7 Lessons Marketers Can Learn From Nestlé Waters’ CMO

The evolution of consumer behavior and technology has forced marketers to navigate uncharted waters and, as a result, rethink their strategies.

Take Nestlé Waters North America, for instance. Antonio Sciuto, CMO of the organization, says that changes in technology and media consumption led the bottled water brand to shift its focus from launching solitary campaigns to viewing the customer journey as a whole. He started to concentrate less on generating demand and more on how the various touchpoints relate to one another throughout the nonlinear purchase process.

“What’s different now, in the omnichannel reality, is that you don’t only have a sequence of stories,” Sciuto says, “but each one of those stories is a mark against the consumer journey. So, what you need to understand is what is the role and relevance of each touchpoint, what is the right call-to-action behind this touchpoint, [and] what is the right content for each of those touchpoints?”

However, creating these synchronized multichannel experiences isn’t easy. To help simplify the process, Sciuto relies on a slew of solutions within the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which the company implemented in 2013. He uses the platform to listen to consumers’ social conversations, identify target audiences, show relevant content through predictive intelligence, and map out customers’ journeys.

But while technology may be the brawn of Nestlé Waters’ marketing organization, it certainly isn’t the brain. Although Sciuto uses the platform to collect and manage data, it’s still his human intellect that strings the various points together and determines how they relate.

So in an attempt to marry the brain with the brawn, here are seven lessons marketers can learn from Sciuto on how to leverage technology to drive seamless experiences.

1. Set clear KPIs to avoid buying superfluous solutions.

In today’s world, it can be easy for marketers to become infatuated with shiny new objects. To ensure that marketers buy only the solutions that they need, Sciuto suggests setting clear business KPIs and then identifying which solutions will help them achieve them.

“Business owners should define what success looks like and what are the key KPIs that you want to accomplish,” he says.

2. Think about the business as a whole, not just marketing.

Marketers have their own goals and success metrics; however, Sciuto says that it’s important for them to consider how their strategies and efforts align with the rest of the organization, especially considering the amount of crossover.

“The new reality is speaking about marketing, speaking about digital, or speaking about e-commerce is wrong,” he says. “I usually prefer to speak about the business because the distinction between digital and e-commerce is totally blurred.”

3. Ensure that your calls-to-action reflect where customers are in their journeys.

The traditional path to purchase is still valid from Sciuto’s point of view. However, he says that the customer’s journey throughout the awareness, consideration, purchase, and loyalty phases is no longer linear. As a result, he says marketers must ensure that their calls-to-action reflect customers’ current relationship with a brand and drive them down the funnel. In other words, don’t blast the same generic call-to-action out to every customer.

“If the consumer is engaging and is currently discovering the brand in an awareness phase, obviously a call-to-action that will invite them to buy will not be very successful because you don’t have the relation[ship] yet.”

4. Concentrate on fostering communities within your database—not just building it up.

Every customer is different. So the role and relevance channels play in each journey will be different too. Instead of just focusing on increasing the size of Nestlé Waters’ customer database, Sciuto strives to foster communities within the database to best determine how to engage and retarget different customer groups.

For example, Sciuto knows that customers who enjoy San Pellegrino, one of Nestlé Waters’ brands, also enjoy fine dining. So, the brand created multiple engagement touchpoints around the fine dining experience. For instance, it partnered with food and travel video network Tastemade to create its own video series called “Heritage.” Consumers can watch full episodes on YouTube and clips from each episode on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Consumers can also visit San Pellegrino’s website to find various recipes.

5. Know the brand’s role in the customer journey.

Just because a brand is running a campaign, that doesn’t mean that it should be the star of it. In the aforementioned San Pellegrino campaign, for instance, fine dining is the main focus, not the product itself. Sciuto says focusing on the brand’s target audience and essence can help marketers identify the brand’s role.

“The campaign focuses on the brand as part of the story—but the brand is not always across all of the touchpoints [or] the center focus of the story,” he notes.

6. Let data shape your creativity, not define it.

In the great debate over whether data helps or hurts creativity, Sciuto takes the stance that one should precede the other. “I think that the data should play after the creativity,” he says.

Marketers should leverage insights before launching a campaign to pinpoint what consumers expect from a brand, Sciuto explains; however, he considers this data usage part of defining the space, rather than a step in the creative process. He then suggests running analytics after a campaign is live to measure performance and identify optimization opportunities.   

7. Be prepared to test and learn.

Even if marketers follow all of these steps, they may still find themselves needing to add on other solutions. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It takes time for marketers to implement and learn how to use various platforms, Sciuto says. And by the time they do, the platform has evolved, and there’s a new need. Just be flexible, and be prepared to roll with the punches.

“Sometimes you have the idea on how the things will work,” Sciuto says, “but the reality is that you will figure it out by doing. It’s a continuous learning [curve], and it’s very, very difficult to predict exactly what will be true tomorrow.”

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