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NEWS16 March 2018

How Diageo is emphasising data in marketing decisions

Data analytics Europe Impact 2018 Media News

EUROPE – Diageo is undertaking a programme to create cultural behavioural change in the way its marketers approach their roles, to emphasise the role of data and analytics in decision-making.

The drinks company has developed a data platform, dubbed Marketing Catalyst, that allows its marketers to drive greater efficiencies in its media investments and maximise effectiveness.

The platform uses a combination of econometric and marketing mix modelling to help marketers identify opportunities for investment in the short and long term, based on the potential for future profit. It also helps marketing teams invest their allocated spend most effectively and forecasts the impact of different investments in the next 12 months.

Speaking at an event held by Diageo as part of Impact Week’s Open House Trail, Andrew Geoghegan, global head of consumer planning at the company, said: “This is about putting data and analytics at the core of the decisions we make. So, a lot of the work we’ve done has been to think about how we rewire our own culture, which has, as a default, been much more instinctive and creative than it has been analytical and rigorous, and think about how we would change those behaviours.”

Marketing development director Malcolm D’Sa outlined how the company is implementing the platform as part of the day-to-day running of the business’ marketing operations. This has involved developing a compulsory two-day training programme for the organisation’s 1,200 marketers, currently being rolled out.

D’Sa said: “We had to drive culture and behaviour change. The key behavioural change we were looking to make was the way we do decision-making. We need to emphasise decision-making based on data and facts; rather than based on gut feel.”

The programme will position the platform as part of marketers’ day jobs, rather than an optional extra, while not replacing individual decision-making. The training draws on decision-making heuristics from behavioural economics – “shortcuts that we know we use day in, day out, often on autopilot,” said D’Sa.

These include status quo bias, social proof and effort and effect – the idea that the more hard work that goes into a plan, the better the outcome will be. The programme also looks at the power of the new. “Obviously we have to constantly evolve and adapt, but we need to be clear that when we do something, we are doing it for the right reasons – not because it’s a shiny new toy,” he said.

Having access to the data platform equips marketers with knowledge and guidance on decision-making, but that decision still lies with the marketer themselves, said D’Sa. The company is now trying to frame the role of the marketer as general manager of the brand they work on – with a broader responsibility for the decisions they make, focusing not just on creative elements, but on data and analytics.

“We say: ‘Catalyst is an amazing tool and it will provide you with guidance on how to make the decision, but you still have to make the decision’.”

Helen Bass, consumer planning director for Western Europe, said the platform has freed up resource within the company: “It’s created a lot of capacity in the business as well as credibility in the numbers.”

Diageo’s premium core brands have benefited from the platform, with faster growth than in the previous six years. Using the growth driver model, the company said it has also improved its ROI across the marketing mix, with better understanding of each element of the mix, shorter planning time and by rotating copy that performs better.

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