Data Driven Brand Storytelling the P&G Way

Posted on: December 2nd, 2013 by Gib Bassett No Comments

The television spot remains a mainstay in the CPG industry’s never ending quest to differentiate and increase sales.  Meanwhile, all things digital have swept over the industry landscape.  In parallel to mass media, agencies acting on behalf of brand marketers execute all manner of digital marketing campaigns, but without an eye on capturing, integrating and measuring these interactions.  Amid these dual approaches to influencing consumer behavior, brand marketers struggle to apply highly organized, integrated and proven-effective Data Driven Marketing techniques.  For many, it feels unrealistic, and seems to hamper the creativity at the heart of the most successful brands.

Progressive brand marketers like Teradata customer Procter & Gamble recognize the opportunity to marry the brand storytelling exemplified in mass media with direct response marketing principles to develop measurable 1:1 connections with their consumers.  “Direct Branding” is this intersection where Data Driven Marketing provides brand marketers and their agencies with a measurable storytelling platform.

When in place:

  • The quality of marketing content in addressable channels can be gauged by indicators of brand affinity.  For example, how many consumers communicate with your brand through multiple channels versus one, how many consumers that you have direct relationships with express affinity in social channels and also participate in your loyalty program?  How much content is shared, in either emails or social channels, and what is the reach afforded?  Procter & Gamble’s Consumer Pulse scans the social web but when connected to the company’s direct digital marketing efforts, messaging platforms can be more quantitatively evaluated.
  • Responses to digital channels like web and email are recorded, evaluated and targeted for improvement over time.  When enabled at scale, “test and learn” serves to make the most of your marketing budget by applying dollars to the programs that promise the highest response.  Permission-based digital channels are addressable – meaning you have the opportunity to communicate with consumers on a one-to-one basis, measure response, and accrue knowledge about consumers that informs brand creative, segmentation and targeting.
  • The value of agency creative can be evaluated objectively for either addressable or mass media.  Indicators of quality and response for addressable channels allow brand marketers to quantify the value of their agency investments.  In the case of mass media (i.e. television), brand marketers are increasingly tying it to complementary digital activities such that they work in unison to yield an overall better result.

It’s important that the platform not limit the creative energy that agencies bring to developing brand content, while at the same time laying the foundation for capturing consumer interaction data across brands, campaigns and channels.  This fine balance is one P&G explained in their Teradata Partners presentation.

Engagement and Sales

A primary benefit of Data Driven Marketing is that the dials on many of these codified consumer interactions can be tuned in-market to increase the likelihood of positively impacting sales.  If you have engaged with your consumers correctly, sales should correlate.  If sales remain flat or down, it indicates that something is amiss – you haven’t connected with the right consumers, your strategy is flawed, or your agency creative and execution is off.  The key is to be able to turn these dials quickly to improve affinity with the right audience, which in turn should meaningfully impact sales figures.

The stakes for “engaging correctly” are high.  An October 3, 2013 article on CMO.com titled “20 Years After Peppers And Rogers, A Wake-Up Call For Brands” reported:

“According to a Janrain/Blue Research study from earlier this year, 98 percent of people receive information and offers from brands that are simply not relevant. And the impact is beginning to be felt, with consumers taking action on their annoyance. Nearly half of them report abandoning brands after just two mistargeted communications. They stop using products, unsubscribe from email lists, and abandon Web sites. This is obviously a big problem--companies are potentially losing nearly half of their customers due to frequent mistargeting. It’s a wake-up call to fix this problem or risk losing customers, prospects, and market share.”

Thinking about the value of Data Driven Marketing in this context sets the stage for embracing consumer engagement as an ongoing brand mission that can sit at the table among other measurable business processes like retail sales and supply chain.

Digital Marketing is Dead?

Like in many industries, digital marketing swept through the CPG market promising greater effectiveness and efficiency than traditional mass media advertising and promotion.  Dedicated functions and teams are springing up to bring the best that digital has to offer to anyone in the organization who stands to benefit from connecting with consumers (or shoppers) through email, the web, mobile or social channels.

Has all this activity made any difference in terms of marketing performance, or even company performance?  I think most experts would say the results have been mixed.  More often than not, “bolting on” digital capabilities as opposed to weaving it into organizational DNA hasn’t unleashed the expected value.

That’s what Procter & Gamble Chief Marketing Officer Marc Pritchard suggested, when in September of 2013 he said:

“Let’s celebrate the end of digital marketing. Let’s focus on creating the great ideas that move people and build great brands. And let’s leverage the tools, platforms and technology to make them bigger and engage with people like never before. Our brand building teams, our agencies and most of the people who see our stuff and buy our products will thank us for it.”

He further said that P&G’s marketing teams no longer think of digital in terms of “the tools, the platforms, the apps, the QR codes, augmented reality, holograms or whatever is coming next” or as a “mysterious medium with its own set of metrics,” but for what it is: “a tool to build out brands by reaching people with fresh, creative, campaigns.”

Digital Back

Prichard reported that P&G campaigns were now formulated by starting with digital, then other channels and approaches added to the mix – or “digital back.”  In this way, marketing teams are able to think creatively and not focus on the latest digital “shiny object.”  One of Prichard’s colleagues, Roisin Donnelly, corporate marketing director and head of marketing at Procter & Gamble UK and Ireland, echoed this sentiment in an interview earlier this year when she said:

“As the consumer is spending more time on digital media, it will continue to be a growing part of our marketing activity. However, it is complementing traditional media. In the UK consumers are watching more TV on more devices than before and we need to be present where and when they are most receptive there. Online newspapers and magazines are complementing offline print. Digital radio brings more availability of more stations to more people.”

The result of a “digital back” approach ensures addressable and mass media channels leverage one another and are measurable in near real-time – ideas at the heart of Direct Branding.  A campaign for Braun shavers was cited by Pritchard as an example that employed digital and mass media channels in unison to exceed sales targets eight times over.  In this instance, mass media advertising was added to the mix right after awareness was created among the target consumers through digital channels.

Another P&G brand, Pampers, was highlighted at the Teradata Partners conference as taking advantage of the company’s 1, Consumer Place direct to consumer digital marketing platform (powered by Teradata’s Consumer Insight managed service).  Consider the consumer touchpoints available to P&G brand marketers and their agencies to develop “digital back” campaigns.  The creative possibilities across these channels are almost endless, but when directed in laser-like fashion based on data and insight represent competitive advantage few can match.

Understanding consumer movement among channels and devices is critical insight to creating the most relevant and responsive campaigns.  It’s simply not realistic to achieve this absent a scalable and data-first approach:

“According to Forrester's “Build Seamless Experiences Now” report, 90% of consumers who have multiple connected devices switch between the devices to complete tasks. As consumers move from mobile and email to online and social, it's easy for marketers to get tangled in consumers' web of data and lose sight of the single view of the customer.”

Every marketer wants to be more effective, and data and insights are the ways to achieve it.  At the same time, brand marketers know that killer creative, done well, spurs consumers to action.  Thinking about the Data Driven Marketing opportunity as a blend of time-worn brand marketing principles and direct response techniques – or Direct Branding – is a good first step to understanding how to succeed amid these seemingly conflicting ideas.  The second step is talking to Teradata about how we can help you get started.

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Gib Bassett

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