How Brands Organize for Data

The shift to digital has accelerated, and keeping up is key. The brands that are most successful today are the ones that are creating digital marketing environments that are centered on data.

Environments like Mastercard’s global social media structure, SAP’s Test Lab and Conde Nast’s Marketing Analytics division allow these companies to be data gurus. They have a head start at knowing what moves the needle and are organized for testing, which is a winning formula in today’s digital marketing world.

SAP’s Test Lab
SAP rolled out its Test Lab two years ago and put together a team, apps and systems that support testing. This team conducted 80 tests last year that generated €1.64 million of lead value for the company. SAP’s Test Lab is also credited with an average of 27 percent lift in incremental sales leads from digital and digital marketing budget savings of 20 percent. 

The company has been able to learn helpful insights, like, for example, videos in which subjects aren’t looking directly into the camera work better. SAP also found that marketing copy performs better when it includes photographs instead of pictograms.

“Web analytics is a table stake, and it doesn’t get you very far,” said Crispin Sheridan, senior director of global search marketing at SAP, at the Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium. “You can’t do without them, but they’re not sufficient on their own. You need new people and new resources at your company, and a new approach for testing.”

According to Sheridan, it’s important not to push testing onto the organization, but instead make it something that drives the organization. To incentivize people to test, SAP gives employees bonuses based on the performance of their work.

Mastercard’s global social media structure
Mastercard has built out a global social media structure within the organization to better understand what moves the needle and what gets consumers to act.

MasterCard aired its first “Priceless” advertising campaign in October 1997. The campaign has done extremely well for the brand and has been made global via digital and social media. But the challenge that arose with making it global was addressing different audiences: what Americans find “priceless” and Singaporians find “priceless” don’t always match up. Mastercard’s internal social media structure lets it not only monitor what people are saying about the brand online through a physical social media command center, but it also lets the brand’s various global marketing teams work together to achieve a relevant and on-brand voice for “Priceless” regardless of the market.

“A company that’s trustworthy has a consistent voice,” said Adam Broitman, vp of global digital marketing at Mastercard. “There needs to be some coherence. Each local market furnishes and localizes content, but at the end of the day it is still Mastercard.”

Through this social media command center of sorts, Mastercard marketing departments all over the world can come together and see each other’s work and see what’s working and what’s resonating. If something in Singapore works, maybe it will work in Canada as well, Broitman said. The company has put a lot of resources behind this, training 134 people, all in an effort to build trust with local stakeholders. Today, 75 percent of Mastercard’s local markets are using social to learn from one another.

Conde Nast’s Marketing Analytics Division
Audience targeting is critical in media buying and execution. It’s also really important to have the right, relevant content that will reel audiences onto your site.

Conde Nast’s Marketing Analytics division sifted through the publisher’s tremendous amount of data to identify who its readers are and created 10 influencer segments that help both media buyers and the Conde Nast editorial, sales and marketing teams. Through the creation of its Preferred Subscriber Network, clients and Conde Nast can see what brands, passions and other traits and preferences that define each influencer segment of readers.

“This isn’t just about advertising,” said Chris Reynolds, vp of marketing analytics at Conde Nast. “It’s about the audience and getting them to come back every day and increase time spent on the site. We’re using our data to better understand people, and we distribute the information to our editorial, marketing and sales teams.”

The one thing that SAP’s, Mastercard’s and Conde Nast’s units have in common is the focus on data. Digital has created new opportunities for brands, and they’re beginning to realize that it’s not just enough to keep up with the changing tides. They need to be looking beyond the horizon. Data is key and so is investing in the right talent and the right systems that can turn data into insights.

Image via Shutterstock

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