Analytics secure firm place in marketing
Juan Paolo Gonzales knows more than a thing or two about marketing. He was marketing manager of Colgate-Palmolive based in Thailand and launched Del Monte Fit ’n Right in the Philippines. He also won the Mansmith Young Market Masters Awards in 2008. Today, he is assistant vice president for marketing operations and capabilities of Rebisco and teaches marketing analytics at the University of Asia and the Pacific. He will share his knowledge
and give tips on marketing during the Mansmith Brand Summit on July 9 at RCBC Theater in Makati.
Q: What analytics questions should marketers ask to make smarter decisions?
A: There are a lot. For this purpose, allow me to identify some, which I think are fundamental and yet are often ignored.
The first one is, “What is the size of the prize?” In our aim to move fast, we go straight to implementing an idea without having to know if the opportunity is large enough. And once we see lackluster results, we go back to what happened and we attribute the misses to implementation issues. Again, the problem is not at the end, but it is at the beginning of the process.
The second question is, “What will I earn if I do this?” At times, we act based on a formula. If I have A&P (advertising and promotions) money, I’ll do a TVC (television commercial). If I don’t have much, I’ll do digital. Then we end up with a TV plan that is a repeat of what we’re used to doing. Or a social media plan based on simply industry norms. Or we create an emotional “viral video” following the success of a QSR (quick service restaurant) company. But how do we know if all of these will result to the achievement of our business objectives?
Q: How do you determine the analytics maturity of a company? What’s the desired state?
A: The desired end-state is for companies to make decisions based on facts, and not because it is either what other companies are doing or it is something that we are we used to doing. I see a company that has less, “Sa palagay ko,” “Ano sa tingin mo?” or “This is how we do it.” Instead, the conversation should be around, “Yes, I believe we are headed in the right direction because it is supported by facts.”
Q: How can marketers design an analytics strategy? What competencies are needed in the analytics team?
A: Marketers can design an analytics strategy by using models. Simply put, models are frameworks that will help make sense of the the metrics or numbers. Example, we can model advertising: “increasing TRPs by xx% will result in an increase in Sales by xx%.” This will help future investment decisions.
A good analytics team should have a curious mind that asks the whys, so what and what now.
Q: Can you cite specific situations where marketing analytics helped build a brand that you were handling?
A: That will be when we were developing Del Monte Fit ’n Right. Before the success of Fit ’n Right, we were solely in the canned juice business. The segment was small, declining and very competitive. There was little differentiation over the next big player so we ended up in a cycle of promotions and price discounts. Profit margins were challenged and the cost to compete was becoming more expensive. So we embarked on developing an unexpected weight-loss juice drink. We knew we hit something big, but we didn’t know how big. We can’t use our historical sales because it just didn’t make sense. So we turned to using consumer metrics: target population, frequency of purchase and volumes per consumption occasion. We also included awareness and distribution metrics as part of the equation. These metrics also aided us in sharpening our media and distribution plans. The result: we came up with an accurate forecast which led to crucial decisions in PET line investments.
Q: Under what circumstance should an executive accept intuition and ignore what analytics are telling them?
A: Intuition and analytics go hand-in-hand. To illustrate this, imagine that you planned for months to go on a trip to the beach. Unfortunately, days leading to the big trip, the weather forecast said that there’s going to be lots of rain. But the stakes are high and you don’t want to let your beach body go to waste. So you try to understand the forecast. It says that the chances of rain is 50 percent. So what do you do? Well, take the information and call your friend who’s already there. Your friend tells you that it’s still very sunny and he thinks that it will stay that way.
And so you decide to go ahead with the trip. However, please be prepared with a plan B. Perhaps, bring an umbrella? —CONTRIBUTED
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