in data-driven content. This is because although marketers pay for every ad that is served to a Web page, the ad doesn’t always come into a viewable space.
“This could be due to the way the ad was constructed, due to the surfing behaviour, or perhaps the consumer navigates away from the page before the ad has loaded,” Fetters said.
In 2012, Kellogg put viewability tags on everything we advertised and found out of all the campaigns run, only about 30 per cent were viewable. By optimising viewability as a key metric, Kellogg went on to increase campaign viewability to 70 per cent.
Data and the evolution of the target market
Fetter explained data can also significantly impact identifying the demographic of brand buyers. At Kellogg, data analysis on one of its products revealed half of potential buyers were in fact out of its initial target market segment of women 25 to 54 years of age.
“Data is really changing the way we think about who it is that we want to talk to,” he said. “It is about finding people who are interested in the right brand, who are in the right category and whether our brand has relevance.”
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