Big data is finally part of the marketing mix, according to panelists at the FT Future of Marketing Summit, held in New York City this week. However, big data on its own is pretty useless. It’s essentially too big to draw any insights from.
According to Bob Rupczynski, VP of media and consumer engagement at Kraft Foods, personalizing and contextualizing data for customer targeting is the next step in the evolution of big data. And some brands are already on their way there.
Kraft Foods, for example--which boasts 3 million recipe interactions per day on recipes.com and more than 1 million paid subscribers to its “Food & Family” magazine--sits on a massive publishing platform. This platform is also producing boatloads of data and, two years ago, the company made an official commitment to use the data to better understand its customers at the individual level.
According to Rupczynski, Kraft knows what its customers value, what they eat, how they cook, and what excites them. “We now use data and real-time marketing to deliver relevant messaging to potential and current customers,” he said.
For example, when Kraft’s Crystal Light brand was seeing a dip in sales about two years ago, the company set its sights on lapsed users—those who have purchased Crystal Light in the past, and then stopped. The data showed that the majority of these individuals were interested in fashion and health.
Based on that, the brand developed real-time creative that centered on these topics, and partnered with publishers that fit the genres of fashion and health. Consumers were retargeted with messaging that differed based on where the ads were being shown. For example, someone looking at weight loss or health tips would get an ad for Crystal Light that focused on the calories. Ads aimed at fashionistas touted zero calories and a “pop of color.” Overall, according to Rupczynski, the program increased purchase intent 11 percent.
Another Kraft brand, Planters Peanuts, was facing some credibility issues, when it realized most consumers don’t know peanuts are healthy. “With consumers today being more health conscious than ever before, we knew we needed to do some work on positioning the peanut as a healthy nut,” Rupczynski said.
The data folks at Kraft started watching closely to see what Planters’ core customer—moms—did all day. What it found: At night, after finishing a long day of work and putting the kids to bed, moms go online searching for healthy foods and snacks to feed their families.
“This was an opportunity for us,” Rupczynski said. “We partnered with credible publishers and created content in the right context, which we delivered in the evening hours. And this campaign produced an ROI that was twice as high as our typical ROI for campaigns like this.”
According to Brian Gleason, Managing Director, North America, of Xaxis, his company looks at big data as the foundation for customer centricity. Xaxis works with a large retailer that has an equally large CRM database. The challenge it faced, however, was connecting the dots between online and offline. Xaxis used its data management platform (DMP), in tandem with data from a credit card company, and was able to get quite granular as to who the individual consumers were. The company was able to match that back to the client’s CRM data.
“At the end of the campaign, we were able to link online with in-store,” Gleason told attendees. “We saw a 25 percent lift in ROI online and a 29 percent lift in-store sales as a result of the campaign.” According to Gleason, it seems very easy, but it’s actually something that’s very difficult to accomplish. There were about 25 people involved in putting the three systems—the DMP, credit card data,and the client’s CRM—together, but it allows the retailer to use big data in an intelligent way.
Russell Wallach, president of media and sponsorship at Live Nation, said that smart data helps brands figure out when they’re making bad decisions. For example, 7-Up, a Live Nation client, typically targeted Millennial consumers at sporting events. But when Live Nation took a look at its data, it found that 29 percent of people who purchase tickets to festivals are Millennials. Sometimes it takes more than just a hunch, Wallach told attendees. Marketers need to rely on data to double-check that their hunches are correct, he said.
“Right now, big data enables ‘right messages at the right time,’” Kraft’s Rupczynski said. “But the future will be anticipating needs and matching the message to the right consumer in the right context and place.”